South Africa win the seies and with it claim the top rankings
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:HM Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy
Event:South Africa in Australia 2008/09

DateLine: 30th January 2009


South Africa won the match and with it toppled the Australians from the top of the ODI rankings. Needing 289 to salvage some pride and keep them afloat in the rankings, Australia were all out for 248 in the 49th over giving South Africa a victory by 40 runs and with it the series 4-1. For South Africa Amla and Tsotsobe were the star performers,with the former scoring a fluent 97 runs and the latter taking four wickets on his debut.


Botha had won the toss and elected to bat first and the Australian bowlers had struck gold in the first one hour passage of the play. A sudden rush of blood from Gibbs had he dismissed after he was tied down by a restricting line from the Australian bowlers. He tried to slam Hilfenhaus back down the ground with a cross-bat slog and saw his skied top edge fall into the hands of Hopes at mid-on. Neil McKenzie had been promoted to No. 3 as Jacques Kallis was rested, and McKenzie was scratchy at best in crawling to 10 from 28 balls. Eventually frustrated by being tied down, McKenzie advanced to Hopes and flashed outside off stump only to see a thin edge go behind to Haddin. Amla was joined in the middle by de Villiers and picked up from where they had left off in Monday's victory in Adelaide and combined for a third-wicket stand of 118 that eased South Africa comfortably through the middle overs. Both men fell to James Hopes, who finished with 3 for 44 and was the most effective of the bowlers. Amla had started confidently and struck four early fours and a terrific six that was guided over third man off Ben Hilfenhaus and he switched back into cruise control when they lost two wickets and continued to keep the scoreboard ticking by simply knocking the ball into gaps and building the total safely. His partner de Villiers also picked off the ones and twos and found the occasional boundary.


Hashim Amla narrowly missed scoring the first century of the series. Amla's 97 ended when he tried to guide Hopes through the cordon and tickled the ball to Brad Haddin, while de Villiers (60) picked out David Warner on the square-leg boundary. The breakthroughs robbed South Africa of a little momentum after the pair rarely looked troubled through the middle of the innings. P Duminy provided the late entertainment with a quick half-century that ensured his team used the batting Powerplay wisely once again. Duminy powered himself to an unbeaten 60 from 42 deliveries. He helped South Africa add 53 in the batting Powerplay, which was taken at the start of the 43rd over, and raised his half-century from 33 balls with a super six over long-off from Nathan Bracken. Another couple of sixes against Bracken and Mitchell Johnson helped lift the total after South Africa lost the man who had done similar damage throughout the series, Albie Morkel, for 14. It also meant that the strong efforts of Amla and de Villiers were not wasted. The Australians missed the firepower of Shaun Tait, who had been left out due to a slight hamstring injury, and despite the return of Bracken the attack lacked a bit of potency and Australia's part-time spinners Michael Clarke and David Hussey offered little threat.


The debutant Lonwabo Tsotsobe made the perfect start to his ODI career with two wickets in his first four overs. Tsotsobe removed two of the danger men, Shaun Marsh and Ricky Ponting. Marsh fell to Tsotsobe's fifth ball when he flicked hard to midwicket, where Hashim Amla took a good catch and Australia's 1 for 10 soon became 2 for 35 when Ponting top-edged a pull and was well taken by the wicketkeeper AB de Villiers running back with the flight of the ball. Without any further addition to the score, Australia lost Michael Clarke in his return from a thumb injury when he tried to leave Morkel but saw an under-edge crash into the stumps for a fourth-ball duck. The Husseys had come together at 4 for 53 after David Warner suffered a cruel dismissal for 22 when he was caught short backing up when Michael Hussey's drive clipped the fingers of the bowler Wayne Parnell on the way to striking the stumps. The loss of Warner was a major blow for Australia, as he had shown glimpses of his best with a pull for six and a flat-batted four down the ground both off Morne Morkel.


The Hussey brothers tried to limit the damage caused by the opponents and then tried to push the accelerator as the run-rate was mounting and with it the pressure. The brothers stabilized the innings and it looked that they would resurrect the flagging Australia innings when David Hussey decided to launch the part-timer Duminy in the stands. He could only manage to hit it as far as Botha who was at mid-off and Australia slipped further. Mike Hussey was joined at the crease by Haddin and both off them began to flay the attack. When the final powerplay was taken Botha took the gamble of bowling his debutant Tsotsobe in the second over of the powerplay. Hussey creamed him over extra cover for a six and then found the square-leg boundary, but he was cleaned up soon after in the same over. Haddin bravely resisted the South African attack and was taking the attack by the scruff off its neck but he was running out off partners. He fell in the 48th over and with it the match was as good as over.