BY BRENDON ATWELL
BRENDON’S BLOGSPOT: http://www.inyourspace.co.za/
Photo Credit: Sport24
The South African bowlers setup a crushing six-wicket victory over Australia in the opening one day international at the Perth Stadium in Perth on Sunday.
Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir and Lungi Ngidi contrived to skittle Australia out for just 152 in 38.1 overs before their batsmen whittled down the target in just just 29.2 overs, finishing on 153 for four with a massive 124 balls to spare after winning the toss and electing to bowl first.
South Africa’s chase was setup by an opening stand of 94 between Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks before the introduction of Marcus Stoinis (4.2-1-16-3) broke the partnership and was instrumental ensuring that the victory margin was not even bigger.
Nathan Coulter-Nile (3-0-26-1), who conceded 16 runs in his opening over, was the man to make the breakthrough, nabbing De Kock for 47 as the left-hander tried to launch Coulter-Nile down the ground but only managed to send the ball up in the air to be caught by Josh Hazlewood at mid-off. De Kock looked in fine form, striking seven boundaries from just 40 deliveries as he and Hendricks brought up their 50-run stand off just 47 balls.
Hendricks, who looked circumspect up front, finally found his groove, striking four lovely boundaries before being caught by Chris Lynn off Stoinis for 44 from 74 balls. Aiden Markram, who came in at number three, looked assured and positive on a pitch that still offered the bowlers something.
The right-handed top-order batsman struck six fours from 32 balls before playing Stoinis onto his stumps for 37, flashing his bat at the stumps in disgust at throwing his wicket away. Stoinis did not give up and had Heinrich Klaasen caught in the slips by Aaron Finch for just two but David Miller struck his first ball behind square for two runs to push the Proteas over the line with his captain, Faf du Plessis unbeaten at the other end on 10.
Earlier, man of the match Steyn (7-1-18-2) started the Australian rot by grabbing two wickets in three balls in his second over to leave the hosts on four for two as Travis Head (1) edged to De Kock behind the stumps and then had D’Arcy Short (0) flashing at a ball to be brilliantly caught by a flying Du Plessis at second slip.
Ngidi (8.1-3-26-2) was brilliant up front, strangling the Australian lineup before trapping Finch in front for just five. With Australia on eight for three, Lynn (15) and Alex Carey (33) started to rebuild the innings with a stand of 28 for the fourth wicket but the introduction of Phehlukwayo (6-0-33-3) brought about another mini-collapse by dismissing Lynn, caught behind.
Glenn Maxwell (11) struck two fours from eight balls before popping a ball to Klaasen at mid-off, who took a good catch low down as the ball was dipping. Stoinis (14) look to take the attack to the bowlers as he struck two boundaries but then smashed a ball from Phehlukwayo straight down the throat of Klaasen, also at mid-off.
With the home side struggling, Casey and Pat Cummins (12) set off for a quick single but Miller was quicker off the mark and with one stump to aim at, threw the stumps down with Cummins short of his ground to leave Australia at 89 for seven.
Carey, struggled to find the boundary and only managed two in his 71-ball innings as all were falling around him but he eventually tried his sweep shot once too often and managed to loop a ball from Tahir (9-0-39-2) to be caught by De Kock.
With no recognised batsmen remaining, Coulter-Nile (34), Mitchell Starc (12) and Josh Hazlewood (6 not out) managed to add another 45 runs for the final two wickets with Starc and Coulter-Nile adding 33 for the ninth wicket off 26 balls before Starc was trapped in front by Tahir.
Ngidi finished off the innings when he had Coulter-Nile launching a ball high in the air in search of quick runs. Coulter-Nile struck five boundaries and a six from just 31 balls as Australia were sent packing 30 minutes before the lunch break.
South Africa had to face five overs before the luncheon with De Kock and Hendricks adding 28 runs before the break.
The teams head to Adelaide for the second of three one day internationals with the Proteas one-up.