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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Jonathan Howcroft (earlier) and James Wallace (now)

South Africa thrash Australia by 134 runs: Cricket World Cup 2023 – as it happened

Kagiso Rabada celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Australia's Josh Inglis.
South Africa celebrate a commanding victory over Australia in Lucknow. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

That’s it from me for today. Thanks to Jonathan Howcroft for his sublime steering of the good ship OBO in the earlier session and thanks to you for tuning in.

Next up in the CWC is New Zealand v Bangladesh tomorrow followed by a truly unmissable sporting occasion – India v Pakistan at the 130,000 seater stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday - reckon that one might be a full house. Goosebumps on your goosebumps. Until then, goodnight!

Here comes a rather stern faced Pat Cummins, he’s probably just had a peek at that Minus 1.85 Net Run Rate…

Quinny batted really well but we were happy with keeping them to 310, we felt it was a chaseable score. It looked like hard work out there tonight, it zipped around now plenty but we were well off the mark.

If we want to be challenging for this tournament you’ve got to adapt to all conditions. Not much needs to be said tonight, everyone’s hurting. We’ve got a few days until the next game and we’ll try to make amends.

With that he lopes off into the Lucknow night. Plenty to ponder for Pat.

Victorious Captain Temba Bavuma speaks: Could he be any more nonchalant?

I was glad to lose to the toss because things worked out in our favour! I was scratching around (with the bat) so Quinton deserves to be credited a lot. I’d be really greedy if I said there were areas to improve, a near-perfect game with the bat and with the ball, the guys dominated and showed their skills.”

Character is the biggest thing we talk about and we showed it today. We’ll enjoy the individual performances then come back tomorrow and find ways to get better as a team.”

Ominous final line for everyone else, his side looked top notch today and sit top of the table.


Quinton de Kock is Player of the Match:

He followed up his century against Sri Lanka with an effervescent ton at the top of the order to set his side up for a commanding total. De Kock says:

It’s a great win for the boys, we assessed conditions well and played accordingly. We stuck to our strengths and came out on top. They (Australia) were potent up front with the ball so we assessed our scoring options. I definitely thought it was an above-par score from us, it gets harder at night in Lucknow and that proved true.

It was sweaty and humid but the bowlers bowled with intensity and didn’t give them a sniff up front. We are pretty pleased with ourselves but we’re only two games in - anything can happen and quickly, so we won’t get too high and just try to take it game by game.”


Huge win for the Proteas, that was a shellacking! Ngidi and Rabada were lethal with the new ball and they were backed up really well by the spinners Shamsi and Maharaj. Australia were very poor, reduced to 70-6 they spluttered along interminably for nearly twenty overs, Labuschagne and Starc ekeing out a paint-drying partnership of 69 runs to make the defeat look slightly less comprehensive on paper than it actually was. Plenty for Pat Cummins’ side to chow down on, they were hopeless in the field too, dropping catches and generally looking flatter than ten day old Tizer.


WICKET! Hazlewood c Rabada b Shamsi 2 (Australia all out 177)

That’s yer lot! Two balls later and it is all over, Hazlewood skies one straight up in to the brooding Lucknow sky and is well caught by Kagiso Rabada!


WICKET! Cummins c Miller b Shamsi 22 (Australia 175-8)

Shamsi gets his first wicket as Cummins holes out to long on! South Africa need just one more.

40th over: Australia 174-8 (Cummins 22, Zampa 10) Well bolwed! Rabada has Zampa in all sorts of strife with two beauties to start the over. Five runs off it.


39th over: Australia 169-8 (Cummins 21, Zampa 6) Just a single off Shamsi as Australia approach their 40th over. I hope they are happy.

Here’s the Stoinis dismissal from earlier. You can be Judge Judy and electrocutioner:

38th over: Australia 168-8 (Cummins 21, Zampa 5) Shot! Big Pat gets on the front dawg and smashes Rabada through cover for four! Cummins collects another couple with a back foot punch, Kagiso has seen enough and slams the final two balls in short for a couple of dots.


