Australia A thrash South Africa A by 9 wickets

Chennai, Aug 5 (IANS) A superlative all-round performance from Australia A helped their side to a nine-wicket victory over South Africa A in the triangular one-day series at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Wednesday.

Opting to bat did not turn out well for the Proteas as they were bowled out for 171 in 48.4 overs. In reply, Australia A made full use of their experience here as they romped home to victory with 114 balls to spare.

Unlike South Africa A, the Australian side has been in India for some time as they had also played two four-day first class matches against India A prior to the 50-over tournament. They also beat the hosts in the second game to take the series 1-0.

Continuing their form here, Australia A bowlers did well to take all 10 wickets in the first session of play.

South Africa A started well with opener Reeza Hendricks (43) and captain Dean Elgar (28) striking a 73-run first wicket partnership to provide their team a good platform to build on.

But thereon, South Africa kept losing wickets at regular intervals to lose all 10 wickets in the next 98 runs scored. Apart from the openers, only Theunis de Bruyn (17), Khaya Zondo (21) and Wayne Parnell (10) managed to reach double digits.

Australia A pacers James Pattinson (2/41), Nathan Coulter-Nile (3/31) and Sean Abbot (1/25) performed their roles perfectly well to not just take wickets at regular intervals but also kept the run rate low.

Tweakers Ashton Agar (2/26) and Cameron Boyce (2/34) also played their part by scalping four wickets together to slow down the South Africa A innings.

In reply, Australia A openers Usman Khawaja (73) and Joe Burns (63 not out) almost completed the job on their own by scoring a 142-run opening wicket stand. After skipper Khawaja got out, Travis Head (27 not out) just needed to guide his team to a comfortable victory.

The next match of the series will see Australia A take on hosts India A on Friday.

Brief scores: South Africa 171 all out in 48.4 overs (Reeza Hendricks 43, Dean Elgar 28, Khaya Zondo 21; Nathan Coulter-Nile 3/31, Ashton Agar 2/26, Cameron Boyce 2/34) lost to Australia A 175/1 in 31 overs (Usman Khawaja 73, Joe Burns 63 not out, Travis Head 27 not out; Hardus Viljoen 1/54).

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