Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Travis Head's all-round brilliance all but knocks out South Africa A

Australia A 322 for 5 (Head 110, Labuschagne 65; Magala 2-59) beat South Africa A 290 (Zondo 117, Cloete 50, Swepson 3-40, Head 2-25) by 32 runs

Travis Head's sixth List A hundred and two wickets helped Australia A clinch a 32-run victory over South Africa A in the seventh game of the Quadrangular A series.

Head led from the front after opting to bat with a 117-ball 110. The captain found good support from D'Arcy Short and Marnus Labuschagne as Australia posted a formidable 322 for 5 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. In reply, Sarel Erwee and Gihahn Cloete got South Africa off to a flying start. However, once the openers were dismissed, wickets kept tumbling. At 167 for 7, Khaya Zondo was left fighting a lost battle. He struck four fours and seven sixes in his 104-ball 117 and was eventually the last batsman out. South Africa were bowled out for 290 in 48.4 overs, with Mitchell Swepson the most successful bowler for Australia, picking up 3 for 40 in ten overs.

Head could have been out stumped for 35 off Shaun von Berg, but the extra bounce meant wicketkeeper Rudi Second failed to collect the ball. Von Berg then himself failed to latch on to a difficult return chance when Head was on 70. The batsman took full advantage of the reprieves, guiding Australia to a total which fetched them their first win of the tournament.

Australia didn't have a great start and lost Usman Khawaja to a run-out in the fifth over when Erwee showed great presence of mind. Khawaja tried to force Robbie Frylinck on the leg side but missed and was struck on the pads. The umpire denied a loud lbw shout as the ball went towards slips where an alert Erwee hit the stumps with the batsman having casually wandered out of his crease and being lazy about getting back in. However, that remained the only bright spot for South Africa in the field.

At 17 for 1, Head joined Short and the two upped the scoring-rate. Head started by collecting two fours off Frylinck, while Short launched Beuran Hendricks for six over wide long-on before driving him through the covers for a boundary.

Short then welcomed von Berg into the attack with a fierce hit down the ground, with the bowler barely having any time to react. The legspinner though got his revenge in the next over when he trapped Short in front with a fuller delivery as the batsman went for a sweep.

Head and Labuschagne didn't let the momentum slip though, and added 136 in 137 balls for the third wicket. Labuschagne used the sweep to good effect and brought up his fifty with back-to-back fours off von Berg. He too got a second chance, on 57, when Zondo dropped a tough return catch. However, it didn't prove costly as Magala pinned him lbw for 65.

Meanwhile, Head brought up his century off 111 balls and was greeted with cheers and whistles by a sparse crowd. However, he was bowled soon after by Hendricks while trying for a big hit.

Matt Renshaw, coming in at No. 5, scored an unbeaten 29-ball 42, and Agar struck 17 not out off four deliveries with two sixes and a four as Australia collected 89 from last ten overs.

Chasing 323, Erwee and Cloete started positively for South Africa. The duo added 89 in just 12.5 overs before Erwee hit a full toss from Head straight to Labuschagne at short midwicket.

Cloete brought up his fifty with a four off Head but was bowled right after, with the ball spinning just enough to beat the bat and dislodge the off-stump bail. Second then pulled a short ball from Ashton Agar into the hands of Jack Wildermuth at deep midwicket, leaving South Africa 118 for 3 in the 20th over.

South Africa were relying on Farhaan Behardien, but he too was run out in a bizarre fashion. An Agar delivery struck him on the pads and rolled towards Short at first slip. A confused Behardein set off for a single before realising the ball was in Short's possession, but it was too late by then.

Swepson then ran through the lower-middle order with three quick wickets. Zondo fought hard, adding 82 for the eighth wicket with Frylinck, but, in the end, had to be satisfied only with a consolation century.

SA A 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st89SJ ErweeGL Cloete
2nd9RS SecondGL Cloete
3rd20K ZondoRS Second
4th22F BehardienK Zondo
5th3K ZondoS Muthusamy
6th12K ZondoD Pretorius
7th12K ZondoS von Berg
8th82R FrylinckK Zondo
9th29K ZondoSSB Magala
10th12K ZondoBE Hendricks