South Africa managed to restrict Australia to 196-6 in their 20 overs during the first T20I at the Wanderers on Friday evening.
Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock won the toss under some cloud cover at the Wanderers and opted to have a bowl first.
Faf du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada were drafted back into the team after earning a rest in the recent ODI and T20I series against England, while the 33-year-old Pite van Biljon was handed his debut.
Star players David Warner and Steve Smith made their first return to South Africa following the controversial ‘sandpaper’ saga of 2018, while Aaron Finch again captained the side.
The experience of Dale Steyn paid off as early as the second delivery when he bounced Warner with a short one, beating him with pace, which the left hander top edged into the hands of Tabraiz Shamsi at long-leg.
But, Finch and Warner exploited the short bowling of the Proteas as they raced to a 50-run partnership off only 28 deliveries.
The continued width and short pitched bowling saw the Aussies tick along at a rate of 12 runs an over by the completion of the PowerPlay.
Tabraiz Shamsi made the breakthrough when he got rid of Finch, who tried to go big only to be caught by Du Plessis at deep midwicket for 42.
Matthew Wade was the next batsman in and he was presented with a lifeline when he swept Jon-Jon Smuts but miscommunication between Van Biljon and Rabada saw the debutant put down a difficult chance.
Styen undid Wade with a slower ball two overs later when the middle-order batsman was caught on the boundary by David Miller.
The Proteas bowlers were struggling to find the right length at the Bullring but it worked into Shamsi’s favour when he dragged a delivery back with Smith on the charge. The ball went down the leg-side but De Kock was quick to pounce and stump the right-hander as he departed for 45.
Andile Phehlukwayo’s variations again reaped reward when Alex Carey skied one high into the air, which was safely taken by Du Plessis.
Lungi Ngidi then removed Mitchell Marsh, who also failed to get on top of a slower one with Steyn taking a sharp catch.
In total the Proteas conceded 12 wides and at times were far too short and wide, which made it easy for the Australians to find the fence.
Rabada in particular was quite expensive and went for 45 runs in just the three overs that he bowled.
But the home team will be happy to chase a score under 200.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (c, wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, JJ Smuts, David Miller, Pite van Biljon, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Patrick Cummins, Mitch Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images