David Miller has belted South Africa to victory in the third ODI against Australia with a brilliant knock
Photo Source: Getty Images
No more sugar coating of this bitter pill.
After defending their inexperienced bowling attack and saying it was the batsmen who weren't delivering on Australia's one-day tour of South Africa, there's no place to hide for the tourists' bowlers after Wednesday's third ODI in Durban.
Australia somehow contrived to lose a match where they posted 6-371 batting first - the highest total in any ODI at Kingsmead and the country's fifth-highest ODI total ever.
Hundreds to David Warner (117) and Steve Smith (108) should have been enough to secure the win and keep Australia alive in the five-match series.
The pair combined in a century second-wicket stand that went a long way to leaving Proteas spearhead Dale Steyn with the worst ODI figures for a South African of 2-96 off his 10 overs.
But a brilliant unbeaten 118 off just 79 balls by South Africa's David Miller secured the Proteas the most unlikely of wins and an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
It's a defeat which is sure to only heighten the suspicion Australia's bowling attack on this tour simply isn't up to international standard.
The Proteas made a fast start thanks to openers Hashim Amla (45 off 33) and Quinton de Kock (70 off 86), but should have been put out of the hunt when they were reduced to 5-217 with less than 20 overs to go.
Miller, however, combined with 20-year-old bowler Adile Phehlukwayo (42 off 39) in an unbeaten century stand for the seventh wicket to guide the home side to their mammoth target with four balls to spare.
In three matches Australia's bowlers have now taken a combined 16-1028 and conceded on average 7.5 runs an over in the series.
Wednesday brought another shuffle to the attack
Shellshocked Australian skipper Smith - who has now lost seven of his past eight matches at the helm in all formats - conceded the bowling effort had simply not been up to standard.
"I wanted the top four to get the bulk of the runs, someone to go on and get a hundred, we had two blokes do that," Smith said.
"It's a very tough loss. Today was our quarter-final to keep us in the series and when you get to halfway and you've got 370 on the board, you don't lose too many games with 370 on the board.
"For them (bowlers), it's about trying to bowl their best ball as much as possible ... we just haven't been able to do it as well as we would have liked.
"It hasn't gone to plan so far, that's for sure.
"I'm sure the guys will be able to take a lot out of playing against these South African batters. There's some quality batters in their lineup and you've got to learn to play against the best if you want to play international cricket."
Wednesday's defeat is the first time in over four years Australia have lost three consecutive one-day matches.
Delighted Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said any thoughts of a series whitewash could wait until Wednesday's win has been properly celebrated.
"To be honest with you there are no words for how happy I am at the moment," du Plessis said.
"I would never have thought 3-0 would've been possible against this Australian side."
Australia will have three days to bounce back before game four is played at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.