Australia lead the five-match ODI series against South Africa after a 32 run victory on Friday in the first game in Perth. The Proteas won the toss but it was the hosts who took an early ascendancy. Openers David Warner and Aaron Finch put on 94 from 86 balls.
That was when Vernon Philander joined the party. The South African quick dismissed Warner (46) and Finch (35) in the space of three deliveries. Michael Clarke added 11 before Dale Steyn had him caught behind by Quinton De Kock. Shane Watson was then caught by Morne Morkel off Imran Tahir (1/54) for 13 before Philander clean-bowled Mitchell Marsh (10) to leave the hosts struggling on 144/5.
However George Bailey and Matthew Wade led the fightback adding 92 for the sixth wicket before Bailey was caught by Faf Du Plessis off Steyn (2/62) for a whirlwind 70 from 75. The momentum was now with the Baggy Greens. Philander (4/45) had Wade caught by Rilee Rossouw for 35 before Glenn Maxwell’s 23-ball 29 was ended when Morkel (1/56) had him caught by Du Plessis. Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Coulter-Nile threw caution to the win at the death as the home side finished on 300/8.
In reply the visitors were under pressure from the get-go with De Kock caught behind by Wade off Johnson for 2. Hashim Amla was dismissed in similar fashion for 8 leaving the South Africans on 18/2. Farhaan Behardien was next to go for 20 when Coulter-Nile had him caught by Finch.
Du Plessis fell for 31 when he was caught by Marsh off Johnson (2/38). AB De Villiers and David Miller led the recovery for the away side with a superb 126-run stand for the fifth wicket. Miller’s 65-run effort was ended when he was caught by Marsh off Coulter-Nile and two balls later the Aussie fast bowler struck again removing Ryan McLaren for a duck after edging to Wade.
It all unravelled from there. Philander was caught by Wade off Josh Hazlewood (1/50), De Villiers was run out for the innings top score of 80 and Coulter-Nile (4/48) had Steyn caught by the keeper as the Proteas fell from 202/4 to 222/9. Morkel and Tahir put up fierce resistance with an annoying 46-run last wicket stand but it was ended when Tahir was out caught Warner, bowled Maxwell (1/32) for 22.
Morkel was also on 22 as Australia ran out winners by 32 runs at the WACA. The second ODI takes place at the same venue on Sunday.