Aussies out to avoid unwanted history
Photo Source: AP
Australia's equation for the final one-day international against South Africa in Cape Town on Wednesday is simple.
Win or be branded as the worst performed team in the nation's history in a bilateral ODI series.
Australia arrived in South Africa's largest city recovering from Sunday's deflating six-wicket loss to the Proteas in Port Elizabeth.
Just as the shadow of Table Mountain falls over the city, the fear of becoming the first Australian team to lose five matches in a two-team one-day series is inescapable for the tourists.
Former Test quick Ryan Harris, who is with the team as a bowling consultant, says it's a scenario that no-one wants to see realised.
"The bottom line is now, five-nil is not what we want," Harris said.
"It's never happened before so the boys are pretty determined not to let that happen over the next couple of days.
"Considering what's gone on, the boys have been in pretty good spirits. We had a big meeting together and hung out together and it's all good."
Harris can draw on his own experiences as player to know that it is possible to achieve a turnaround when switching from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
In the 2014 Test tour of South Africa, Harris took match figures of 1-137 as the Proteas won the second Test at St George's Park by 231 runs.
A week later Australia stormed to a 245-run victory at Newlands to surge to a 2-1 series win on enemy soil.
Harris picked up seven wickets in that Test and said it showed how quickly things can turn for any cricketer.
"I changed a lot actually because I thought that was my last game of Test cricket in Port Elizabeth. I bowled rubbish," he said.
"You've just got to keep working on your game.
"You can over-think the game so much. A lot of it is technical but there's a lot more of it probably that's mental.
"I don't think they (Australia) need to do too much. Just be focused on the day and execute ... we've got good enough players in this team to win cricket games."
Australia are expected to again contemplate changes for the final match.
Usman Khawaja is yet to feature on the tour apart from his unbeaten 82 against Ireland before the series began and is sure to be pushing for selection after Australia's underwhelming batting effort in Port Elizabeth.
Joe Mennie and Dan Worrall will have Tuesday's optional training selection to convince selectors to give them one last chance to impress on their maiden international campaigns.
Harris says Australia's inexperienced attack has certainly endured a tough series, but he's also convinced they have the ability to be successes at international level.
"They're better than what this series has shown," Harris said.
"Coming into a series against a pretty good side, pretty good players in their own backyard, small grounds and flat wickets, it's a bloody hard thing to do.
"They know they haven't bowled that well but they also know they can bowl better."
KEY FACTS FOR AUSTRALIA'S 5th ODI vs SOUTH AFRICA
* If Australia lose it will be the first time they've lost five matches in a bilateral ODI series
* The last time Australia lost five or more matches in an ODI tournament was the 2011-12 Commonwealth Bank Series against India and Sri Lanka (They won six)
* In six ODIs at Newlands, Australia has won two (1994 and 2000)
* The Proteas have only lost five of 31 ODIs in Cape Town
* Australia's 93 all out at Newlands in March 2006 is the lowest ODI total in matches between the two nations