Captain AB de Villiers insisted on a prompt turnaround ahead of Sunday’s first ODI against Australia, after South Africa slumped to a 32-run defeat in the series opener at the WACA in Perth on Friday.
The Aussies climbed to an impressive total of 300 for eight on the back of a commanding half-century from middle-order batsman George Bailey, which was preceded by solid cameos from openers David Warner and Aaron Finch.
Seamer Vernon Philander was the pick of the Proteas attack, securing fine figures of four for 45, but lacked adequate support from the expensive Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Ryan McLaren.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir, meanwhile, shouldered the bulk of the slow-bowling responsibility in the absence of all-rounder JP Duminy, who has been ruled out of the five-match series by a knee injury.
The Proteas’ pursuit proved entirely insufficient, epitomised by the twin failures of opening batsmen Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla. While fellow half-centurions De Villiers and David Miller refused to go down without a fight during an entertaining 126-run stand for the fifth wicket. The pair’s sterling effort, though, was not enough.
‘We didn’t get it right in all three departments. Our bowling was not consistent and we lost too many wickets at the wrong time. It is a very disappointing performance. We would like to fix those mistakes coming in on Sunday. We will try to play better cricket in the second game,’ said De Villiers.
The defeated skipper was quick to forgive tail-ender Steyn, who was effectively the fore cause of a frustrating run-out during the crucial 40th over of the chase. De Villiers was stranded at the non-striker’s end as a result, with a direct-hit from substitute fielder Steven Smith sealing the fate.
‘It has happened before. This is not our first time. Steyn thought there was no run, but I thought there was one, but he sent me back. No hard feelings, though,’ added De Villiers.
The same venue will host the second ODI, while fixtures three, four and five will be played in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney on 19, 21 and 23 November respectively. ‘I’m not sure about the team changes right now, we’ll see that on Saturday,’ concluded De Villiers.