Young and old see Australia home

Australia

Young and old combined for Australia on Wednesday as they claimed a comfortable 93-run win via the Duckworth/Lewis method in the first ODI against South Africa at SuperSport Park.

Young and old combined for Australia on Wednesday as they claimed a comfortable 93-run win via the Duckworth/Lewis method in the first ODI against South Africa at SuperSport Park.

Veteran Ricky Ponting scored a fine half-century in Australia's 183 for four from 29 overs and then young guns Patrick Cummins, Mitchell Marsh and Xavier Doherty obliterated the South African batting line-up as they were dismissed for 129 in 22 overs.

With the hosts' target revised to 223 from 29 overs following rain earlier in the day, their batsmen were under pressure from the start and not a single one dug in to keep their side in the game.

After the out-of-form Graeme Smith was out lbw to Doug Bollinger in the first over, captain Hashim Amla (25) and Jacques Kallis (15) made 36 before the rot set in. Kallis dragged one from debutant Cummins onto his stumps, JP Duminy hit a four and then edged one to Michael Clarke at second slip while wicketkeeper Brad Haddin took a good low catch to send Amla on his way.

The wickets kept tumbling and although Faf du Plessis (27) and Johan Botha (25) looked in fine nick, the pressure told. Du Plessis skied Mitchell Johnson (three for 20) to deep cover while Botha stepped onto his stumps to give Cummins figures of three for 28. His fellow debutant Marsh notched up one for 19 while Doherty claimed two for 33.

Lonwabo Tsotsobe was the final man out after he holed out down the ground.

Earlier, Australia were forced to open with David Warner and Ponting after Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh were ruled out through injury. Warner, who was scoreless in the two Twenty20s, smashed an Dale Steyn for a couple of boundaries before getting an inside edge onto his stumps after South Africa's No 1 pacer got one to move back into him.

Makeshift opener Ponting and Clarke were rarely troubled as they pushed Australia to 96 for one in 19 overs before rain and lightning forced the players off the field.

After a four-hour delay, the match was reduced to 29-overs-per-side and it forced the Australian batsmen to shift from first gear to fourth gear. Ponting eased to his half-ton with a couple of fours while Clarke helped himself to two huge sixes. The visitors motored to 123 before the Australian skipper was the victim of an unfortunate run-out. Ponting smashed it straight down the ground but Botha got a finger to the ball and deflected it onto the stumps and Clarke had to depart for 44 from 48 balls.

Ponting and Michael Hussey (30 from 21 balls) continued to take the game to South Africa. Former skipper Ponting was out for 63 from 77 after smashing Steyn to deep backward point. A couple more big shots from Michael Hussey helped Australia to finish on 123 for four but South Africa's target was revised to 223.

The second ODI takes place at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

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