Proteas continue their losing run against Australia despite Bavuma century

Proteas continue their losing run against Australia despite Bavuma century
Temba Bavuma in action during the first One Day International against Australia at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on 7 September 2023. (Photo: Charle Lombard / Gallo Images)

Temba Bavuma struck a phenomenal unbeaten century but it was not enough as Australia beat South Africa by three wickets on Thursday night.

Australia beat South Africa by three wickets in the first of five One Day Internationals (ODI) on a tricky Mangaung Oval surface in Bloemfontein on Thursday evening.

Marnus Labuschagne (unbeaten 80 off 93) and Ashton Agar (unbeaten 48 off 69) put on a magnificent 112-run, ninth-wicket partnership to chase down South Africa’s total of 222 with 9.4 overs to spare.

Labuschagne came into the match as a concussion substitute after Cameron Green was struck by a vicious Kagiso Rabada bouncer in the sixth over of Australia’s innings.

It was a topsy-turvy match. At one stage South Africa were 100 for six in the 26th over, but fought their way to 222 all out in the 49th. 

The Proteas then had Australia on the ropes at 113 for seven in the 17th over, but the Aussies didn’t lose another wicket as Labuschagne and Agar carried their team home.

Earlier in the day, Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma scored a sensational unbeaten 114 off 142 – more than half the team’s runs – to help them to a competitive total on a pitch that the rest of the host’s batters struggled on.

Bavuma became only the second South African batter to carry their bat from start to finish in an ODI innings, after Herschelle Gibbs achieved the feat against Pakistan in 2000.

Tight bowling 

Josh Hazlewood and Marcus Stoinis put on an exhibition of new-ball bowling as the pair, along with first-change Sean Abbott, restricted Bavuma and Quinton de Kock to only 19 runs in the first eight overs.

Proteas Bavuma

Temba Bavuma celebrates his 50 during the first One Day International against Australia at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on 7 September 2023. (Photo: Charle Lombard / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

The hard and accurate lines and lengths combined with the surprisingly slow Mangaung wicket meant the opening batters struggled to score freely.

Stoinis struck in the ninth over, dismissing a frustrated De Kock (11 off 31 balls) with a short ball hit straight down Green’s throat at fine leg.

A horrible miscommunication between Rassie van der Dussen (eight off 16) and Bavuma, while trying to nab a quick single, ensued shortly as the former was run out by Stoinis.

Aiden Markram and Bavuma looked to rebuild the innings as the team passed 50 in the 16th over off the bowling of Adam Zampa.

But in almost stereotypically Markram fashion, the swashbuckling batter scored a gorgeous 19 off 14 deliveries – which included two delectable cover drives off Green – before throwing it away by top-edging a short ball off Green.

Australia’s wicket-to-wicket bowling paid off when Stoinis dismissed Heinrich Klaasen (14 off 19) with a delivery that kept extremely low.

An over after Klaasen’s dismissal, David Miller was back in the dugout for a two-ball duck – bowled by Hazlewood, caught behind by Alex Carey.

South Africa were reeling at 100 for five at this point.

Classy Temba

Bavuma carried on merrily from the other end, bringing up his half-century off 78 deliveries with a hook shot off a Green half-tracker.

The lanky Marco Jansen proved the most willing support as the pair put on a team-high partnership of 57-runs for the sixth wicket.

The threatening stand between Jansen and Bavuma was eventually broken by a ripping Hazlewood delivery that made a mess of all three of Jansen’s stumps.

Gerald Coetzee, Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada could only muster five runs between them as the tail struggled to adjust to the variable pitch. 

We always speak about being relentless and when you get given a sniff against a team like Australia you’ve got to take it.

No 11, Lungi Ngidi, despite scoring zero runs, put up the bravest fight, seeing out 11 challenging deliveries. The last man, along with Bavuma, put on 37 runs (all off Bavuma’s bat) off 34 balls for the final wicket.

A severely cramping Bavuma eventually opened up his shoulders and brought up a fifth ODI century, off 136 balls, with a nudge off the hips to a legside boundary rider. 

The captain ended on 114 not out, off 142 deliveries – walloping 14 fours and one six – after Ngidi edged behind off Hazlewood’s bowling. The big quick finished with three wickets for 41 runs in his 10 overs.

Bavuma was understandably disappointed by his side not being able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, even when they had ample opportunities to do this. 

“We always speak about being relentless and when you get given a sniff against a team like Australia you’ve got to take it,” said the skipper.

“It’s disappointing that we weren’t able to finish off the game. But we can also take whatever confidence there is from the fact that we were able to get them into that position.”

Despite setting a below-par total of 222, South Africa headed into the innings break with momentum on their side.

Rattled early

South Africa carried that momentum well with a wicket off the second legal delivery of the innings. 

Jansen rattled David Warner’s (zero off two) stumps after the former dragged a wide delivery onto his wickets. 

Skipper Mitchell Marsh (17 off 15) and opener Travis Head (33 off 28) thumped the ball all around Bloemfontein to quickly take the score to 38 for one in the fifth over.

Proteas Australia

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne congratulates a teammate after they defeated South Africa in the first One Day International at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein 7 on September 2023. (Photo: Charle Lombard / Gallo Images)

Before Marsh was dismissed by an incredible ball by Kagiso Rabada that swung towards leg stump but moved away as soon as it pitched on a good length. It caught the skipper’s edge before De Kock did the rest.

Two balls later Green was back in the sheds after a nasty blow to the helmet off a menacing Rabada bouncer.

Josh Inglis (one off five) came in at No 5 and like Warner dragged on a Rabada delivery onto his stumps.

Ngidi got rid of Head through a brilliant directed bouncer that was well taken by Rabada at short fine leg.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Clinical Australia whitewash rusty Proteas in T20I series

Australia looked in trouble at 56 for four after 8.4 overs at that stage.

It soon got worse as first ball into the attack Coetzee tore Carey’s (three off nine) middle stump out of the ground from a fast and ferocious delivery. 

In his next over, Coetzee rushed Stoinis (17 off 10) with a well-directed bouncer which was comfortably caught by Klaasen at mid-wicket as Australia were suddenly 93 for six in 14 overs.

Maharaj then cleaned up Abbott (nine off 11) with a ball that turned sideways, leaving the hosts needing 110 runs to win with only three wickets in hand.

Concussion sub

At that stage Australia were 113 for seven in the 17th over with hope of victory slowly fading.

But Labuschagne, along with Agar, continued playing attacking strokes to tick the scoreboard along quickly.

Despite being seven down, Australia continued to go at more than seven runs to the over, sitting on 128 for seven after 18 overs and then 156 for seven after 23 overs.

South Africa tightened up the bowling after that, only conceding another boundary in the 37th over, but Australia had got off to a fast enough start to cruise their way to the target.

Labuschagne brought up his 50 off 47 balls, his seventh in the format.

Agar – who struck three fours and one six – crushed a short delivery by Markram for four in the 42nd over to bring an end to a thrilling match. 

The sides next face off on Saturday for the second of five ODIs. The Proteas are still seeking redemption after being thrashed 3-0 in the T20Is in Durban. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz