Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi set the tone up front as the Proteas crushed Australia by six wickets in the opening ODI on their tour of Australia at Perth on Sunday.
The Proteas won the toss on a typically lively pitch and went in with their full front-line pace attack. There was no recovery for Australia after Man of the Match Steyn and Ngidi reduced them to 8/3 inside 6 overs. They later slumped to 66/6 in 21 overs as Andile Phehlukwayo (3/33 in 6 overs) also played an important role.
The fielding was also out of the top draw with Quinton de Kock at his best behind the stumps, Faf du Plessis taking a stinger in the slips and David Miller producing a direct hit run out with only one stump to aim at.
It ended up as one of the shorter ODIs between the two countries with the game being finished in less than 70 overs as the Proteas chased down their target of 153 runs inside the 30th over.
It was also the Proteas sixth win in a row in bilateral series against Australia, following their 5-0 white ball whitewash in South Africa in 2016.
What will have been particularly pleasing for the Proteas was the manner in which they chased down the target with the two rookies, Reeza Hendricks and Aiden Markram, both making important contributions in support of De Kock against Australia’s full-strength pace attack.
Both De Kock and Markram had strike rates in excess of 100 and for a long time the Proteas were on target for victory by either eight or nine wickets. By the time the second wicket fell the match was virtually over as a contest with only 31 runs needed and 28 overs still available to be bowled.
De Kock made 47 (40 balls, 7 fours), Hendricks 44 (74 balls, 4 fours) and Markram 36 (32 balls, 6 fours).
The second match takes place at the Adelaide Oval on Friday. — Sport24