Marco Jansen’s maiden five-wicket haul in ODI cricket sealed the series 3-2 in favour of South Africa, and most importantly ensured that the Proteas head to India with momentum on their side.
With leader of the attack Kagiso Rabada missing the series decider due to a precautionary measure, concerns over South Africa’s chances of defending 315 made quiet rounds at the Wanderers on Sunday afternoon.
Defending at The Bullring has never been a simple task and history tells the tale of the many records broken batting last at the Wanderers Stadium across all formats.
Captain Temba Bavuma decided Lungi Ngidi (0/23) and Gerald Coetzee (0/47) were to take the new ball, but when Coetzee conceded 14 in his first, Bavuma quickly made the change and replaced him with Jansen, causing one or two fans in the stands to wonder whether the captain is being reactive with his quick decision making.
Perhaps it was because the skipper remembered Jansen’s dismissal of opener David Warner earlier in the series at the Mangaung Ova and decided to bring him on to bowl the fourth over with Warner on strike.
The left-arm seamer delivered a double strike in his first over, removing both Warner (10 off 6) and Josh Inglis (0 off 4).
As the tall 21-year-old went about his business, one thing was clear, he had found a perfect line just outside off-stump and it showed when the fast bowler produced a maiden in his second over, putting Mitchell Marsh (71 off 56) and Marnus Labuschagne (44 off 63) under immense pressure.
Jansen would go on to complete his maiden five-for in his second spell after Bavuma took him out of the attack when the youngster momentarily went astray from the effective lines and lengths he was hitting in his first two overs.
Keshav Maharaj (4/33) and Andile Phehlukwayo (1/44) bowled brilliantly as a pair and bowled the visitors out for 193.
Earlier, the hosts lost captain Bavuma early on in the innings when the right-handed batter was run-out by Labuschagne without scoring in the second over of the match.
From that point onwards, Sean Abbott (2/54) and Michael Neser (0/60) kept the South Africans quiet and created a lot of problems for Rassie van der Dussen and Quinton de Kock as the pair struggled to adjust to the visitors’ swing bowling.
The pair got past the first powerplay with the scoreboard reading 32/1 before De Kock (27 off 39) unleashed a big square-drive only to find an edge through to Cameron Green in the slip cordon.
Van der Dussen (30 off 48) followed some seven-overs later, after a characteristically slow start with bat in hand, while Heinrich Klaasen (6 off 13) did not last either as he was bowled by Adam Zampa (3/71).
A partnership of real substance came about between Aiden Markram (93 off 87) and David Miller (63 off 65) as the pair expertly read the conditions and paced themselves superbly to a 109-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Cameos from Jansen (47 off 23) and Andile Phehlukwayo (39 off 19) pushed South Africa to a decent 315/9.
South Africa: 315/9 (Markram 93, Miller 63, Zampa 3/71, Abbott 2/54)
Australia: 193/10 (Marsh 71, Labuschagne 44, Jansen 5/39, Maharaj 4/33)
South Africa win by 122 runs, win series 3-2