Australia after a disappointing opening game at Perth will be looking to turn the tide when they face South Africa in the second ODI at Adelaide on Friday.
The home side turned in a shocking batting performance on Sunday at the new Optus Stadium as the Proteas coasted to victory.
With Shaun Marsh a late withdrawal, Australia chose to open with Travis Head in Perth and put BBL star D’Arcy Short in at 3. Neither troubled the scorers too much, with both falling to Dale Steyn in the same over while trying to drive, and the Australian innings never quite recovered from that early setback.
On paper, the Australian side is more than capable despite the absence of both David Warner and Steve Smith. Skipper Aaron Finch and Head are capable of producing long innings for the likes of big hitters like Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis to provide impetus at the end.
In Perth, the middle order got starts, but none of them were able to convert it into something substantial, and some of the dismissals were very disappointing from an Australian point of view, with players tamely providing catching practice to the Proteas.
South Africa opted for a 6-1-4, playing with four bowlers, and their tactics worked out perfectly as the likes of Steyn, Lungi Ngidi and all rounder Andile Phehlukwayo tore through the home side’s batting line up.
If it hadn’t been for Nathan Coulter Nile’s 34, Australia might not have even managed to cross the 150 mark. Finch has admitted that the home side’s batting lacks confidence.
While defending their modest total of 152, Finch also took everyone by surprise by not giving the new ball to ace strike bowler Mitchell Starc. It allowed Quinton De Kock and Reeza Hendricks to settle at the top, and any slim hopes the hosts might have entertained of making a match of this were quickly extinguished.
Somewhat surprisingly, Australia’s most successful bowler on the evening was Marcus Stoinis, who accounted for three Proteas batsmen with his medium pace.
Australia have now lost their last seven ODI’s across all competitions. A look at the odds for this game reveals that the Proteas will start favourites. A victory in the South Australian capital will seal the series for the visitors.
Faf du Plessis was delighted with his charges’ performance, although he did mention that he would’ve liked to win by nine or ten wickets instead of the six that they eventually won by.
While South Africa do have players they’d like to test, it’s unlikely that they’ll change a winning XI. There are some concerns over their batting, which has shown signs of a fragile underbelly at times, but that’s unlikely to change unless Australia’s struggling batsmen come to the party.