South Africa square series
Trounced in the series opener, South Africa turned the tables on Australia with a convincing win in Sunday's second ODI at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth.
Trounced in the series opener earlier in the week, South Africa turned the tables on Australia with a convincing win in Sunday's second ODI at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth.
Chasing a daunting 304-run target, the visitors were always behind the eight-ball after Shane Watson couldn't open the batting due to a hip injury picked up earlier in the day and David Warner couldn't find a long-term partner.
Warner put together a measured 74 and enjoyed brief companionship at the crease from Mike Hussey, who pitched in with 37. Hussey's run-out, however, set the skids under an Australian chase that had already suffered the big losses of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke for just 10 and one respectively.
South Africa's spin bowlers – Johan Botha and JP Duminy – strangled the run rate, while Man of the Match Morne Morkel (four for 21) landed breakthroughs at regular enough intervals.
When Warner – dropped by Hashim Amla on 26 – really looked to launch, the asking rate was in the early teens. The pressure tolled, and the big-hitting left-hander perished in the cause.
Steven Smith wasted valuable deliveries, Watson was not at home at six in the middle order, Brad Haddin was at his iffy best and Mitchell Johnson's hopes of some hefty strikes flattered to deceive.
In the end, so assured were South Africa of victory, Dale Steyn (two for 57) was clinching tail-end wickets off a short run-up and Mark Boucher's earlier missed stumpings – when Hussey was on 18 and 36 – were forgiven.
Earlier Amla's first-ball duck didn't bode well for the Proteas, but four half-centuries ultimately saw them to the fifth highest ODI score at St George's Park.
76 from Jacques Kallis, 59 from David Miller, 57 from Graeme Smith and 56 from Duminy brought the hosts and impressive 303 for six against an Australian bowling unit slightly shy of their A-game.
While Smith and Kallis' 142-run alliance for the second wicket undid the damage of Amla's early departure, Miller and Duminy's 107-run stand completed the job.
Doug Bollinger endured a rare off-day, Pat Cummins copped his first expense in international cricket, Johnson surprisingly finished the cheapest of the visiting seamers and Watson fell prey to his ongoing hip complication.
Smith did well to grind his way back to form, while Kallis was at his fluid best across a deck that offered a bit of turn and the odd surprise off a good length. The duo, however, hurt their collective effort after falling in quick succession – the left-hander to a stupid reverse sweep and the right-hander to a self-inflicted run-out.
The in-form Duminy and a promising Miller were at hand for more recovery, though, and settled into a thorough stride before taking the attack to the Aussies. Miller enjoyed his highest ODI score, with Duminy cranking Cummins for a couple of sixes in one large over to truly swing the pendulum the Proteas' way.
Sunday's result means Friday's third one-dayer will act as a decider, with both teams determined to land one last blow before their two-match Test series.
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