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07-Mar-2020 15:55:00 GMT
SA v Aus - 3rd ODI, Potchefstroom

Smuts, Klaasen sets up 3-0 South Africa sweep in ODIs

Potchefstroom: South Africa beat Australia by six wickets in the third and final one-day international at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom on Saturday.

An emotional maiden century from Marnus Labuschagne in the country of his birth wasn't enough to save Australia from a fifth consecutive ODI defeat and a 3-0 thumping at the hands of an undermanned South African side in Potchefstroom.

Labuschagne's first ODI hundred, scored just a 45-minute drive away from where he was born and with 50 delighted family members and friends in the stands, was the only high point of another disappointing day for the tourists, who have now won just one of their past 12 one-day games against the Proteas.

In a carnival-like atmosphere at Senwes Park in the student town known colloquially as 'Potch', Labuschagne's run-a-ball 108 steered Australia to 7-254 after Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock had won a crucial toss and elected to bowl first in the knowledge that 12 of the 18 previous ODIs at this venue had been won by the team batting second.

No other Australian batsman scored more than 36 and the target proved well within reach of the young South African batting line-up, who cruised home with the loss of just four wickets.

Brief scores:
South Africa 258 for 4 (Smuts 84, Klaasen 68*, Verreynne 50, Hazlewood 2-37) beat Australia 254 for 7 (Labuschagne 108, Nortje 2-35) by six wickets

It's the second time in three-and-a-half years that Australia have suffered a one-day series whitewash in South Africa, having been thrashed 5-0 here in 2016 when they rested their star fast bowlers ahead of the home summer.

But given the Aussies have been at full strength for most of this series, and they faced a Proteas side here that was minus first-choice players Kagiso Rabada, Faf du Plessis, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi and Rassie van der Dussen, another winless campaign will give coach Justin Langer plenty to ponder ahead of next week's series against New Zealand, starting in Sydney on Friday.

However, with the next World Cup still three years away, the match will be best remembered for Labuschagne's hundred, a breakthrough knock in just his sixth ODI that continued his remarkable summer of run-scoring.

Labuschagne took a risky second run when he was on 98, diving full length to make his ground just before the stumps were broken, then unleashed a powerful roar and acknowledged the Australian dressing-room and his family and friends in the western stand.

But Labuschagne's moment was the only piece of joy for the Australian batsmen, with only a late flurry from the Queenslander and recalled quick Jhye Richardson (24 not out from 20 balls) steering them to somewhere near a respectable score.

Emboldened by the absence of his tormentor Mitchell Starc, who has returned home to watch wife Alyssa Healy play in Sunday's T20 World Cup final at the MCG, de Kock gave the Proteas a strong start in the run chase, including an audacious ramp shot off the bowling of Kane Richardson that sailed into the crowd on the northern bank.


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