..Smith Nightmare Haunts South Africa..
Australia 268 /7 in 49 Overs [ SPD Smith 104 , MS Wade 52, JP Faulkner 34* , DW Steyn 2/47, WD Parnell 2/52 ] beat South Africa 267 /8 [ AB de Villiers 91, DA Miller 45 ,JP Faulkner 2/45 , PJ Cummins 2/61 ] by 3 wickets .
Sparkling Steve Smith and Wonderful Wade plotted a brilliant win of Australia at a surprisingly s sparsely populated MCG cricket coliseum last night leading Australia to five match ODI series win with a match at Sydney yet to play. It was the first win of the home team over South Africa in the seventh meeting of the sides at MCG and what a fascinating contest it was. Two top dogs of world cricket really locked in a dog fight which ultimately was won by home dog for better death over armory at disposal. Australia won by three wickets and advanced to unassailable 3-1 lead in the five matches ODI series .If Australia manage to win at Sydney they will move to the top of ICC ranking over taking India . With the triangular ODI involving India and Sri Lanka round the corner and ICC world cup in not too distant future Australia is getting back to stride. After a disastrous UAE tour good news are being welcomed in Australian cricket community. It is expected that the poor crowd response at MCG will soon reverse as home team is looking good now.
Australia won the first ODI at Perth comfortably but was destroyed by South African pace battery in the second ODI on a lightning fast WACA wicket in the second. High scoring third ODI at Australian Capital Canberra Manuka Oval witnessed blitz from Aaron Flinch and Steve Smith as Australia elbowed out proteanchallenges. At MCG till the start of the second power play of Australian batting South Africa were in command. But a 121 run sixth wicket Tsunami by Smith and Wade put paid to visitors’ efforts of keeping the MCG record untainted for them. Wade scored almost a run a ball 52 and together by 45 th over brought the match with in grasp of a top finisher JP Faulkner. He obliged with a rapid fire unbeaten34 in only 19 deliveries with six strikes across the fence.A monster looking Steven Smith delivered another nightmare for the shell shocked South Africans at stock. He delivered a yet another out of the world century 104 in 112 deliveries manufacturing several stokes not to be found in cricket coaching manual.
Earlier winning the toss and batting first the visitors riding on an effortless 91 of 88 deliveries of the top batsman of the world at the moment AB de Villiers posted a challenging 267/8. When de Villiers and Miller were batting together in a very dynamic 4th wicket partnership a score of 300 plus was on the card. But sudden rush which won’t be inappropriate to term arrogance my both Miller and de Villiers both left in the same fashion skying their drives to man of the day Smith . The run machine was derailed. A promising innings was haulted at least 25-30 runs short at 267 /8. In absence of Duminy South African tail appears not be world class at this moment. They look one genuine batsman short in the tour so far. Many thought they have failed to find a good replacement for their three in one maestro Jack Kallis.
Defending not too a huge score South Africans started well removing blaster Warner very early again. Flinch, Watson, Bailey and Maxwell also could not do much damage. Steyn and Abott were very hot to handle in their early spells. But smart Smith again batted superbly. He matched fire with fire playing many attacking strokes some of which were his own invention .Wicket keeper batsman Mathew Wade was his partner in resurrecting the Aussie innings. The 6th wicket pair reversed the tide. By the time Wade left at 6/219 in the 45 Th over Australia was well on course with Bevan like top finisher James Faulkner at their disposal.
Australia in Australia at least in ODI now looks very strong. They have so many top fast bowling options. Michel Jonson, M Starc,Hazelwood, Ryan Harris, Faulkner all can be very very useful. Two explosive openers Warner and Flinch can give kick start. Middle order as well as late middle order has many options. Australia has the luxury of plenty to choose from.
South Africa has genuine problem with death over bowling at lower middle order batting. Quicks bowl too less Yorkers and lose their way. JP Duminy is nursing his knee injury .His return will solve few problems. Without Morkel and Philander Steyn cannot unleash his match winning deadly bowling efforts.
With a planned Bangladesh flight this morning did not have a plan to witness MCG ODI. But my South African fan son Shahriar Shuvro made me go and thanks all mighty we could witness a fascinating contest .Shuvro was not pleased but we are Aussies. We sing advance Australia fair.