Australia captain Steve Smith admits his team's one-day tour of South Africa has been made difficult without Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood
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Australia captain Steve Smith says his job has't been easy trying to lead his team on the one-day tour of South Africa without two frontline pacemen.
David Warner's brilliant 173 wasn't enough to prevent Australia slipping to a historic 5-0 series whitewash by the Proteas, with a 31-run loss in the final match at Cape Town on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT).
Travelling without Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, Smith's lineup of inexperienced fast bowlers struggled throughout the series as Australia lost five matches in a bilateral ODI campaign for the first time.
Smith said his team had been outplayed in all five matches - leaving him with just two wins from his past 11 games in charge of the national team.
"I've never played in a series where we've lost all five games," Smith said.
"It's been a difficult task.
"We've been outplayed but the group's stuck together well."
Of the new faces on the tour, both Chris Tremain and Joe Mennie rebounded well from disappointing debuts in the second match of the series in Johannesburg.
Tremain improved in every match he played, ending the tour with seven wickets and a career-best 3-64 at Newlands.
Mennie, who conceded the worst figures by an Australian on ODI debut at the Wanderers, made the most of his second chance at Cape Town to claim 3-49 off 10 overs.
His first two international wickets were none other than South African superstar Hashim Amla and Proteas' captain Faf du Plessis.
Warner aside, the left-hander scoring a tour-high 434 runs including the pre-series match against Ireland including two centuries, Smith said it had been the tourists' batting causing the most concern.
Experienced players such as George Bailey and Aaron Finch had disappointing campaigns while Mitchell Marsh, the bowler with the most ODI games under his belt, also had an underwhelming tour.
"We just haven't been able to put enough partnerships together," Smith said.
"We've had guys who have had starts and not been able to go on with it.
"Having said that, Davey was magnificent today. To score 170 out of our 290 was remarkable. The rest of us weren't good enough."
South Africa captain du Plessis, who will lead the Proteas in next month's three-Test campaign in Australia with AB de Villiers recovering from elbow surgery, was delighted his team didn't ease up after sealing the series in game three at Durban.
"We, as a team, obviously before this series didn't expect 5-nil," du Plessis said.
"We wanted to beat the Aussies but when we got to 3-nil in Durban, it was important for us to try and make sure we don't take our foot off the gas.
"This group of players wanted to make history and we did that today. It's a special feeling."
MOST LOSSES BY AUSTRALIA IN A BILATERAL ODI SERIES
5 v South Africa (A) in 2016 (SA lead 5-0, one to play)
4 v South Africa (A) in 1994 (Series drawn 4-4)
4 v West Indies (A) in 1995 (Windies won 4-1)
4 v South Africa (H) in 2009 (SA won 4-1)
4 v England (A) in 2012 (Eng won 4-0)