Do you have any nails left?

2009-01-23 00:00

IT promised much, and it duly delivered. South Africa and Australia are making an entertaining habit of turning their clashes into nailbiters.

They were at it again yesterday, with only a brutal assault by South Africa’s latest ace in the pack, Albie Morkel, sealing a three-wicket win.

The Proteas again won a match that they had seemed destined to lose. At 114 without loss, the Aussies looked primed to breach 300.

But Johan Botha led the fightback with a high quality spell of tight spin bowling. What the stand-in skipper lacks in natural ability, he more than makes up for with guts.

Australian skipper lamented his side’s wobble after a superb start.

“We were a lot short with our batting, at one stage we were looking for 300,” Ponting said.

“We’ve been 30 or 40 short in all three games so we’ve got to look at that.”

David Warner was back to his blasting best, belting a Steyn over for 17 on his way to 69 off 60 balls.

David Hussey (36) and James Hopes (33) tried to rally, but 269 was well short of the total that their electric start had promised.

The South Africans started nervously, with both Hashim Amla and Herschelle Gibbs dropped in Shaun Tait’s opening over.

Amla didn’t last much longer, but to the relief of all South Africans, Gibbs was back at his brutal best. His driving off Tait and then Mitchell Johnson was imperious, as he put on a fluent 96 with Jacques Kallis.

Gibbs eventually holed out for 64 off just 52 balls, but he had given the innings the impetus it needed. Kallis (60) passed 10 000 ODI runs, but there was a bit of a wobble when he, AB de Villiers (5) and Duminy (9) all fell in quick succession.

But Neil McKenzie and Mark Boucher settled the nerves before the Morkel show got into full swing.

Morkel was crucially dropped on 6 by Tait — whose fielding in the series has been woeful — and he never looked back.

Such is the confidence in Morkel that Botha immediately called on his batting powerplay as soon as the left-hander arrived at the crease.

He and Boucher played sensibly as they only needed a run a ball, but Morkel struck the decisive blows in Nathan Hauritz’s return over. He carted him over mid-wicket for a towering six, before smearing another two boundaries.

Though he holed out in the same over, he had all but taken the Proteas home and it was fittingly left to the increasingly impressive captain Botha to drive Tait through the covers for the winning runs.

“We pulled it really back nicely in the field,” Botha commented.

“Hopefully we can finish it off in Adelaide and that would be great for the team,” he added, referring to the fourth match on Monday.

That will be Australia Day, a national holiday, and Ponting needs nothing more than a win to keep the thrilling five-match series alive.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.