South Africa levels Australia series
PERTH, Australia (AP):
Morne Morkel took a career-best 5-21 and captain A.B. de Villiers made 48 as South Africa beat Australia by three wickets in the second one-day cricket international yesterday to level the five-match series at 1-1.
Handed the new ball ahead of Dale Steyn, Morkel took two wickets in his opening spell to plunge the Australian innings into early crisis, then snared three more in six balls in his second spell to help bowl out the home side for 154. Mitchell Marsh top scored with 67.
South Africa surpassed Australia's total in 27.4 overs, though it struggled at times in the face of hostile bowling from Josh Hazlewood who was twice on a hat-trick before finishing with 5-31.
After de Villiers, David Miller steered the Proteas home with an unbeaten 22.
South Africa was dominant with the ball, thanks to Morkel, but their run chase was muddled and showed a susceptibility to pressure. It lost openers Hashim Amla (10) and Quinton de Kock (4) with only 21 runs on the board before Rilee Rossouw dashed 30 from 25 balls to ease the pressure, taking three consecutive fours from Nathan Coulter-Nile.
De Villiers put on 49 for the fourth wicket with Faf du Plessis (19), taking South Africa to 113-3, before Hazlewood removed du Plessis and Farhaan Behardien with successive balls in the 20th over.
Miller survived the hat-trick delivery and de Villiers helped South Africa regroup with his innings of 48 from 41 balls.
The South Africa captain was then out to the last ball of the 26th over and Vernon Philander to the first ball of the 27th, leaving Hazlewood again on a hat trick. This time Steyn saw off the danger, facing the hat-trick ball and one more before driving the fourth ball of Hazlewood's 10th over for four and the winning runs.
Morkel was Man of the Match after leading a resurgent bowling and fielding performance, helping transform a South African team that was beaten by 32 runs in the first match of the series on Friday.