David Miller (139) and Faf du Plessis (125) centuries, combined with a late onslaught in the death overs which yielded a staggering 130 runs in 10 overs, helped South Africa prolong the agony of the Australian cricket team as they clinched the third and final ODI at Hobart by 40 runs to win the series 2-1.
Miller and du Plessis’ stand of 252 was the highest partnership in ODIs between Australia and South Africa and this helped them reach 320/5. The partnership and the late order assault was the difference for both sides as Australia remained winless in a series since January 2017.
Australia won the toss and elected to field and the move paid immediate dividends, with Mitchell Starc getting rid of Quinton de Kock (4) and Aiden Markram (32) while Marcus Stoinis accounted for Reeza Hendricks (8). However, du Plessis and Miller joined forces to rebuild the innings.
Du Plessis was lucky to have been dropped by Alex Carey off Glenn Maxwell on 29 while Miller was lucky to have his LBW call reversed off the same bowler after a last-second review. With both batsmen benefiting from those close calls, they calmly moved to their fifties and the stage was set for the death overs assault
The South Africa skipper started the onslaught by hammering Josh Hazlewood for a four to wide long on and a six over deep midwicket. Du Plessis raced to his 10th century and Miller was soon in pursuit, hammering Pat Cummins for three fours and a six in the 47th over. Du Plessis continued the carnage in the 48th over with three fours of Starc as South Africa ended strongly on 320/5.
Australia respond strongly
In response, Australia lost Chris Lynn (0), Aaron Finch (11) and Travis Head (6) in quick succession. However, Stoinis, in partnership with Shaun Marsh revived the Australian innings with some big hits. The right-handed Stoinis, in particular, took a liking to Imran Tahir’s legspin as he clubbed him for three fours and three sixes in three overs to reach an attacking fifty.
At the other end, Marsh, who had a torrid tour of the UAE, grew in confidence and he raised his fifty by flicking Kagiso Rabada over deep square leg. The 107-run stand was broken when Stoinis (63) mistimed a lofted shot off Dwaine Pretorius to be caught at deep backward point. Alex Carey (gave Marsh good company as the left-hander reached an important century. However, once Marsh fell to Pretorius, the asking rate mounted.
Maxwell (35) struck some lusty blows but South Africa, particularly, Lungi Ngidi and Rabada put on a magnificent display in the death as the Proteas sealed a tense win.
The loss compounded Australia’s woes in ODIs in 2018, having won just three games in the year. The action now shifts to the one-off Twenty20 International in Canberra on November 17.