SOUTH AFRICA suffered their worst one-day defeat when Australia beat them by 103 runs in the World Series Cup triangular competition in Sydney yesterday.
To compound their problems, Jonty Rhodes broke a bone in the little finger of his left hand and could be out of action for two weeks. He is doubtful for the first Test against Australia which starts in Melbourne on 26 December.
He suffered the injury when he dived to stop a fierce cut by Steve Waugh as Australia made 172 for 9 in their 50 overs on a pitch offering movement and erratic bounce.
Although Rhodes bravely came out to bat at 48 for 6, he could not prevent South Africa from sliding to their lowest total in one-day cricket. Paul Reiffel wrecked South Africa's middle order by capturing 4 for 13, his best one-day figures.
Australia's victory, their first in three one-day meetings with the South Africans, takes them to the top of the standings with four points from three games. South Africa are second on three points while New Zealand have one point from two games. The top two qualify for the best-of-three finals.
Despite winning, the Australian captain, Allan Border, was furious about the grassy SCG pitch, saying it gave too much advantage to the bowlers. 'Someone needs a kick in the backside over this. The wicket was a real lottery. I don't think you need to play cricket on that surface.' Border said.
WORLD SERIES TRIANGULAR CUP (Sydney): Australia 172 for 9 (50 overs); South Africa 69 (28 overs) (Reiffel 4-13). Australia won by 103 runs.Reuse content