Adelaide – South Africa has the cricket world at its feet after Monday’s emphatic victory over Australia.
The Proteas won the fourth one-day international convincingly by eight wickets and wrapped up the series in the process. The South Africans scored the desired 223 runs with 11.5 overs left.
To rub salt in the wounds, the victory was achieved on Australia Day.
They are the first South African cricket side to achieve the twin feat of a Test- and one-day series victory on Australian soil. The last side to manage that was the West Indies in 1992/93.
However, one-day skipper Johan Botha has called on the side to stay humble.
“You must always remember that this is not your last game and there are plenty more challenges ahead,” said Botha.
“It’s wonderful to win here. It’s not something that happens every day, but we must keep our feet firmly on the ground and not get carried away.”
His Australian counterpart, Ricky Ponting, was full of praise for the South Africans, who combined good bowling and outstanding batting to achieve the victory.
“They played us off the park and it was also our worst performance of the season,” said Ponting.
“South Africa fronted when it really mattered and deserved their victories. We knew they would be tough to beat and so it proved.”
South Africa have a major incentive to win the last one-day international on tour in Perth as a victory will see them knock Australia off the top of the world rankings.
Botha said a victory could be very important from a psychological perspective.
“I don’t know if the rankings list is a reliable measure. It’s going to be a very important game. If we can win convincingly again it will be a huge psychological boost ahead of the home series against the Aussies,” said Botha.
He added that youngsters such as Wayne Parnell and Lonwabo Tsotsobe could definitely get opportunities.
AB de Villiers, who was named man of the match after his innings of an unbeaten 82 off 85 balls, said it was a dream come true.
Hashim Amla, who struck the winning runs, batted superbly again and posted an unbeaten 80.
Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa, was delighted with the Proteas’ series win.
“Very few experts predicted this because they believed South Africa are better at Test than one-day cricket,” he said.
He praised Botha for his “inspirational leadership” that blended youth and experience in a “remarkable way”.