Proteas, Aussies set for a corker

2014-08-26 00:00

THREE days of rest has given the Proteas time to tune into their meeting with the Australians in Harare tomorrow.

This will be the opening match of the Tri-Series for the Proteas after the hosts and the men from Down Under played yesterday, the visitors cruising to a 198-run win.

It will not be as easy this time around for the men in yellow and the stage is set for what should be a corker of a match just across our borders.

The opportunity of having two top-ranked One-Day International (ODI) sides in action should see a sea of colour in the stands as locals grab at a rare occurrence.

Despite some down time, Protea batsman JP Duminy is relishing the challenge. “We were consistent in the three matches against Zimbabwe and having match time always helps,” he said. “It’s great motivation knowing we are up against the best ODI side in the world and we look forward to the rivalry. It should be a good series.”

On his own form, Duminy said, “I am happy. Cricket is a game where form comes and goes and the hard work must always be put in. We just want everything to go to plan on the field. That’s where it counts.”

Ahead of the game, Proteas bowling coach Allan Donald is more than pleased with the squad’s depth.

With the main trio of Dale Steyn, Morné Morkel and Vernon Philander rested for the three-match series against Zimbabwe, it allowed the next crop of bowlers to prove their worth.

Kyle Abbott, Wayne Parnell, Marchant de Lange and Mthokosizi Shezi did not disappoint but, with Steyn and Morkel returning tomorrow, one of the aforementioned bowlers has to come in for Philander.

“It’s a great headache to have,” said Donald. “Luckily I don’t make the call when it comes to selection, but it’s a healthy state of affairs when coach Russell Domingo has such talent to choose from.”

Donald singled out Abbott’s performances in the three ODIs where, despite a lack of wickets, he was economical and tricky to score off.

“Abbott bowled beautifully and with great skill. He is in a great space and deserves his chance.

“De Lange was quick and hungry and got great shape. His return after a long rebuilding and restructuring of his action is encouraging. He will definitely put his hand up for next year’s World Cup.

Tomorrow’s match will be a fast bowling showcase. Whoever gets the nod to partner Steyn and Morkel will no doubt step up a gear against the Aussies, who have their own firepower lead by the mercurial Mitchell Johnson.

“This will be a tough contest with nothing given by either side,” said Donald. “There are quality fast bowlers on show here and the Test series between us earlier this year was hard and brutal. It comes down to who lands the hardest blows the earliest.”

Proteas ODI Squad: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Kyle Abbott, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morné Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Rilee Rossouw, Mthokozisi Shezi, Dale Steyn.

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