The Proteas sealed their first ODI series win in a decade against the Aussies Down Under with a 40-run win in Hobart, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
The Proteas marked their 600th ODI with their first ODI series victory, beating the hosts 2-1, in Australia since 2008-09 when they won 4-1.
Their victory was set up by an incredible performance by Faf du Plessis and David Miller as the Proteas scored their highest total (320-5) against Australia Down Under.
The pair scored 252 – the highest partnership between the two countries – that included a 125 from Du Plessis and 139 from Miller.
After building up their innings with caution, the pair’s ultimate destruction took place in their last 10 overs, where they scored 130.
Their partnership was also the highest fourth-wicket partnership for South Africa, ahead of Daryll Cullinan and Jonty Rhodes’ 232 against Pakistan in 1996.
The Australia batsmen put the Proteas bowlers to the sword despite putting the Aussies 3-39 through a wicket from Dale Steyn and two from Lungi Ngidi in 10 overs.
The hosts refused to back down, however, as Marcus Stoinis (five fours, four sixes) and Shaun Marsh took their side comfortably past the 100-run mark. Their stand included half-centuries from both batsmen as the Proteas searched desperately for a breakthrough.
Dwaine Pretorius did the job for his skipper. He lured Stoinis (63 off 76 balls) into a cut shot that flew to Aiden Markram at backward point as Australia were reduced to 146-4 (30 overs).
Marsh (106 off 102 balls, seven fours, four sixes) went on to reach his ton in 98 balls and continued to take the fight to the Proteas bowlers. He took the Australians to 226 but skied a short-of-a-length Pretorius delivery that Heinrich Klaasen took at deep mid-wicket.
Pretorius dropped Alex Carey in the 43rd over on 39, a chance that could have been costly to the Proteas’ chances. But Steyn took out Carey on the last ball of his ninth over, finding an edge to Quinton de Kock.
With Australia needing 65 off 30 balls with five overs remaining, it was up to Glenn Maxwell.
Ngidi’s ninth over saw him pile the pressure on Australia; he conceded just one run with five exquisite yorkers in the 46th over.
The Proteas continued to squeeze Australia. Steyn dismissed Maxwell on 35 for his third wicket to confirm a hefty Proteas win. Kagiso Rabada took two consolation wickets to dismiss Mitchell Starc for a golden duck and Adam Zampa in the final over.
The Proteas claimed a 40-run win.
Proteas innings 320-5 – Faf du Plessis 125, David Miller 139; Mitchell Starc 2-57
Australia innings 280-9 – Shaun Marsh 106 Marcus Stoinis 63; Dale Steyn 3-45, Kagiso Rabada 3-40
Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images