Australia to play the catch up game
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 13th April 2009
One more victory and South Africa will finish on a high. They took a 2-1 lead in Cape Town and can wrap up the ODI series with a win in Port Elizabeth. However, after such an evenly-fought few months it might be fitting to be locked at 2-2 heading to the final match at the Wanderers, where the two sides rewrote the limited-overs record books three years ago.
Australia must win the day game in Port Elizabeth to keep alive their hopes of a series win and of regaining the No. 1 ODI ranking that began a couple of weeks ago in South African hands and has alternated through the series. After Australia's batsmen failed in Centurion and their bowlers struggled to do a containing job at Newlands, they need to find a satisfying balance in Port Elizabeth. Specifically, they need to find a fast bowler who can adequately support Mitchell Johnson and their top order must not again leave all the work up to the young No. 6 Callum Ferguson.
AB de Villiers has been a thorn in Australia's side right through the summer, since the first Test in Perth, and nothing has changed in the shorter format. South Africa's leading scorer so far this series, de Villiers made a composed 80 in the victory in Cape Town.
Nathan Bracken has had two poor one-day internationals in a row. He has slipped down to fifth on the ICC ODI bowling rankings and his series consists of two wickets at 58.50 with an economy rate of 5.85. Bracken's experience and craftiness make it hard to believe his lean run will continue and with Johnson already in form, one dangerous spell from Bracken could be enough for Australia to turn their series around.
Most teams prefer not to change a winning side and South Africa's strong victories in the previous two games could mean the same XI is used in Port Elizabeth. Roelof van der Merwe certainly justified his position with three wickets in Cape Town and the pace attack looks strong despite spin doing all the damage at Newlands. Makhaya Ntini, Hashim Amla, Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Morne Morkel missed out in Cape Town and they should again prepare for a day of spectating on Monday.
Australia have added the Victorian Shane Harwood to their squad for this match, calling him over from the Rajasthan Royals' camp and he may edge out Ben Laughlin in the starting line-up. Harwood, 35, played Australia's two Twenty20 internationals late last month in South Africa before being sent home. Brett Lee and Stuart Clark will both be in South Africa when the match is played but neither will come into contention. Lee is training there with his IPL side and doesn't officially join the ODI squad until the series in the UAE, while Clark will have only just arrived. Clark will meet the squad in Johannesburg ahead of Friday's fifth and final one-day international.
South Africa squad
: Graeme Smith (capt), Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Mark Boucher (wk), Roelof van der Merwe, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Johan Botha, Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell, Makhaya Ntini.
: Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin (wk), Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Callum Ferguson, Marcus North, James Hopes, Cameron White, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Stuart Clark, Nathan Bracken, Shane Harwood, Ben Laughlin