Proteas target maiden Oz ‘sweep’

2016-10-06 13:04
Faf du Plessis (Getty)

Cape Town – There is a massive incentive for South Africa to keep the accelerator down in two dead-rubber meetings and thrash Australia by an eventual 5-0 margin in their current one-day international series.

Neither side has ever previously clean-swept the other in this format – though both have sampled the phenomenon against each other at Test level -- so if the buoyant Proteas can extend the misery for the tourists’ spooked, lightweight bowling attack, in particular, at St George’s Park on Sunday and then Newlands next Wednesday, bilateral history will be made.

The feat must be considered “on”, given the degree to which the now 3-0 down Aussies have suffered at the hands of their hosts’ array of stroke-players, with David Miller simply the latest to get stuck in really royally at Kingsmead on Wednesday with his match-winning century heroics.

It just seems that whatever Australia post with their own decent batting line-up, the Proteas seem able to go better at present.

That has been especially apparent in the two chases South Africa have had in the series thus far: first they made ridiculously light work of hunting down 295 at SuperSport Park in game one, doing it with almost 14 overs to spare, and then set various new statistical landmarks of excellence at Kingsmead as they reached an unlikely, taxing requirement of 372.

So it may require a combination of freakish Aussie run-scoring success in Port Elizabeth (10:00 start) and some complacency on the part of Faf du Plessis’s troops for the visitors to pull one back there.

Just as they broke a four-game Kingsmead losing hoodoo against Australia specifically on Wednesday, the Proteas will also seek to end a three-match general ODI losing run at St George’s Park – they have been beaten there by all of England, West Indies and Pakistan recently.

Of course clean sweeps do not come that easily in fully completed series of five matches or more, and South Africa have only managed it three times – all against West Indies (5-0 each time in the Caribbean, in 2005 and 2010, and the same outcome against them on our soil in 2007/08).

The Proteas have also previously beaten England and West Indies 6-1 in seven-match series, New Zealand 5-0 in a six-match series featuring one no-result, and Sri Lanka 5-1 in a six-game home affair in 2000/01.

Their best previous outcome in a bilateral series against the arch-rival Aussies, however, is 4-1 (five games) away in the 2008/09 season, with Johan Botha in charge after Graeme Smith had gone home injured following a famous Test series triumph.

Australia, for their part, enjoyed their own most one-sided success against South Africa thus far on our shores in 2001/02, when they won a scheduled seven-match series 5-1 (one washout) – the hosts spared a few blushes by winning the closing game at Newlands, when a very raw Smith scored 73 and Nicky Boje bagged 5/21 with the ball.

By winning all of the first three fixtures in the present series, South Africa have also closed the overall victory gap in ODIs between the two countries to 47-43 in Aussie favour, with three ties and one no-result from 94 games on record.

Two further SA victories would make things even tighter.

*The Proteas have also moved up to second on the ODI rankings, with the Aussie series having gone past the midway point, although the tourists stay No 1 for the moment with 120 rating points to SA’s 114.

Read more on:    proteas  |  faf du plessis  |  cricket


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