Andile Phehlukwayo took 4-44 as Australia scored 294-9 in the first ODI at Centurion.
After comprehensive respective victories against Ireland, it was finally time for the main event as the Proteas took on Australia in the first of a five-match series between the sides, and the hosts will be content in the way in which they stemmed the flow of runs in the middle-to-latter part of the innings.
An enthusiastic Centurion crowd welcomed the players with the attendance growing as the innings wore on, but they would have been disappointed at the news that Hashim Amla was out of the team with a bout of flu. Coming in was Rilee Rossouw, alongside experienced campaigners Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir.
One man that did keep his place in the side from the 206-run victory over Ireland was Andile Phehlukwayo, and he had a fantastic day out, taking 4-44. It wasn’t just the figures that were impressive, but he took key wickets as well.
The Proteas opted to bowl first in conditions that suited chasing, but it didn’t look a good decision at first as David Warner steamrolled openers Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn in the Powerplay overs, going at seven an over. The decision to bowl short against Ireland paid off for SA, but it didn’t this time as the majority of the boundaries were scored off the short balls.
Wayne Parnell was introduced in the 10th over and went for seven off his first two balls, but then struck as Warner chipped one straight to Phehlukwayo at short mid-wicket for 40. Finch carried on the damage that Warner caused, smacking 16 runs off Phehlukwayo’s first over in ODI cricket, but the 20-year-old all-rounder had the last laugh, sending him back for 33 to claim his first international wicket, albeit in confusing circumstances, as there were question marks as to whether it carried to Parnell.
He struck again three balls later, and this time there was no doubt, as he trapped skipper Steve Smith lbw. He strangely opted to review the decision, with the DRS confirming it was plum. Smith gone for eight.
A couple of partnerships then developed and the Australians can take credit for keeping up the run rate despite the fall of wickets, but it was the wickets column that became a problem for them as Phehlukwayo had his third to see off Mitchell Marsh for 31, before Quinton de Kock stumped Travis Head for 18.
The running between the wickets was nervy at the best of times between the tourists, most of which included George Bailey. Sure enough, he was at fault for the next wicket, as an attempted single saw Matthew Wade fall short at the striker’s end, thanks to a sharp piece of work from David Miller.
The repair work then began for Australia, and they did a good job of doing so, as John Hastings clattered the boundary on numerous occasions to bring up his first ever ODI half-century, amongst a 79-run stand between him and Bailey.
Hastings then skied one for Phehlukwayo to bring up a fourth. That proved the catalyst for a slide in the tail. They only managed 23 runs off the final five overs, to finish on 294-9. The short boundaries will give the Proteas the feeling that they can chase this target down.
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