The Proteas must find room for Hashim Amla in the next ODI, and Farhaan Behardien seems the logical player to miss out.
It’s been a fantastic performance from the boys to go 2-0 up in the series against Australia. There’s been a different, positive buzz about them.
Not to take anything away from the way we’ve played, but the Australian bowling attack has been mediocre. A bunch of inexperienced medium pacers weren’t going to have much effect on the pacey decks. That’s why Dale Steyn’s return to the ODI setup has made a massive difference. His pace gives the whole team the feeling that there’s going to be one or two early wickets. Australia don’t have that without Mitchell Starc.
Australia may have rested a few of their best players, but that’s not to say that they’re not taking this seriously. Now that they’ve been losing, they’re starting to realise the repercussions of carrying a depleted side. ODIs still play a massive part in world cricket. You don’t want to be No 1 in Tests and No 7 in ODIs. That’s not how it works.
I went to the first ODI in Centuron, and the opening partnership between Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw was as good as you can get. They must continue to open together. That opening stand was one of the best I’ve ever seen. They’re an excellent combination and both hit the ball magnificently.
It does create a bit of a headache as to where Hashim Amla can fit in, but as one of their best and most experienced players, the selectors must make space for him. It’s probably between David Miller and Farhaan Behardien to make way for him. Miller’s presence in the field has been huge, and I think they have enough bowlers to manage without Behardien’s part-time bowling role. That’s why I think he’s the obvious player to make way. Bring Amla in at No 3 and push everyone else down one.
Durban might prove more of a challenge. The quicker, bouncier track and shorter boundaries suited the Proteas more in Gauteng, but they’ll still be overwhleming favourites at Kingsmead. I think in South African conditions the Proteas would beat a full-strength Australian side anyway. There’s a lot of talented stroke makers in our side. Rossouw and De Kock have been brilliant and JP Duminy has found some form too.
Australia are obviously experimenting a bit and chopping and changing with the bowling attack, but there’s no depth to that batting order either. As soon as guys like David Warner, Aaron Finch and Steve Smith don’t contribute then they will have massive problems.
I can’t see the Proteas losing, in fact they shouldn’t lose a game at all from here. This is the true test now. They are the better side, and they must get that winning mentality to show that they are making some progress.
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