Australia have lost their one-day international series to South Africa after paceman Lungi Ngidi tore through the tourists’ batting in Bloemfontein.
The Proteas reached their target of 272 with nine balls to spare, winning by six wickets to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Muscular quick Ngidi snared career-best figures of 6-58, which inlcuded the scalps of David Warner, Steve Smith and South Africa-born Marnus Labuschagne, who made a golden duck in front of family who had travelled several hours to watch him bat.
D’Arcy Short and Aaron Finch provided some resistance, equal top-scoring with 69, but the tourists lacked someone who could take the innings deeper.
Newcomer Janneman Malan played that role for the Proteas, scoring an emphatic 129 and partnering with big-hitting finisher David Miller (37 not out) to steer South Africa to their first series victory in any format in 12 months.
Australia will still take positives from the tour given they won the preceding T20 series in a year focused on October’s T20 World Cup.
But Finch’s men will be aware they have plenty of work to do in the 50-over format after being outmatched by an inexperienced Proteas outfit missing Faf du Plessis, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen and Kagiso Rabada.
The dead-rubber series finale will be played on Saturday in Potchefstroom.
1️⃣ A series clinching victory ✅
2️⃣ 16th ODI win at the Mangaung Oval✅
And now for the big one:
3️⃣ 50th win for South Africa in ODI’s against Australia.
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 4, 2020
“It’s a pretty flat dressing room at the moment,” leg-spinner Adam Zampa said.
“We definitely had opportunities to win that game. I thought we started really well with the bat but six for 49 at the end probably doesn’t help us get the total that we were really looking for.”
For the third time in five matches, Mitchell Starc clean-bowled South African captain and talisman Quinton de Kock in the first over.
But it was otherwise a frustrating night in the field for the tourists with Pat Cummins, in particular, unable to catch a break.
Australia’s marquee quick twice had wickets overturned – the first when Jon-Jon Smuts was caught behind off what turned out to be a front-foot no ball and the second when Heinrich Klaasen was given out while fending off a vicious bouncer.
Klaasen immediately reviewed the decision and replays revealed the ball had ricocheted off his helmet rather than his bat.
Zampa (2-48) accounted for Smuts (41) and Klaasen (51) but Ashton Agar, picked ahead of Josh Hazlewood in a surprise decision, went wicketless.
“The dew was quite a big factor towards the end of the night,” Zampa said.
“The ball got quite wet so it took out the slower balls and the reverse swing unfortunately.”
Short earlier rewarded the selectors’ faith with a maiden half-century after being picked ahead of Matthew Wade and promoted to No.5.
The left-hander was lucky to survive after twice being dropped but otherwise did enough to suggest he could be part of the answer to Australia’s middle-order dilemma.
Ngidi turned the match and found himself on a hat-trick after Labuschagne slashed at a short delivery and was caught at point.
The 23-year-old celebrated his 50th ODI wicket before cleaning up the tail.