South African fans were entertained again while watching the third ODI against Australia in Sydney on Friday 23 January 2009. Mr. Morkel's merciless onslaught saved the game for the visitors while he treated all and sundry to another batting exhibition.
Morkel hammered 40 runs off 22 balls before he was well caught at deep mid-off by James Hopes off the bowling of Hauritz with South Africa needing just five runs to win.
Australia must have thought they could take the lead in the 5-match ODI series after taking the wickets of Herschelle Gibbs (64 off 52), AB de Villiers (5 off 4), JP Duminy (9 off 23) and Jacques Kallis (60 off 72 balls) within the space of only 43 runs in 10 overs.
Albie definitely had other ideas and blasted South Africa to within reach of victory in fine style.
Australia's top order did well as Marsh (43 off 63) and Warner (69 off 60) got off to a good start after Ricky Ponting elected to bat. Their 114 run opening partnership looked solid enough to get Australia over the 300 mark for the first time in the series.
Unfortunately their hard work was undone by a poor performance from the middle order.
Ponting (29 off 27), David Hussey (36 off 44), and James Hopes (33 off 56) were the only other batsmen to score more than 20 runs as Johan Botha (10 overs, 3 wickets for 32 runs) put the brakes on Australia.
The hosts were dismissed for 269 in the last over and it was certainly a defendable score. As we have seen in the rest of this tour the Proteas seemed to be able to chase down any score so nobody was willing to count them out just yet.
The tourists got off to a shaky start after Hashim Amla was comically run out by James Hopes and Dave Warner for 13 off 19 in the 6th over with the score on 29. Gibbs and Kallis then got stuck in as Gibbs returned to form just in the nick of time to save his team from what could have been a very embarrassing performance.
Gibbs stunned the Australian attack with his flair and natural ability while Kallis was his usual stable self allowing Gibbs to attack at will.
South Africa then produced a mini-collapse of their own until formidable left-hander from Pretoria walked to the crease. The score was 209 for 6 in the 40th over. It looked like Australia had clawed themselves back into the game and were poised to seal the deal.
By the time Australia's 33-minute nightmare was over and Albie had to walk back to the dressing room the Proteas needed five runs off the last four overs. Botha faced the formidable pace of Tait since the batsmen had crossed, but Tait offered a reprieve as he bowled a wide off his third delivery.
The next ball was dispatched to the boundary and South Africa won the match by three wickets with as many overs and two balls to spare.
Albie Morkel was named man-of-the-match. South Africa took a 2-1 lead in the 5-match Commonwealth Bank ODI series. The next match will be another day/ night in Adelaide on Monday.
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