Aiden Markram was the top-scorer in the Proteas defeat on Wednesday. Photo: BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Star-studded South Africa suffered a shock four-wicket loss to the Prime Minister’s XI in their tour match in Canberra on Wednesday.

Despite having Quinton de Kock (0), Faf du Plessis (13), David Miller (45) and Kagiso Rabada (28 not out and 2/41) in their team, the Proteas were bowled out for 173 in 42 overs and the hosts coasted to victory as they reached 174/6 in 36.3 overs.

South Africa play the first of three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against Australia on Sunday, and the loss against the Prime Minister’s XI would come as a heavy blow for the tourists.

“That wasn’t ideal, it would have been nice to get off to a winning start and for the batsmen to get off to a winning start.

“I thought their bowlers bowled incredibly well up front and put us on the back foot,” said SA opener Aiden Markram, who top-scored with 47 from 49 balls, striking nine fours in his knock.

“We were a touch rusty and not at the right intensity level.”

Though the defeat would likely hamper their preparation for the first ODI, Markram said the Proteas would be able to identify areas which needed improvement.

“It’s a good gauge for guys to see how much work needs to be done going into the first ODI.

“There are a lot of positives we can take from tonight, and a lot of question marks that need answering as well.

“I think naturally an international ODI series against Australia will lift the intensity levels, excitement levels, and generally that brings out the performances.”

Dale Steyn, attempting to strengthen his place in the side after a good showing in the ODI series against Zimbabwe earlier this month, returned figures 1/41 in seven overs opening the bowling.

Markram said he had full confidence in Steyn, who before the Zimbabwe series, had not played an ODI for South Africa for two years.

“It’s always good to see Dale swinging the ball at a good speed, so it’s a positive for us. I have no doubt he’ll lead our young attack.”

African News Agency (ANA)