proteas stumped

HOWZAT! Proteas' Dale Steyn appeals for the wicket of Australlia's Ricky Ponting during the second ODI match at Bellerive Ovall in Hobart, Australia.  18/01/2009. Pic. Tertius Pickard.  © Gallo Images.
HOWZAT! Proteas' Dale Steyn appeals for the wicket of Australlia's Ricky Ponting during the second ODI match at Bellerive Ovall in Hobart, Australia. 18/01/2009. Pic. Tertius Pickard. © Gallo Images.

Nobody can predict with any confidence which way the Commonwealth Bank one-day international series between South Africa and Australia is going to go, particularly after another nailbiter yesterday that left the teams locked at 1-1 with three matches still to be played.

Nobody can predict with any confidence which way the Commonwealth Bank one-day international series between South Africa and Australia is going to go, particularly after another nailbiter yesterday that left the teams locked at 1-1 with three matches still to be played.

But what is certain is that the 50-over format of the game has been given a welcome boost in spite of the popular challenge posed by the T20 variety.

It also proved that one of the game's latest innovations, the power play selected by the batting side, has added a delightful, unpredictable element to proceedings.

On Friday at the MCG the Proteas won by three wickets with three balls to spare and yesterday at the picturesque Bellerive Oval it was the turn of Australia to triumph by five runs after setting South Africa a relatively modest target of 250 for victory.

The Proteas could still have got a tie had Mark Boucher managed to hit the final delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus for six.

But it was not to be and the Proteas have to put the disappointment of coming that close to a 2-0 series lead behind them.

If there is one area that gave Australia superiority yesterday it was their fielding. They held all their catches while the Proteas dropped three, including giving home captain Ricky Ponting a life when he had only 10 runs.

The Australians also made a succession of breath-taking saves in the field and there was some dead-eye Dick throwing that resulted in the stumps being demolished on several occasions.

Two of these were decisive as they removed both AB de Villiers and JP Duminy and left Mark Boucher and Albie Morkel with too much to do with 41 runs required in the last three overs.

The run out of De Villiers was a turning point since it followed on the dismissal of top scorer Jacques Kallis for 72 and left the Proteas having to rebuild with two new batsmen at the crease in Duminy and Neil McKenzie.

The Proteas also have yet to get a major start from Herschelle Gibbs and Hashim Amla, which has put added pressure on the middle-order.

Teams:

Australia - Shaun Marsh, David Warner, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Cameron White, Brad Haddin (wk), James Hopes, Nathan Bracken, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ryan Harris

South Africa - Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Neil McKenzie, JP Duminy, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher (wk), Albie Morkel, Johan Botha (capt), Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini. - Cricket SA

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