Australia 286-7 (M Hussey 83no, Haddin 53, Steyn 2-45) beat
South Africa 145 (Smith 52, Hauritz 4-29) by 141 runs
First One Day International, Kingsmead, Durban
By John Pennington
Australia ensured that Ricky Ponting's record 178th One Day International in charge of his country was successful as they took a 1-0 lead over South Africa with a comprehensive 141-run win in Durban.
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 before the hosts were bowled out for 145 with Nathan Hauritz picking up four for 29.
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 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.
South Africa's innings then followed a very similar pattern to Australia but they did not have wickets in hand when their own power-hitting left-hander, Albie Morkel, came to the crease and even he was unable to score at seven an over, sharply stumped by Brad Haddin for 14 as Hauritz continued his superb game with four wickets.
Hashim Amla (17) was first to go, walking when he feathered Nathan Bracken to Haddin shortly after clipping the same bowler for a boundary through the leg-side.
Graeme Smith (52) and Herschelle Gibbs (33) then took the attack to Australia, Smith showing no discomfort on returning to the same ground where Johnson broke his finger in the Test match and Gibbs looking in something like his best form.
Gibbs smacked a couple of boundaries over cover in his own dismissive fashion while Smith imperiously shovelled balls over midwicket before Gibbs flashed at a Hopes wide ball, steering the ball straight to Clarke at point.
From 91 for one, South Africa then collapsed to 125 for six and from there there was no way back.
AB de Villiers (2) was sent on his way, trapped in front by Johnson, unlucky as it turned out as he had inside edged the ball before Hauritz got the big wicket of Smith, caught and bowled via a leading edge.
Hauritz and Hopes bowled beautifully in the middle overs, piling on the pressure and chipping in with the wickets that turned the game. Boucher never settled before he paddle swept Hauritz straight up in the air to be taken by Haddin for a six-ball duck and even Duminy looked uncomfortable, mis-timing a pull and beign caught by Johnson at mid-off off of Hopes for 15.
Botha (8), Morne Morkel (2) and Steyn (1) offered little resistance as Australia cantered to victory; after Smith and Gibbs added 74 in 74 balls, South Africa lost nine wickets for 54 runs.
Johnson and Hopes both finished with two for 24; the two teams meet again at SuperSport Park on Sunday (5th April).
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