SA v AUS 2nd ODI Preview: Australia's imbalance and Proteas' measured bowling tilt scales in favour of hosts
Australia have got their balance wrong. In their current XI, it seems that they are a batsman short as well as a bowler short. Unless they rectify that, South Africa are expected to win.
Venue - Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein
Start time - 11:00 AM GMT | 01:00 PM LOCAL
Head to Head record in ODIs - South Africa: 49 Australia: 48 Tied: 3
Weather - Sunny, 28°C, Precipitation: 0%, Humidity: 41%, Wind: 14 km/h
Not a high-scoring venue
The pitch in the first ODI at the Boland Park in Paarl was not the typical white-ball wicket and the ball was stopping a bit in the surface. This game will be played at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein where a similar strip is expected.
The average score batting first in ODIs here is 238 and batting second is 193. It suggests that this game might not be a very high-scoring affair either. However, the highest ODI total recorded at this ground is 399 which was scored by England on their tour of 2015-2016.
The toss is not expected to be that big a factor here with that team batting first winning 13 games while the team batting second having won 15 of the total 30 ODIs played at this venue.
Australia's troubles against spin
It was the pace bowlers who took six of the 10 Australian wickets to fall in the first ODI. But it was the spinners who had the biggest impact. They tied up the Australian middle order, particularly Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, who are not able to get the boundaries going. In fact, Smith batted for 24 overs at one point without a boundary.
The inclusion of Test specialist Keshav Maharaj has helped him form an impressive combination with left-arm leg spinner Tabraiz Shamsi. The two shared three wickets between them while giving away just 93 runs for their combined effort of 20 overs at under five. This did not allow Australia momentum through the middle and once a couple of wickets fell, they tried to go hard under scorecard pressure and perished in the process.
Ngidi steps up in Rabada's absence
Lungi Ngidi, who had a mixed T20I series, impressed the most in the series opener. Heinrich Klaasen's century got South Africa to a good score of 291 but Australia were pretty much in the game at one point and were looking good to chase the total down.
Had it not been for Ngidi's bowling effort, Australia might have gone to win the match. The pacer ended with magical figures of 8-30-3 and conceded runs at just 3.75. He was well complemented by fellow pace bowlers Andile Phehlukwayo and Anrich Nortje who also conceded runs at less than 6 RPO.
But it was Ngidi's three key wickets of openers David Warner and Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh which swung the pendulum in South Africa's favour. It was all the more heartening that the youngster took on the bowling leadership role in the absence of Kagiso Rabada who has been ruled out of this series and the one against India due to a groin strain.
Visitors need a better 5th bowling option
Glenn Maxwell's unavailability has meant that Australia are struggling to find their balance. In Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, they have a solid top 4 but they are followed by the likes of Mitchell Marsh and D'Arcy Short who are not the most comfortable batting in the middle order.
Australia did not play the fifth specialist bowler in the 1st ODI with Marsh and Short sharing the quota of the fifth bowler and conceded 70 runs. This took the pressure off the South African batsmen.
Matthew Wade is a better middle order batsman but it would be tough for Australia to include him. Either Wade replaces D'Arcy Short and Kane Richardson or Jhye Richardson replaces Mitchell Marsh. They can also look at bringing in Ashton Agar in place of Hazlewood with the pitch expected to be slow. If Australia want to hold onto one of their two all-rounders, Agar is likely to come into the picture.
Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:
South Africa - Quinton de Kock (c & wk), Janneman Malan, Temba Bavuma, Kyle Verreyenne, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj
Australia - Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey (wk), D'arcy Short, Mitchell Marsh, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa
This is where you can catch all the live action across the globe:
Australia: Fox Sports
South Africa: SuperSport
India & Subcontinent: Sony Network
Canada: ATN Cricket Plus (Asian Television Network), CBN
USA: Willow TV, Hotstar
Malaysia: Astro Cricket HD
Middle East and North Africa (MENA): OSN Sports Cricket HD
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