Morkel's late burst secures 2-1 lead
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:DA Warner, HH Gibbs, J Botha, JA Morkel, JH Kallis
Event:South Africa in Australia 2008/09

DateLine: 23rd January 2009


Morkel and the batting powerplay put laid to the plans of Ricky Ponting for the second time in the series. Botha realising his folly for calling the powerplay late in the innings in the previous encounter this time called it as soon as Morkel entered the batting crease. Till then the match was firmly in Ponting's grasp as South Africa once again looked to press the self-destruction button. Australia's problem was that whereas Warner had moved at top speed, the rest of the order settled for a strolling pace. Marsh contributed 43 from 63 balls and James Hopes and David Hussey made scores in the 30s but failed to move things quickly, and it was a strong fightback from South Africa, who had initially been looking at a potential 300-plus chase. They were led admirably by their captain Johan Botha, who collected 3 for 32 and was easily the most difficult man to get away. He picked up the crucial wicket of Ricky Ponting and also removed Marsh and Brad Haddin. Fittingly, it was Botha who later struck the winning boundary, and confirmed the 2-1 advantage for a team that entered the series as the underdogs.


David Warner gave Australia a blazing start, as he smashed the South African pacers to all parts of the park. Warner's 69 from 60 balls was an impressive way to mark his first international at his home ground. After his 89 on Twenty20 international debut, Warner had been unable to repeat the effort in his next two games for Australia. At the familiar SCG, he struck the ball cleanly from the outset and was equally strong all round the wicket. He was so dominant that when the half-century partnership came up he had made 43 compared to Marsh's 6 and his fifty came from just 41 deliveries while Marsh was less fluent. But post-Warner's exit it was all slow and steady, and South Africa fought their way back into the match.


After removing Warner, the South African bowling attack gathered itself and found their radar. Botha bowled well by varying his pace and bowling to his field and his most valuable strike came when he picked up Ricky Ponting, who had raced to 29 from 27 balls and looked in ominous touch. Marsh missed a sweep and was sharply stumped with his toe on the line. The run-out of Michael Hussey for also hurt Australia's cause and Botha scalped Brad Haddin. James Hopes and David Hussey tried to revive things towards the end but Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini bowled well at the death and finished with two wickets each. The spinners Botha and JP Duminy exerted a good amount of control over the Australian batting line-up and did not let them get away.


Herschelle Gibbs got South Africa away to a flying start in their chase of 270 as he was making Australia pay for dropping him in the first over, when he drove at Tait and was spilled by David Hussey diving forward at backward point even before he had opened his account. It was the second grassed chance in the opening over, after Ricky Ponting put down a simple chance at second slip off Hashim Amla. Australia were pleased the Amla miss wasn't too costly as he was run-out for 13 in a horrible mix-up with Gibbs. Kallis took a while to get going but there was a moment of enjoyment early in his innings when he became the eighth man and the first South African to reach 10,000 ODI runs. Gibbs raced to his fifty of 36 balls as he struck some very powerful blows and scattered the field around making Ponting delay taking his powerplay. It looked like he was in for a big score when Johnson had him edging to slip where Michael Hussey took the grab. It was more a bad shot from Gibbs than anything as he guided an innocuous ball straight to Hussey, almost as if he was unaware a slip was in place and was looking for runs to third man. In the 22nd over, Nathan Bracken picked up AB de Villiers when he slashed at ball angled across him and edged to slip.


Kallis compiled a calm 60 from 72 balls and took few risks but when he edged Tait behind, South Africa were in trouble at 5 for 163. More danger was to come when Neil McKenzie was run out attempting a second and was caught short by a brilliantly quick release from David Warner in the outfield. Australia looked like getting home when Morkel strode in and Botha without any delay called for the final powerplay. Morkel then proceeded to destroy Australia in the dying stages for the second time as both he and the batting powerplay played havoc on the Australian bowlers. Morkel fell five short of the target of 270 when he skied Nathan Hauritz to long-on but his 40 from 22 balls had done the job and had already slammed Hauritz for a six and a pair of fours over midwicket in the same over. They were so productive that they got home with 21 balls to spare, despite a superb return of 1 for 29 from nine overs for Nathan Bracken. None of his bowling colleagues had the same effect - Mitchell Johnson was particularly expensive in his first match back with 1 for 71 from nine - and it was a surprisingly one-sided result in the end after Australia had South Africa worried at 5 for 163.


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