AUSTRALIA has snapped its unprecedented losing streak in 50-over cricket, ending another week of negativity surrounding the team on a high.
The hosts have taken the three match ODI series against South Africa to a decider by successfully defending just 231 at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.
Marcus Stoinis was largely to thank for the upset win, taking three wickets and a run out. South Africa made 9-224 off its 50 overs to lose by seven runs.
The win ended a run of seven consecutive ODI losses that stretched back to January 26, which also came at Adelaide Oval.
Stoinis took 3-35 and quicks Josh Hazlewood (2-42) and Pat Cummins (1-27) stifled the South Africans.
But Australia’s batting woes remain: They were all out for 231 in 48.3 overs – the seventh time in their past eight one-day internationals they couldn’t bat their allotted overs.
Stoinis, before a crowd of 17,680 spectators, made amends with frequent strikes with the ball for his second-best ODI figures. The South Africans slipped to 4-68 inside 15 overs before David Miller (51 from 71 balls) and captain Faf du Plessis rallied.
They put the chase on pace with a game-high 74 run partnership before du Plessis (47 from 65 balls) inexplicably chopped on to his stumps from Cummins’ bowling. The skipper’s departure started a slide of 5-60 as Australia ended a seven-game ODI losing stretch.
Stoinis, Hazlewood and Cummins pressed as the visitors lost 3-13, leaving 30 runs to get from the last three overs.
Spearhead Mitchell Starc (2-51) then delivered a vital wicket-maiden to help close out the victory. “I think it is justification for the hard work and it keeps the series alive,” Finch said after the game.
Earlier, Travis Head (8) was the first man out for Australia, trapped plumb in front by Lungi Ngidi and he took a review with him.
South Africa continued its steady demolition of Australia’s batting order when Aaron Finch (41) chopped on against Dwaine Pretorius (3-32).
Chris Lynn then burst into life by hitting Rabada for four boundaries in as many balls before he was caught behind for 44 the next delivery. Wickets then began to fall in a hurry.
Glenn Maxwell (15) made yet another promising start before Pretorius found his inside edge in the 33rd over to leave Australia at 5-166.
Marcus Stoinis (2) was soon too follow when a sharp one-handed catch by Reeza Hendricks at midwicket gave Pretorius his third. Pat Cummins (3) could only last eight balls before Dale Steyn (2-31) rattled his off stump to take the Proteas third wicket in 13 runs.
Mitchell Starc’s (6) leading edge popped straight up and back to Steyn for his second, before Carey eventually perished in the 45th over, caught behind attempting to guide Rabada to third man.
Adam Zampa was the last man out, but not before he put on a courageous 22 off 24 balls with Josh Hazlewood (10).
The final ODI will be played on Sunday, If the Australians lose Sunday’s match in Hobart, it will be their second consecutive bilateral ODI series defeat at home after sinking to a 4-1 loss to England at the start of the year. That is something that has never happened in the history of Australian cricket.