Veteran South African paceman Dale Steyn says Australia should not feel embarrassed by their batting flop in Sunday’s ODI clash in Perth.
Australia crashed to 6-66 before being bowled out for 152 in the opening ODI match of the series.
South Africa won by six wickets with 20.4 overs to spare in a fizzer of a match, but Steyn was forgiving when asked after Sunday’s win to assess Australia’s inept batting display.
“No, I don’t think they need to be too embarrassed by it,” Steyn said.
“I think we out-bowled them. I don’t think they bowled as well as they potentially could have. That was the difference.
“I think our bowlers were relentless with their lines and lengths and made it extremely difficult to score.”
Australia have lost 17 of their past 19 ODIs – a worrying trend with less than seven months until the 2019 World Cup in England.
Batting collapses have become Australia’s primary concern, with skipper Aaron Finch admitting his players are feeling some self-doubt after the disappointing run of results.
“You’d say that guys are probably at times doubting themselves,” Finch said.
“And when you’re 3-8, you probably have to go and play a different style of one-day cricket than what you map out in your head about how you think the game will unfold.
“When guys are not performing as well as they can do, there’s always going to be a bit of doubt.
Despite Finch’s admission, 35-year-old Steyn still rates Australia’s batting line-up highly, despite Sunday’s collapse.
The home side were 3-8 in the sixth over, with Alex Carey (33) and Nathan Coulter-Nile (34) the only Australian players to make it past 16.
“I think they bat deep,” Steyn said. “They bat all the way down to Nathan Coulter-Nile. He can really bat.
“Lungi [Ngidi] has been going hot since the IPL [Indian Premier League]. KG [Kagiso Rabada] has been a fantastic competitor for the last couple of years.
“And Imran Tahir is arguably the best white-ball spinner in the world.”
Australia will be aiming to rebound in Friday’s clash with South Africa at Adelaide Oval, with Finch confident that wins are just around the corner.
“It will turn. The way that we’re training, believe me, the wheel will turn. And it will happen quickly,” Finch said.