Proteas aim to clinch series at first attempt
There are two things Australian and South African sporting teams have in common – being at their best when their backs are against the wall and making sure the opposition swallow their words.
Rilee Rossouw does not come across as a goader of note, but in some ways he did ask the Australians to make a stand in today’s third ODI at Kingsmead.
If they do not, they will be the first Australian side to surrender an ODI rubber to South Africa in the first three matches.
History shows that the Proteas have never in their 10 previous one-day series against Australia clinched the rubber at the first opportunity.
That is a record Steven Smith would not like to have against his name considering his side’s excellence in the shorter format, but the Proteas have gelled better than expected.
Even though Rossouw has been a stand-in for Hashim Amla, his belligerence at the top of the order is one of the reasons why Australia find themselves two down with three matches to play.
“They are the best team in the world and if they don’t bounce back, they don’t deserve that tag,” he said.
“I’m pretty sure they’ll come out with some big swings [today] on the field and it’s up to us to see whether we’ll be able to counterpunch them.”
“The team has had two serious performances in a row and we want to wrap it up in the third game because Australia is the best team in the world. “If you give them a sniff, they will come back hard,” Rossouw said.
South Africa have generally never enjoyed playing at Kingsmead and their record against Australia tells the story.
They have not won in the last five attempts and even though there were close matches in 2006 and 2011, there have been lopsided beatings like the Adam Gilchrist-inspired eight-wicket hammering back in 2002.
Rossouw was not in the picture then and his mind frame is that of a player who does not seem to worry much about the past.
That will come in handy on what could be a slightly tacky surface slowed down by rain even though there was sunshine for the best part of the day yesterday.
Whether Rossouw will play is another story with Amla set to make his comeback after being laid low by sickness.