37th over: Australia 162-8 (Cummins 15, Zampa 5) Zampa gets involved with the run scoring, Shamsi sends down a half-tracker and is dispatched over the leg side. On we go.

“I for one really enjoyed Marnus’s surrealist art performance. Thanks for watching that so I didn’t have to!” The pleasure was all… yours, James Male.


36th over: Australia 156-8 (Cummins 14, Zampa 0) Cummins isn’t going to scratch around by the looks of it, he pumps Marco Jansen for three fours and Australia are in danger of a collective nosebleed as they take FOURTEEN runs off the over.

“This whole business of a team batting meekly to preserve a Net Run Rate is very silly and could only be of interest to the kind of saddo who takes pleasure in seeing an Australian sports team being subjected to a slow humiliation over the course of an after... hang on, what channel is this on again?”

Tom Atkins you are bad/sad/mad.


35th over: Australia 143-8 (Cummins 1, Zampa 0) Maharaj finishes his ten over spell by pocketing Labuschagne, a length ball lofted tamely to Bavuma at short cover. That wasn’t fun while it lasted. Adam Zampa is the new man and he pats back two dots. Maharaj ends with figures of 2-30 off his ten overs. Canny.


WICKET! Labuschagne c Bavuma b Maharaj 46 (Australia 143-8)

Farewell Marnus, we hardly knew ye.

Marnus Labuschagne
Geoffrey Boycott Marnus Labuschagne finally loses his wicket. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters


34th over: Australia 142-7 (Labuschagne 46, Cummins 1) Cummins is the new batter, he gets off the mark with a fence into the leg side. South Africa need three more wickets – Australia? They need 170 odd runs. Ahem.


WICKET! Starc c de Kock b Jansen 27 (Australia 139-7)

Goddddim! Jansen gets the breakthrough, a short ball is fenced at and gleefully snared by De Kock behind the stumps!


33rd over: Australia 138-6 (Labuschagne 43, Starc 27) Maharaj once more, four runs off the over. The required rate sneaks over tens. The 19th over seems like a lifetime ago:

32nd over: Australia 134-6 (Labuschagne 40, Starc 27) Yes! Mitchell Starc swings his long handle and connects sweetly with a short ball from the returning Marco Jansen*, pinging it into the leg side boundary for four. Happy now? Well, no, not really. The run rate rises quicker than Mr Creosote’s cholesterol.

*Did Proteas Rhys Meyers catch on? C’mon people!

Cheering crowd
Australia hit a boundary. Let joy be unconfined. Photograph: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images


31st over: Australia 128-6 (Labuschagne 39, Starc 22) First over back after drinks and the Aussies must’ve been quaffing rocketfuel, Marnus launches… oh who am I kidding – it’s three singles eked off Maharaj.

30th over: Australia 125-6 (Labuschagne 38, Starc 20) Chuckling at Marnus, he’s 29 from 58. Can’t wait for him to end on 54 not out off a trillion balls. Oh what’s this! Almost as if he’s got the OBO on an ear feed he suddenly comes to life and plays a couple of expansive strokes - Attaboy Marnus! A reverse-sweep is lapped for for behind square and next ball a powerful cut to the point fence. Time for a drink. Make mine large and strong.


29th over: Australia 115-6 (Labuschagne 25, Starc 17) Matthew Hayden is combusting in the commentary box – safe to say he don’t like what he sees from Australia’s batting. Other sides will be watching this and thinking that they have a real chance against this Aussie side, they’ve been so poor today. Dropped catches, wayward bowling, slack fielding and limp batting. Plenty for Haydos to stick his spurs into!



27th over: Australia 108-6 (Labuschagne 25, Starc 17) Ngidi scuds one in short and it rears up to clang Starc on the lid. There’s a delay while he is checked over, a new helmet is sent for and he seems to be good to continue. That was a brute of a ball, smashed Starc right on the badge. Symbolism innit.


26th over: Australia 104-6 (Labuschagne 23, Starc 16) Mitch Starc finally gives it some humpty, or tries to at least, a thick edge flies away fine for a boundary. Over six overs since the last boundary was struck by my calculations. Hundred up for Australia… you’re still thinking about the bad news aren’t you?

Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne does not hit a boundary. Sigh. Photograph: Altaf Qadri/AP


25th over: Australia 95-6 (Labuschagne 22, Starc 8) Back comes Ngidi, he was fantastic with the new ball earlier. Marnus pokes off the back foot for a couple but apart from that there is nowt to report. What’s the weather like where you are? Read any good books lately?

24th over: Australia 93-6 (Labuschagne 20, Starc 8) Marnus is going to treat this as a two hour net isn’t he? Noooooooo! Death to you NRR!


23rd over: Australia 90-6 (Labuschagne 17, Starc 8) The stodge incometh. Three runs off Maharaj. 1-22 from seven overs for the spinner. Tidy.

22nd over: Australia 87-6 (Labuschagne 15, Starc 7) Tabraiz Shamsi into the attack, just three runs off it. Please please please let me, let me… escape 30 overs of interminable stodge as the Aussies look to do damage limitation on their NRR. Lord knows we don’t want that.


21st over: Australia 84-6 (Labuschagne 13, Starc 6) Four runs off Maharaj’s latest, he’s snuck in and bowled six overs for just 19 runs.

Nothing like an Aussie anhilation to bring the OBO mailbag to life:

“Quite remarkable goings on! South Africa are all over the Aussies like an unpleasant skin complaint. The Australians need some Lucknow.”

BudddumTisch Colum Fordham.

“Gercha James”

Back at ya, David Bowen

“Do you think Howard Webb will feel a sense of crossover duty to contact Australia about the reviews today and then describe how they use those instances to ‘take further learnings?’ Although both seem out to me so not sure what all the antipodean fuss is about. Smudge in particular.”


20th over: Australia 80-6 (Labuschagne 10, Starc 6) Starc smears into the leg side to pick up a (futile) four. This is all about NRR damage limitation now for Australia. A thumping here will make it even harder for them to get through to the semis – you’d think they will have to win all of their remaining games after this loss. Marnus is still at the crease by the way, forgot about him ‘mongst the carnage didn’t you*.

* I did.

19th over: Australia 71-6 (Labuschagne 9, Starc 1) Maharaj sends down another tight over, slim pickings for Australia, just two off it. Up in the dressing room Stoinis is spewing, he’s only going to get more angry the more angles he sees:

WICKET! Stoinis c de Kock b Rabada 5 (Australia 70-6)

Controversy! Marcus Stoinis is given out gloving the ball down the leg side, the replays seem to show that his lower glove was off the handle when the ball made contact but the third umpire sees it differently and gives it OUT! Hmmm not sure about that one, still, Stoinis has to go and Australia are staring down the barrel in Lucknow.

Rabada has it on a string and looks like he could take a wicket every ball.

18th over: Australia 71-6 (Labuschagne 8, Starc 0)


17th over: Australia 70-5 (Labuschagne 8, Stoinis 4) Marcus Stoinis replaces Maxwell and slaps his very first ball for four! Australia need a lot more of that.

Now, now.


WICKET! Maxwell c & b Maharaj 3 (Australia 65-5!)

Gone Gone Gone! Maxwell is pouched by Maharaj on the return and goes for a woeful 3 off 17 balls. South Africa swarm in delight. FIVE DOWN!

Keshav Maharaj celebrates the wicket of Glenn Maxwell
South Africa are strolling to victory in Lucknow. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images


16th over: Australia 65-4 (Labuschagne 8, Maxwell 3) Relentless from South Africa, they have Australia right where they want them and look determined to ram this home. Labuschagne gets a fluky inside edge past the stumps and it runs away for four, other than that it is five dots for Rabada and a fistful of pressure.

15th over: Australia 61-4 (Labuschagne 4, Maxwell 3) Nifty from Maharaj – Marnus gets a single off the first ball but then the spinner infuriates Maxwell by knitting together five dot balls.

