SOUTH AFRICA TOUR OF AUSTRALIA 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
Travis Head has had two disappointing outings as an opener. © Getty
One of the biggest takeaways from Australia's streak-ending victory in Adelaide was the way they closed out a tight game. Undeniably, there's plenty of room for improvement in the batting department but the way the bowling stepped up in defence of a sub-par total should hold Aaron Finch's side in good stead as they continue to pick up the pieces strewn around post the Newlands scandal.
After Australia had registered their worst losing streak (seven after the Perth defeat), Finch had spoken passionately about how he believed the team's fortunes would eventually turn. Now that it has, Australian players will know "one game doesn't make the summer". They've recently exclaimed how the previous few games have drained them, but it's this belief, borne from victory, that'll help them build and sustain momentum.
For the fortunes to reverse permanently though, the batsmen will need to do the heavy lifting. Their patchy form, in the series against England, Pakistan and now South Africa, has put a lot of pressure on the other disciplines. The pretty 30s and 40s won't cut it anymore and Finch will demand consistency from the Marshs, the Lynns and the Heads as Australia search for the ideal combination ahead of their World Cup title defence next year.
The loss shouldn't bother South Africa too much but they'll hope it's a one-off. Ahead of the series, they set out to test some of the players who are likely to feature in their World Cup plans even after JP Duminy and Hashim Amla are back in the mix. Dwaine Pretorius has grabbed the opportunity with both hands while Dale Steyn has made a strong comeback. It's now the turn of Heinrich Klaasen and Aiden Markram to give the selectors a happy headache and a series-clinching performance in Hobart could go a long way in sealing berths.
Both teams have a lot to play for in the final ODI of the series. Australia, perhaps, have more at stake. A win tomorrow could well ignite the fire and get the fans rallying behind them in what has otherwise been a very disappointing year.
When: November 11, 2018, 3PM local time, 8.20 am IST
Where: Bellerive Oval, Hobart
What to expect: The last time an ODI was played at the venue was in 2015 during the ICC World Cup when Australia took on Scotland. Earlier this year, Australia and England played out a T20I when Glenn Maxwell scored a sensational 58-ball ton. It should be a good track to bat on and no weather hindrances are expected.
Australia: After the win, it's highly unlikely the hosts will make a change to the winning combination.
South Africa: The visitors haven't tried out Chris Morris and Farhaan Behardien in the series at the moment and with Klaasen fluffing his chances, he could well make way for one of them.
What they said:
"It will probably relax the guys a little bit, if anything. We know one win doesn't make a summer. It's a good step moving forward to get one on the board. It makes tomorrow a pretty important game for us to try and win the series" - Josh Hazlewood.
"We don't want to take anything for granted, so we're going to travel to the next destination and start fresh again - looking to finish off the series there strongly" - David Miller.
Australia: Aaron Finch(c), Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Shaun Marsh, D Arcy Short, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Ashton Agar, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Ben McDermott.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis(c), Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Reeza Hendricks.