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14 November 201421:26

Clarke injury sours Australian win

Skipper likely to miss ODI series with hamstring problem; South Africa punished for catching lapses galore

Clarke injury sours Australian win - Cricket News
At different stages during the first One-Day International against South Africa on Friday (November 14), Australia was given the shivers. The first real fright came while Michael Clarke was batting with visible discomfort after aggravating a hamstring injury that eventually forced him out of the match. It they lost half its side inside 30 overs. Later in the piece, a spirited partnership from AB de Villiers and David Miller threatened to take the game away from it.

In the end, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Mitchell Johnson found their mojo as Australia's 300 for 8 was 32 too many for South Africa in the series opener at the WACA ground in Perth. South Africa was eventually bowled out for 268,

South Africa's decision to field could have well backfired had David Warner (46) and Aaron Finch (35) stayed for a little longer. It took Vernon Philander's twin strikes in the space of three deliveries to give the visitors some breathing space.

Clarke's travails with injuries continued as he aggravated his hamstring injury. When he was dismissed by his old nemesis Dale Steyn in the 21st over, Australia had undone the good work of the openers.

Shane Watson, who made a comeback from an ankle injury during the Twenty20 International series last week, also looked far from comfortable with his timing as he fell for just 13. Along the way, he was also given a reprieve by Imran Tahir, who failed to hold on to a dolly off his own bowling.

When Mitchell Marsh was bowled by Philander for 10, Australia had slipped to 144 for 5, bringing about a complete breakdown of momentum.

It took the enterprising George Bailey to lift the team out of a hole. Bailey received valuable support from Matthew Wade, the wicketkeeper who made 35, as the two shared a vital 92-run stand for the sixth wicket. Bailey eventually made 70. But it took Glenn Maxwell's late order cameo, a 19-ball 29 to help them touch the 300-run mark.

The start to South Africa's chase was disastrous as Johnson dismissed Quinton de Kock (2) and Hashim Amla (8) in successive overs. As usual, Johnson breathed fire on his home ground, rattling the speed gun with his zip.

Faf du Plessis (31) and Farhaan Behardien (20) tried to rebuild, but were sucked in by the scoreboard pressure.

De Villiers, the captain, seemed least affected by the top-order wobble and continued to play in the manner he knows best. Milking the bowling without any discomfort, he found support from Miller, who took on the role of the aggressor in a 126-run stand that had Australia worried.

Miller smashed five fours and a six in his run-a-ball 65 before falling to Coulter-Nile. That seemed to galvanise Australia, which picked up four wickets for just 13 runs, with de Villiers's run-out for 80 being the final nail in the coffin for South Africa.
Coulter-Nile finished with figures of 4 for 48, while Johnson took 2 for 38.

The second ODI will also be played at the WACA on Sunday.

To see the scorecard and review the Australia v South Africa match in full, please click here.