AUSTRALIA got their South African tour off to a winning start when they beat South Africa A by 5 wickets in their three-day fixture which finished at Sahara Park Willowmoore on Saturday.
Their target of 140 in 35 overs was always going to be a comfortable one to achieve and in the end they got home with more than 5 overs to spare.
The South Africans nevertheless put a good rearguard action after at one stage not looking as though they would set Australia much of a target at all. They lost three wickets before their cleared the first innings deficit of 109 and their situation looked bleak at 167/7 with all their specialist batsmen back in the pavilion.
But in a remarkable statistic that saw the two No. 8 batsmen for their respective sides scoring the only half-centuries in the match Shaun von Berg (52 off 43 balls, 8 fours and a six) came to the fore sharing a partnership of 81 for the eighth wicket with Malusi Siboto.
The South Africans will nevertheless be disappointed at losing all 10 wickets for 186 runs after Pieter Malan and Zubayr Hamza had put on 62 for the first wicket. The only other partnership of any note was the 60 for the fifth wicket between Khaya Zondo and Senuran Muthusamy.
Mitchell Starc was the most dangerous of the Australian bowlers, finishing with figures of 4/46 in 15 overs.
Duanne Olivier, having recovered from his shoulder injury, also took 4 wickets in Australia’s runs chase.