Australia end their short tour of South Africa in Potchefstroom on Saturday, when the two sides meet for the third and final time in an ODI series which has gone completely against the expected script thus far. South Africa have been excellent to date and have the series won with a match to spare.
Australia have another limited overs series to come when they get back home so although this series is gone, they have a chance to find their mojo before they go into an appealing series with close rivals New Zealand.
It looked like South Africa were going to be overwhelmed by Australia heading into this series, after taking two heavy beatings in the T20 series that proceeded these ODIs but to their credit they have been very good, and the positive thing for them is they have been missing players as well, so when the time comes there could yet be even more to come from them. The series might well be won but with another ODI series beginning next week, South Africa will be out for the whitewash.
The South African bowlers have been excellent throughout the series and if they have another good outing here, they could well achieve what would be a more significant whitewash than it feels moving forward. They might not even need that if they can deliver the goods with the bat. They have done enough in that discipline so far but there is undoubtedly more to come from them so they are in a decent place right now.
I suspect it will have annoyed Australia to have lost both matches in this series so far, not least because it halts some real head of steam they were building up in what is a huge year for them, given that they host the World T20 later in the year. It is hard to stay in sublime form for significant periods of time though so a drop was inevitable. In the grand scheme of things this was probably a good time for it to happen.
Australia will not want to depart South Africa having been whitewashed though so this will be an important match for them mentally. If they are going to come out on top in it then their batsmen are going to need to come to the party. Their key ones have offered signs to date but they haven’t come up with the truly big scores that makes winning easier. If they can do that, there is enough in the rest of their game to get the job done.
Although South Africa are in search of a whitewash, they are set to give those yet to play a game ahead of the India tour which means that Beuran Hendricks and Lutho Sipamla could come into the side. Temba Bavuma has been given the game off to rest his injury.
Australia will be forced into at least one change as Mitchell Starc has headed home early to watch his wife in the final of the women’s World T20. Kane Richardson or Josh Hazlewood will replace him although both could come in if required.
This hasn’t been a high scoring series by modern day standards and I’m not sure anything is going to change in this final match of it. The batsmen might get a little bit of respite in the fact that both sides might be without a key bowler or two but it is more the time of the year that has accounted for the run scoring being low as much as it has been anything that has been sent down. That isn’t going to change whoever plays here.
The run line for this match is up at 560.5 amid talk that this ground is usually good for batting. It might well be but internationals do not usually take place in South Africa at this time of year at these lesser used grounds so I can’t believe we’re going to get a road here. It would need a score in excess of 280 to see that covered and in four innings in the series to date there has only been one of them. I’ll take the under here.
WON – Back Under 560.5 runs for a 4/10 stake at 1.73 with Betway