TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
SA’S bowling depth was tested in the fourth one-day international against Australia at St George’s Park on Sunday, and the reserves came through with distinction to deliver a fourth consecutive victory for the home side.
Kyle Abbott, Tabraiz Shamsi and Aaron Phangiso, all playing their first match in a series SA clinched at Kingsmead on Wednesday, took nine wickets between them as SA dismissed the visitors for 167 in 36.4 overs.
SA, led by Faf du Plessis’ steady 69, replied with 168/4 to win with 14.3 overs to spare.
Australia’s total, anaemic though it was, represented a recovery from the 49/5 they crashed to after 15 overs.
Steve Smith’s team were spared further embarrassment by a pair of half-centuries from Mitchell Marsh and Matthew Wade, and their partnership of 62 for the sixth wicket.
As Du Plessis said afterward in a television interview, “If we put Australia under pressure it’s important that we hammered down on them and don’t let them get away.”
For Smith, “We wanted to play the complete game with both bat and ball but you don’t win too many games when you score 167.”
Fast bowler Abbott, who took 4/40, set the tone by cleanbowling openers Aaron Finch and David Warner in his first two overs with deliveries that jagged between bat and pad.
Dwaine Pretorius kept the pressure on when George Bailey played back to a ball that kept low and was trapped in front.
Then left-arm wrist spinner Shamsi, in the space of three deliveries, had the right-handed Steve Smith lbw with a ball that turned past the bat and repeated the dose to the left-handed Travis Head.
Australia’s fightback began with a confrontation between Shamsi and Wade, who appeared to try and run into the bowler as he completed a run.
Wade failed to make physical contact even though he trailed an elbow as he passed Shamsi – who took vociferous verbal exception, prompting umpires Adrian Holdstock and Nigel Llong to intervene to keep the peace.
Marsh and Wade took Australia into the 28th over, when Abbott returned to have Marsh caught behind for 50.
Shamsi completed his haul of 3/36 by trapping John Hastings in front, and left-arm spinner Phangiso claimed the first of his two wickets when he had Wade lbw for 52 with a delivery that hit the sweeping batsman in the midriff.
Phangiso owed some of the credit for his second wicket to Quinton de Kock, who was adamant that a ball from the slow left-armer had hit Scott Boland’s pad before it struck his bat and implored captain Du Plessis to review the decision of not out.
Du Plessis acquiesced and De Kock was proved correct.
To add insult to Australia’s injury, SA dismissed their opponents efficiently enough to allow for seven overs of their reply to be bowled before lunch was taken.
But the home side lost both openers, Hashim Amla and De Kock, before the break and they needed the stability of the 56 Du Plessis and JP Duminy shared for the third wicket to stay on track.
Du Plessis and Rilee Rossouw then put on 55 to take SA to within 28 runs of winning before Du Plessis was caught in the deep off Marsh.
Rossouw, who was 28 not out, ended the match with a handsome cover drive for four off leg spinner Adam Zampa.