Wednesday, 5 August,Chennai: Openers Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns struck sedate half centuries as Australia ‘A’ cantered to a nine-wicket victory over South Africa ‘A’ in the first tri-series cricket match here today.
Hosts India ‘A’ is the other team in the tournament.
Asked to bowl after the coin landed in favour of Dean Elgar, the Australians bowled out the opposition for 171 in 48.4 overs, and chased down the target with as many as 19 overs to spare at the Chidambaram Stadium.
Right-arm pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile was the best Australian bowler, returning impressive figures of 3/31 in 10 economical overs.
When their time to bat came, Khawaja made 73 off 82 balls while his partner at the top of the order, Burns, remained unbeaten on a 91-ball composed 63. Khawaja struck nine fours while Burns found the fence six times and cleared it once.
One-down batsman Travis Head had raced away to 27 off 20 balls with the help of four boundaries and a six when the winning run was hit in the last ball of the 31st over.
Chasing a rather modest total, Khawaja and Burns set the ball rolling with a 142-run opening-wicket partnership and by the time the former got out to Hardus Viljoen, victory was within striking distance of the Aussies.
Pacer Viljoen was the only South African bowler to taste success with the ball, though it did not make any difference to the outcome of the match.
Earlier, the Proteas were off to a solid start with Reeza Hendricks (43) and captain Dean Elgar (28) putting on 73 runs in 15 overs.
Elgar got out after facing 49 balls but it was the dismissal of Theunis de Bruyn, batting at number three, that triggered a collapse from where South Africa ‘A’ could never recover.
Besides Coulter-Nile, Ashton Agar, James Pattinson and Sean Abbott bagged two wickets apiece to tame the South African batsmen.
Young left-arm spinner Agar, especially, was very impressive, taking the wicket of top-scorer Reeza Hendricks and Beuran Hendricks while conceding a measly 26 runs in his 10 overs.