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Saturday, 10 February 2024 15:40

Australia seals rain-affected win over South Africa in decisive third ODI.

Staff Reporter.

Australia have sealed victory in the best-of-three one-day international series against South Africa, avenging their upset loss in match two with a rain-affected 110-run triumph at North Sydney Oval.

The loss means the home team leads the multi-format tour 8-4 after two T20I and two ODI victories. The Proteas, who scored earlier scored their first T20I and ODI victories over the world number one, can force a draw should they win next week’s once-off test in Perth.

Set an adjusted target of 238 of 31 overs (DLS) after a long rain delay, South Africa was bowled out for 127 (24.3 overs). Australia scored 277 for nine (50 overs), with Beth Mooney top-scoring with 82 not out. Tahlia McGrath was player of the match for her 44 of 35 balls and bowling figures of three for 14.

A disappointed Protea captain Laura Wolvaardt took the loss on the chin.

“I thought we had a decent first half of the game but unfortunately lost those early wickets in the power play. We were really excited for today, we had an awesome opportunity to do something special today but just didn't do it with the bat. We are really excited for the test match to come up and hopefully we can turn around for that.”

South Africa lost their first wicket in the third over with the score on eight when Wolvaardt (3, 10b) nicked one to Phoebe Litchfield at first slip from the bowling of Kim Garth. The Protea skipper has so far struggled with the bat on the tour Down Under and will hope for a better performance in next week's once-off test in Perth.

Two overs later, Tazmin Brits breathed heavily when the same happened with her score on 10. The ball luckily fell just short of the grasping hands of Litchfield.

Garth was also responsible for the departure of Anneke Bosch when she bowled the opener for 4 (6b, 1x4). The scoreboard read 29 for two.

Tahlia McGrath’s first over (11th) saw the departure of Brits as well as the prized scalp of Marizanne Kapp who scored 200 runs in her last three innings. South Africa was in a spot of bother on 52 for four.

First Brits (31, 37b, 6x4) couldn’t properly get hold of a delivery and instead hit it towards deep midwicket where Alana King took the catch. Then Darcie Brown caught one at deep backward square leg that saw the back of Kapp (0, 4b).  

With the score on 63 for four and with South Africa needing 215 from 36 overs, rain forced the players off the field. Sune Luus was on six and Nadine de Klerk was on eight. Wednesday’s second ODI, at the same ground, was also interrupted by rain.

After an almost two-hour delay, the players returned and the winning target was adjusted to 238. South Africa needed 175 from 17 overs at a required run rate of 10.29.

Luus came out with intent after the delay, especially targeting Ash Gardner whose third over went for 12. The same over also saw the 50-partnership (48b) with De Klerk come up.

When De Klerk tried to copy her fellow batter, she however hit a King delivery straight to Litchfield at extra cover. She was out for 20 (24b, 2x4) and the score was 102 for five (20th over).

Chloe Tryon (11, 9b, 2x4) managed to hit two fours before McGrath got her third wicket when Darcie Brown took an easy catch.

The first ball of the next over saw the end of Luus for 34 (38b, 3x4, 1x6) with King taking a regulation catch of her own bowling. Three balls later Sinalo Jafta (0, 3b) became King’s third victim when Litchfield took yet another catch and on 116 for 8, the writing was on the wall. Bowling Masabata Klaas for 0 with her next delivery brought King a hattrick ball. With Ayanda Hlubi taking strike, the delivery just missed the outside edge.

Hlubi was the last wicket to fall, bowled by Garth for 4 (6b, 1x4). Eliz-mari Marx was not out for seven.

Earlier it was Klaas who struck in the sixth over of the Australian innings with the score on 17 when Brits’ safe hands saw the end of Litchfield for 5 (16b, 1x4).

Klaas got her second scalp when she found a gap between bat and pad to send the wickets of Ellysse Perry flying for 24 (32b, 4x4). With that, the 82-run second-wicket partnership with Healy was broken and Australia was 99 for two.

After an expensive opening bowling stint, Marx finally got the prized wicket of Healy for 60 (73b, 9x4, 1x6) when Luus took a catch at deep backward square leg. Australia lost their third wicket with the score on 119 (25th over).

The 50-run partnership (51* from 61) between Mooney and McGrath was up in the 35th over. With the score on 174 for three, the duo started pushing on towards a sizeable total.

Tryon provided the much-needed breakthrough when she bowled the destructive McGrath for 44 (35b, 7x4) and Australia lost their fourth wicket with the score on 186.

Just one run was added to the score before Kapp got in on the action in the next over when she trapped Gardner lbw for 1.

Wolvaardt took a ripper of a catch when Annabel Sutherland (18, 29b, 2x4) scooped a Klaas delivery straight up. It was the South African bowler’s third wicket and Australia was on 241 for six.

Georgia Wareham (1, 5b) had to depart in the next over with the score on 245 when De Klerk stuck out her right hand in her follow-through for an outstanding caught and bowl.

Klaas claimed the wicket of King for 17 (12b, 2x6) with the first ball of the last over. Garth was run out for three (4b) with the last ball of the innings.  

The tour concludes with the first-ever test between the two nations, starting next Thursday (15 February) at the WACA in Perth.

Australia: Alyssa Healy (capt), Phoebe Litchfield, Ellyse Perry, Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath, Ashleigh Gardner, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham, Alana King, Kim Garth, Darcie Brown

South Africa: Laura Wolvaardt (capt), Tazmin Brits, Sune Luus, Anneke Bosch, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Nadine de Klerk, Eliz-Mari Marx, Sinalo Jafta, Masabata Klaas, Ayanda Hlubi.