The first two ODIs of the five match series between Australia and South Africa turned out to be reviting. Both the teams played competitive cricket on the real fast WACA wicket. In the first ODI, George Bailey’s late burst took Australia to 300. In reply, South Africa lost early wickets but the partnership between David Miller and AB de Villiers raised some hopes of their winning but unfortunately, they fell 32 short of the target. 

In the 2nd ODI, lanky pacer Morne Morkel ripped apart the Australian batting as they got bundled out for 154 runs. In reply, Josh Hazlewood took 5 wickets and almost took Australia to an unlikely victory, but South Africa won the match by 3 wickets. Exciting battle that was! But for now, with all said and done, focus is shifted towards the third ODI which will be played on November 19. 

As we witnessed in the 1st ODI that Australia’s batting line-up is deep and capable of scoring big totals, but their collapse in the second ODI would have raised some questions about their consistency. David Warner and Aaron Finch have got off to starts but haven’t been able to convert them into big ones. Shane Watson has failed in both his outings and with Michael Clarke out of the series, he’ll have to rise to the occasion and the bind the innings together which will allow the stand-in captain George Bailey and Steven Smith to play aggressive cricket. 

In bowling, Australia have rested Mitchell Johnson for the remaining ODIs in order to keep him fresh for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. It is expected that Pat Cummins will resume his ODI career tomorrow and hopefully he’ll perform well to make a case for himself at the World Cup 2015. James Faulkner also returns to the squad and he’ll most probably take the place of Glenn Maxwell in the squad. Josh Hazlewood will also like to continue from where he left in the second ODI. 

On the other hand, South Africa were very much rusty in the 1st ODI as they dropped four catches and missed a run-out. Their top-order batters played some irresponsible shots which left AB de Villiers and David Miller a huge task to complete. But in the second ODI, de Villiers’ master move to open the bowling with Morne Morkel paid off as the South African bowlers made easy of Australian batsmen and sealed the deal for their team. 

In batting, it is clear that South Africans are clearly missing the services of JP Duminy in the middle-order and with too much pressure on AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock will have to play very well if South Africa are to make a big total. David Miller along with Farhaan Behardien will hold the key to smash it around in the slog overs. 

Their bowling attack is looking pretty settled and they will look to keep it simple like they did in the first two ODIs. 

Probable Playing XI For Australia:

David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, George Bailey, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Xavier Doherty

Probable Playing XI For South Africa:

Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf Du Plessis, AB de Villiers, David Miller, Farhaan Behardien, Ryan McLaren, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir

Date: Novmeber 19th, 2014

Time (IST): 08:50 am 

Venue: Canberra

Prediction: Canberra pitch is traditionally a flat one with team winning the toss will fancy batting first and score more than 300. In this respect, I think Australia will go the distance because of the explosive batting they possess. 

Image Courtesy: espncricinfo