South Africa stages outstanding comeback

Left-arm fast bowler Marco Jansen led South Africa to a thrilling series victory against Australia in the fifth one-day international (ODI) at the Wanderers Stadium. Jansen’s incredible performance saw him dismiss the first five Australian batsmen, limiting them to just 193 runs in response to South Africa’s formidable total of 315 for nine.

This victory marks a turnaround for South Africa, who lost the first two matches of the series. Captain Temba Bavuma praised his team’s character, highlighting the positive momentum as they look ahead to the World Cup in India next month.

Bavuma stated, “There is a lot of confidence we can take from this series. We showed our ability to come back when our backs were against the wall. We will head to India in the best possible state.”

South Africa’s triumph in the final three matches was marked by their dominance, with each victory secured by more than 100 runs. Australian captain Mitchell Marsh admitted, “We were outplayed in the last three games.” However, he remained optimistic about the upcoming challenges, emphasizing a one-day game in India on Friday and the impending World Cup.

Notably, several key players, including regular captain Pat Cummins, fast bowler Mitchell Starc, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, and star batsman Steve Smith, will join the Australian squad for a pre-World Cup series against India, commencing in Mohali on Friday.

Marsh’s decision to bowl first in the only day game of the series appeared justified as his bowlers initially troubled South Africa, reducing them to 103 for four in the 24th over. The pitch offered significant sideways movement and bounce to the seamers. However, South Africa’s Aiden Markram (93) and David Miller (63) turned the tide, forming a crucial 109-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Lower-order batsmen Jansen and Andile Phehlukwayo displayed powerful hitting, propelling South Africa’s total past the 300-run mark.

Jansen, the standout performer, smashed three sixes en route to scoring 47 off just 29 balls, while Phehlukwayo cleared the boundary four times in his unbeaten 39 off 19 deliveries.

Although Marsh and David Warner provided a fiery start for Australia, with 34 runs off the first three overs, Jansen’s brilliance came to the fore. He dismissed Warner and Inglis in a double-wicket maiden over. Marsh (71) and Marnus Labuschagne (44) attempted to stabilize the innings with a 90-run partnership for the third wicket. However, Jansen’s exceptional bowling scalped both set batsmen, along with Alex Carey, in a rapid burst of three wickets off just seven balls, decisively shifting the momentum in South Africa’s favor.

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