South Africa sent Australia to its first-ever 5-0 whitewash in a one-day series, winning the final game at Newlands by 31 runs on Wednesday and making David Warner’s brilliant 173 a losing effort.
Chasing South Africa’s 327-8, opener Warner took Australia to 288 in the 48th over but the required rate was too much and he was run out trying to push for a second to Imran Tahir in the deep. Australia was bowled out for 296.
“I thought he was outstanding,” Australia captain Steve Smith said of Warner. “The rest of us just didn’t stand up. This has been a tough series. We have been outplayed.”
The last time Australia, the No. 1 team in ODIs, failed to win a game in an ODI series was a 4-0 loss to England in 2012. It had never lost all five games in a series before.
Warner’s dismissal was the second of three run outs to end the Australia innings and the series, although Australian hopes disappeared for good with the exit of Warner. His 173 off 136 balls was the highest ODI score at Newlands, the highest by an Australian against South Africa, and not far off Shane Watson’s Australian ODI record of 185 not out.
But even with Warner in overdrive — he hammered 24 fours and briefly threatened to steal victory — South Africa kept its nerve to ensure a clean sweep over the top-ranked team. Australia will hang on to its No. 1 ranking from South Africa, but the series was an abrupt reality check for the Aussies.
“This whole series, whatever Australia threw at us, we’ve just had more answers,” South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said.
Rilee Rossouw’s 122 and JP Duminy’s 73 set up South Africa’s big total after Australia’s bowlers failed to take advantage with the Proteas on 52-3. South Africa fought its way out of that uncomfortable position, with the Rossouw and Duminy partnership worth 178, a record for a fourth-wicket stand for the Proteas against Australia.
Under pressure early, South Africa ended up posting the third-highest total in one-day cricket at Newlands, with Rossouw hitting 14 fours and two sixes.
Warner was part of three half-century partnerships in the chase, but Australia couldn’t keep up with the run rate, losing its last five wickets for 67 runs as it scrambled at the end.
Legspinner Imran Tahir took two at the top of the order, bowling Aaron Finch and captain Smith in the same over, and seamers Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada took two each in the back end of the innings before the three run outs.
Buoyant, South Africa travels to Australia for a test series next month.
“Different format, but it’s very nice heading over there beating them 5-0,” Du Plessis said.