Australia is one loss away from suffering a series whitewash after a humbling six–wicket loss to South Africa in Sunday’s fourth One Day International in Port Elizabeth.
To compound the misery, wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, along with South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi have been charged with a breach of conduct following a run–in during the match.
Both have been cited by the International Cricket Council following an altercation.
Wade and Shamsi had to be spoken to by the umpires after the Australian wicketkeeper appeared to clip the South African with his elbow as he scampered for a single during the tourists’ innings.
The pair had been in a verbal discussion in Shamsi’s previous over after Wade mistimed a sweep shot off the left-arm chinaman bowler.
Wade’s combative nature has not gone unnoticed during Australia’s disastrous tour of South Africa but he believes it’s all part of the competitive atmosphere of international cricket.
“International cricket’s hard work, everyone’s going out and going their hardest,” Wade said.
“We had a crack the other night and they came back at us today, that’s fair.
“I enjoy that side of the game. It got me in the contest straight away.”
An outcome from the charge is expected to be released Monday.
South Africa showed a second–string bowling attack mattered little at St George’s Park as they defeated Australia by six wickets, reaching a victory target of 168 with 14 and a half overs to spare.
Australia would have felt confident of posting a big score when Steve Smith won the toss and chose to bat first against a Proteas’ lineup without new-ball pair Dale Steyn and Kogisa Rabada as well as leg-spinner Imran Tahir.
Less than 37 overs later Australia had been dismissed for a mere 167 with Kyle Abbott (4-40) and Tabraiz Shamsi (3-36) ripping through the tourists’ batting lineup in their first appearances of the series.
The third bowler to come into the Proteas’ lineup, Aaron Phangiso, also chipped in with the final two wickets as South Africa’s makeshift attack put Australia’s inexperienced bowlers to shame.
Only Mitchell Marsh (50) and Matthew Wade (52) showed any resistance for the tourists, who will create history as statistically the worst performing Australian team in a two-team ODI series if they lose at Cape Town.
No Australian team has ever lost five matches in an ODI series involving just them and another nation.
The only other time Australia have lost four matches during an ODI tour of South Africa was an eight-match campaign in 1994 which finished drawn at 4-all.
Australia’s innings brought up two of their familiar batting failings in recent times – the moving ball and spin.
Abbott made an instant impression as he and new-ball partner Dwaine Pretorius (1-33) found some early movement to reduce Australia to 3-12 inside four overs.
Left-arm spinner Shamsi then picked up a trio of LBWs including the wickets of Steve Smith (21) and Travis Head (0) in the same over on his way to career-best figures of 3-36 off 10.
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) October 9, 2016
Phangiso then wrapped up the innings with two wickets in four deliveries to finish with 2-17.
One of Australia’s newcomers on this tour, Chris Tremain (2-48), started well with the ball.
The Victorian picked up the wickets of Hashim Amla (4) and Quinton de Kock (18) as Australia were forced to bowl seven overs before the break due to the brevity of their innings.
When the match resumed Proteas’ captain Faf du Plessis was the rock around the South Africans’ run chase.
He made 69 as the hosts cruised to their victory target with a minimum of fuss, giving them the chance of a series whitewash when the two teams meet in the final ODI in three days, at Newlands in Cape Town.
Meanwhile despite having Australia 4-0 down in the series, South Africa fast bowler Kyle Abbott said he’s not surprised by the amount of chat that is coming from their opponents.
He said that is how Australia have always played their cricket and the Proteas expect no different despite the way results have gone.
“When they’re on top you obviously get it from them,” Abbott said.
“But we knew that when they’re down they’re going to turn it up a gear. No, not surprised.”