Aussies to bat v South Africa
Photo Source: AAP
Australia's weakened bowling attack has been taught a brutal lesson by South Africa's Quinton de Kock at Centurion.
The left-handed opener blasted a career-best 178 off just 113 deliveries at SuperSport Park to guide the Proteas to an emphatic six-wicket win in the series opening clash.
Set 295 for victory after Australia made 4-294 in their innings, de Kock was merciless on an Australian bowling attack missing big guns Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and James Faulkner.
The 23-year-old's innings is the highest score in an ODI between the two countries, surpassing Herschelle Gibbs' 175 in the remarkable match at the Wanderers in 2006.
De Kock was relentless on Australia's bowlers, belting 11 sixes and 16 fours in an imperious display.
None of Australia's attack escaped the carnage.
John Hastings (0-52) and Mitchell Marsh (0-66) - the two most experienced bowlers in the attack - both went wicketless and conceded at over seven and eight runs an over respectively.
Scott Boland claimed career best figures of 3-67 - including the wicket of de Kock - but was the most expensive bowler in the game with an economy rate of 9.57.
South Australia's Daniel Worrall conceded 0-50 off 7.2 overs in just his second ODI appearance while even leg-spinner Adam Zampa was hammered, claiming 1-44 off five overs.
Australian captain Steve Smith said it was simply a case of his attack not performing against an in-form opponent.
"We gave them a few freebies to get away," Smith said.
"Little bit too short, little bit too wide at times. From there he (de Kock) got into a rhythm and it felt like every ball was going to boundary at one point.
"Looking back it was probably a 370-380 wicket but having said that we've got to execute a lot better with the ball as well."
De Kock set the platform for his match-winning innings alongside opening partner Rilee Roussow.
Named in the team with Hashim Amla ruled out due to illness, Roussow belted a 45-ball 65 as he and de Kock shared a 145-run opening stand.
Their efforts put paid to any thought Australia's effort with the bat, which was led by George Bailey's 74, would be enough to secure the win.
Smith says the challenge for his inexperienced attack is to put Friday's defeat behind them as they prepare for game two at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.
"Let go of what just happened out there," he said.
"Try and improve on a few things. We gave a lot of four balls and balls to hit for six as well. We've got to be tighter with our lines and get our lengths right."
De Kock said conditions had played into his hands, making it easy to post his mammoth score.
"Me and Rilee are just naturally fairly confident players, aggressive players," he said.
"The wicket did help a lot. It became extremely nice to bat on.
"It was my most free knock I've played but I've played a couple of other knocks I've enjoyed more, where I've had to work hard for the runs.
"Today it was just my day I guess."
Young South African quick Adile Phehlukwayo, in his second ODI appearance, was the pick of the hosts' bowlers with 4-44 off his 10 overs.
Veteran paceman Dale Steyn (2-65) marked his return from almost a year out of South Africa's ODI team with two late scalps.