Australia 286-7 (M Hussey 83no, Haddin 53, Steyn 2-45) v
First One Day International, Kingsmead, Durban
By John Pennington
Half-centuries from Brad Haddin and Mike Hussey guided Australia to 286 for seven after two run outs and tight South African bowling threatened to derail them in the first One Day International in Durban.
Haddin, involved in the calamitous run outs that saw David Hussey (18) and himself depart within eight balls of one another, hit 53 in 60 balls while Hussey top scored with an unbeaten 83 which included three fours and two big sixes in the final five overs.
Australia won the toss and chose to bat first but were quickly under pressure when Michael Clarke (1) drove at a wide delivery from Makhaya Ntini, edging to JP Duminy at second slip.
However, Haddin and Ricky Ponting (37) released the pressure with a quickfire half-century partnership with Ponting looking in superb nick, stroking five fours before he was undone by the brothers Morkel. Morne induced him to drive in the air and brother Albie took a tumbling catch over his head as he ran back from mid-on.
Haddin was not particularly fluent, but an Albie Morkel free hit was thumped over long-on for six and there were more boundaries straight down the ground as he trusted his eye, stepping away from the stumps and playing through the line of the delivery.
Nevertheless, it looked ominous for the South Africans before they were gifted the wickets of Hussey and Haddin. Hussey was first to go when Haddin failed to respond to his call for a single behind square and with both men at the same end, AB de Villiers completed the simple task of lobbing the ball back to bowler Albie Morkel.
Incredibly, little more than five minutes later, two batsmen were again at the same end, this time Mike Hussey calling for two and then changing his mind leaving Haddin stranded; Morkel the fielder and Mark Boucher the man with all the time in the world to take off the bails.
Hussey was able to put the mishap to the back of his mind, and despite himself being short of form and having to deal with a superb spell of nought for 38 in ten overs from Johan Botha, constructed a busy innings which contained six fours and two sixes in all and plenty of assured running between the crease.
He shared a half-century stand with Callum Ferguson, who unleashed one glorious drive over the covers off of Duminy, called on to bowl four overs with both Morkels proving expensive, before the express pace of Dale Steyn saw him slice an attempted pull to Johan Botha at third man.
Ferguson made 25 in 44 balls but Australia, driven by Hussey and a punchy innings of 38 from James Hopes, kept the scoreboard ticking over before taking their batting Power Play in the final five overs of the innings.
Hopes fell three balls into it when he flicked Morne Morkel to Steyn at short fine leg and Steyn grabbed his second wicket when Mitchell Johnson feathered an edge to wicket-keeper Boucher for one.
Thereafter, Hussey and Nathan Hauritz, who closed on 20 not out from 11 balls, ensured that some of South Africa's good early work was undone with some crisp hitting as they added 43 in 20 balls for the eighth wicket.
Steyn returned two for 45 and Morne Morkel two for 61.
Ben Laughlin was handed an ODI debut for Australia as South African captain Graeme Smith made his comeback from injury.
The Test series between the two sides went Australia's way (2-1) before South Africa won the Twenty20 International series (2-0).
© Cricket World 2009