Australia scripted a thrilling victory in
the first ODI against South Africa in Bloemfontein thanks to a match-saving
half-century from Marnus Labuschagne in the run chase. Coming in as a
concussion substitute for Cameron Green, Labuschagne rescued Australia from
113/7 chasing 223, putting on a century stand with Ashton Agar to trump Temba
Bavuma’s superlative one man show in the first innings for the Proteas.
The South African skipper produced a
sensational solo effort, scoring his third ODI century in six matches and
adding more than half his side’s runs to lead the hosts to a combative total on
a sluggish surface at the Mangaung Oval. The opener had to dig in after a slow
start that saw the hosts add just 25 runs in the powerplay to go along with the
wicket of Quinton de Kock.
To make matters worse, Rassie van der
Dussen was run out cheaply, while Markram, Klaasen, and Miller departed in
quick succession, leaving South Africa reeling at 100/5 at the halfway mark.
Marco Jansen offered some resistance to put on a half-century stand with the
opener but was castled by Josh Hazlewood for 32.
Bavuma was on 64 when Jansen departed but
would go on to add 50 more runs alongside the tail-enders to usher South Africa
to a competitive score. The skipper farmed the strike expertly and even added
37 runs for the final wicket alongside Lungi Ngidi, carrying his bat through
the innings to lift the Proteas to 222.
In reply, Australia lost David Warner off
the second ball of the chase, with the opener chopping one on against Jansen.
Mitchell Marsh and Travis Head followed that up with a flurry of boundaries,
but South Africa hit back through Kagiso Rabada, who had the number three
nicking off before striking Cameron Green on his helmet with a bouncer, forcing
the all-rounder to leave the field.
Rabada also removed Josh Inglis, while
Travis Head skied one off Lungi Ngidi for 33. Matters went from bad to worse
for the visitors when Gerald Coetzee knocked over Alex Carey and Marcus
Stoinis, and Keshav Maharaj cleaned up Sean Abbott, leaving them reeling at
However, just as the game seemed to be
slipping away, Marnus Labuschagne produced a special innings to salvage the situation
for Australia. Replacing Cameron Green as a concussion substitute, Labuschagne
weathered the storm with Ashton Agar, with the pair constantly rotating the
strike to keep the scoreboard ticking.
They also punished the poor balls for
boundaries and took Australia over the line with ten overs to spare, finishing
with a 112-run stand for the eighth wicket to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in