The Proteas bowlers stepped up to restrict Australia to 288-6 in their Tri-Nations ODI in St Kitts, despite a fighting ton by David Warner
Wayne Parnell (1-34) and Kyle Abbott (1-50) were outstanding, with good support from the spin of Aaron Phangiso, Imran Tahir and JP Duminy, which helped negate the flat track which should have yielded something over 300.
Kagiso Rabada blew hot and old in the early overs, going for 6, 11, 2, 11 and ending his first spell on 0-30 from four. He took punishment in his later overs to end on 1-66 off eight.
Abbott, though, as if to prove his worth after being brought in to replace the spin of Tabraiz Shamsi, was superbly tight, giving away just 15 runs in his first five overs.
The Australians were held on a tight rein, reaching 48 in the 10th over, when Tahir was brought into action. He made an immediate and important breakthrough as Aaron Finch, hero of the Australian innings last time out, mistimed a sweep and was bowled for 13.
Warner, though, was in imperious form, even if he wasn’t able to break the shackles as much as he wanted. But he and Usman Khawaja added 136 in 24 overs to establish a solid platform. The return of Parnell brought the much-needed relief as Warner pulled powerfully, straight to Amla at midwicket, just after registering his century, with 11 fours and two sixes.
Khawaja followed shortly after, top-edging a sweep off Phangiso to short fine leg… and that after being given a huge let-off when AB de Villiers dropped a sitter at midwicket off Tahir. But Khawaja had done a decent job, running up 59 off 71 balls (4×4, 1×6).
The wicket of Warner proved the catalyst, for four wickets went down for 56 runs in 15 overs. Steve Smith battled valiantly to up the rate, ending on 52 not out as he put on 34 in 18 balls with Matthew Wade (24).