The Proteas go into the fourth ODI in Melbourne on Friday needing to win to stay alive in the five-match series.
The 73-run defeat in Canberra on Wednesday came because of two problems with the South African combination. The first is the obvious absence of a death bowler, which was ruthlessly exploited by Steve Smith. His improvisation took Australia from posting a par 280-300 to reaching 329-5.
The runs on the board led to the second issue. It’s well known that the Proteas lower order doesn’t have the steely look of years past and it once again crumbled under the weight of scoreboard pressure.
There is no obvious solution to the second problem, but the first can be remedied by bringing Kyle Abbott into the starting XI. In other good news for South Africa, both openers scored runs and put on a century stand in the absence of Mitchell Johnson. If they replicate that start in Melbourne, there is no reason they can’t bounce back with a win.
Players to watch:
Quinton de Kock shrugged off his twin failures in Perth to score a quality 47 in Canberra, before top edging an attempted pull. He was visibly upset as he left the field and that disappointment could be the motivation he needs to reach triple figures in Melbourne. For Australia, Shane Watson has been a quiet achiever this series. He once again played a good hand in Canberra, scoring a fluent 40, but was overshadowed by other performances. He is striking it well and a really big score must be right around the corner.
South Africa have made a habit of bouncing back strongly from defeat and they have a great record at this particular ground. For these reasons, the Proteas can square the series and set up a decider in Sydney.
Preview compiled by Gareth Stevens.