Abbott and Shamsi star in SA’s six-wicket victory at St George’s
Australia’s miserable tour continued as South Africa’s second-string attack sent them spiralling even deeper into the abyss in a six-wicket thumping in the fourth ODI at St George’s Park yesterday.
In attempting to salvage some pride, the Aussies could only muster 167 runs.
They were undone by the exploits of fast bowler Kyle Abbott and left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, who was on home debut.
South Africa reached the target with only four wickets falling and 87 balls to spare to assume a 4-0 lead in the series much to the delight of the crowd of about 9 000.
Captain Faf du Plessis continued his good form contributing 69 off 87 balls with eight fours.
A rare whitewash over the old foe remains firmly on track now with Wednesday’s final match in Cape Town to come.
“The plans were amazing again today with the new ball against the batters up front,” Du Plessis said.
“Abbo [Abbott] was outstanding with the new ball and that set the tone for us.
“Obviously, Shamo [Shamsi] then came in and spun his web around the batsmen – once again bowling really, really well.
“So, it’s good to see guys coming through. Imran [Tahir] didn’t even play today so it gives us great combinations to try and always attack and always take wickets,” Du Plessis said.
The Aussies, for all their fighting talk heading into the game, collapsed to 49/5 with Shamsi and Abbott both starring in their return to the lineup.
The Proteas made four changes to their starting lineup bringing in Farhaan Behardien, Abbott, Aaron Phangiso and Shamsi for David Miller (injured), Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada (all rested).
Australia may have thought they would enjoy some respite as a result of the shift in personnel, but that optimism will have been short-lived.
Abbott, after missing out on four previous starts this summer, went straight for the jugular bowling both openers Aaron Finch (2) and David Warner (6) in his first seven deliveries.
Dwaine Pretorius then trapped George Bailey in front and the Aussies had slipped to 12/3.
Shamsi was then introduced into the attack in the 11th over.
He bowled with great control and struck twice in his third over, seeing off captain Steve Smith and Travis Head in the space of three balls, both wickets falling to leg before decisions.
Fighting half centuries by Mitchell Marsh (50) and Matthew Wade (52) added a measure of respectability to the Australian total.
Abbott finished with 4/40 while Shamsi returned his best figures in a South African jersey, claiming 3/36 in his 10 overs.
The Australians had struggled for early wickets throughout the series. In the three previous ODIs, they had allowed the South Africans to get off to flying starts.
This time around they struck two early blows, with seamer Chris Tremain removing Hashim Amla (4) and Quinton de Kock (18) to have the Proteas 32/2 at lunch.
But with precious few runs to defend their task was always going to be insurmountable without regular wickets falling throughout.