Cummins, Ponting lead Aussies to rain-hit triumph


Teenage debutant Pat Cummins had his first ball hit for six but then struck two vital blows as Australia eased to victory in a rain-hit first one-day international against South Africa at SuperSport Park on Wednesday.
Facing an adjusted target of 223 off 29 overs, South Africa’s chances took a huge dive when Cummins dismissed Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy in the space of three balls.
The hosts were bowled out for 129 in 22 overs to give Australia a 93-win Duckworth/Lewis win.
Cummins, at 18 the youngest player to represent Australia in a one-day international, confirmed the promise he showed in two Twenty20 internationals against the same opponents.
He was hit over extra cover for six by South African captain Hashim Amla but then produced a fast delivery which Kallis edged into his stumps to end a 36-run second wicket stand with Amla.
JP Duminy fell to Cummins for the third time in three innings when he edged a catch to second slip two balls later, with Australian captain Michael Clarke taking a good low catch.
Former captain Ricky Ponting opened the batting and was named man of the match after he made 63 in an Australian innings of 183 for four in 29 overs.
Ponting and Clarke (44) built a solid foundation before lightning and rain drove the players off the field at 96 for one after 19 overs.
There was a four-and-a-half hour break before play resumed. Australia went on an all-out assault when they returned with just ten overs remaining in their innings.
Clarke was particularly aggressive, adding 15 runs off five balls, including two sixes off successive balls from Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
But Clarke was run out when a fierce drive by Ponting was deflected into the stumps at the bowler’s end by Johan Botha.
Ponting stepped into the opening role when Shane Watson was ruled out with a hip injury. Australia were also without Shaun Marsh because of a shoulder injury.
Ponting made his runs off 77 balls and hit nine fours.
All South Africa’s bowlers took some heavy punishment in the closing overs. Fast bowler Dale Steyn took two wickets but conceded 48 runs in six overs.
South Africa suffered an early blow when former captain Graeme Smith was given out leg before wicket to Doug Bollinger in the first over.
He consulted with Amla but decided not to ask for a review by the television umpire, although replays showed the ball would have gone over the top of his stumps.
Amla and Kallis looked in good form before Cummins made his breakthrough and after that the home side lost wickets at regular intervals and did not look likely to get close to the target.
Cummins picked up a third wicket when tailender Johan Botha stepped on his stumps but the fast bowler was expensive, conceding 28 runs in three overs, including five wides when a bouncer to last man Lonwabo Tsotsobe sailed over wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s head.
“It’s a very good start,” said Clarke. “But there’s room for improvement.”
He said of young debutants Cummins and Mitchell Marsh, who took a wicket in his first over: “So far so good. There’s a lot of work to do but we’re giving them experience and time in the middle.”