14th over: Australia 60-4 (Labuschagne 3, Maxwell 3) My oh my! Rabada nearly gets another scalp with a snorter that Maxwell fences at as it flies past his nostrils. Maxwell throws the kitchen sink, toaster and microwave at the next ball but only manages to plink it for a spawny two runs. Yeeesh! How did that miss?! Maxwell goes for an almighty yahoo and connects with nowt but fresh air. The ball just missing the timbers. Don’t go anywhere… unless you are Australian, obvs.


13th over: Australia 58-4 (Labuschagne 3, Maxwell 1) Maharaj keeps the foot on the throat, Maxwell just manages a single off the over – a clip down the ground off a full bunger. Australia need summat special from these two.

12th over: Australia 57-4 (Labuschagne 3, Maxwell 0) Rabada has got his dander well and truly up here. He sends down a wicket-maiden and gives the new batter Glenn Maxwell a hard stare for good measure. Much meaner than Paddington Bear’s that particular glower, my two year old daughter wouldn’t have enjoyed that one. Spicy marmalade.


WICKET! Inglis b Rabada 5 (Australia 56-4)

“Done like a dinner” bellows the irrepressible Matty Hayden on my telly. Inglis plays all round a straight ball and his stumps are sent every which way… and that was loose. Australia in the mire – here comes Maxwell!

Josh Inglis loses his wicket
Ooof! Josh Inglis is clean bowled by Kagiso Rabada. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters


11th over: Australia 56-3 (Labuschagne 3, Inglis 5) Australia have lost three of their big guns then and South Africa are looking to put the squeeze on. Maharaj is summoned but a short ball to new batter Josh Inglis releases the pressure a little, Inglis carving away for four to get his account ticking.


WICKET! Smith lbw b Rabada 19 (Australia 50-3)

Steve Smith cannot believe it! He’s given out lbw to a ball that looked for all the world like it was sliding past the stumps!

The Smudger had just walloped Rabada for back-to-back fours through cover before failing to get bat on a full one. South Africa review more in hope than anything and the DRS has the ball clipping the leg bail but by enough to overturn the on-field decision.

Smith stands there for an age after the decision is given, he’s agog, bat hanging limply by his side - resembling a beleaguered shopper watching a parking attendant slap a ticket on his windscreen. Nowt you can do now Steve, you’ve gotta go.

10th over: Australia 50-3 (Labuschagne 2, Inglis 0)

Steve Smith walks off after being dismissed
Steve Smith can’t believe it! Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images


9th over: Australia 42-2 (Smith 11, Labuschagne 2) Ngidi continues – he’s got 1-4 with two maidens from his four overs so far. Marnus tucks for two and scampers a leg bye. Smith swivels a short ball fine for what looks like a certain four but what’s that haring round the boundary? It’s Marco Jansen! Marco Jansen! The lissom limbed bowler swoops impressively low and pulls off a magnificent stop to save two runs. Bravo Marco. Okay, here comes Kagiso Rabada, buckle up knuckleheads.


8th over: Australia 36-2 (Smith 8, Labuschagne 0) Australia teetering here as Marnus joins his sensei Smith in the middle. That helps! Smith Clips effortlessly through mid-wicket for four. Jansen decides to go short and bangs a few in half way down, the pitch still looks a bit Harvey-two-paced. Smith waits for the final short one and pulls it for four over square leg.


WICKET! Warner c van der Dussen b Ngidi 13 (Australia 27-2)

NGIDI STRIKES! Highly impressive bowling from the opening man, he’s hits a spot outside off and back of a length for five balls in a row, Warner can’t get him away and you can feel the frustration building. Sixth ball of the over Warner cuts uppishly to point. A soft dismissal in the end and a wicket maiden for South Africa.

David Warner is out
David Warner is out, after some devilish bowling from Ngidi. Photograph: Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC/Getty Images

7th over: Australia 27-2 (Smith 0, Labuschagne)


WICKET! Marsh ct Bavuma b Jansen 7 (Australia 27-1)

Wowzer. A real mixed bag from Marco Jansen in that over! Warner clips a full ball for four and it transpires that Jansen overstepped too. FREE HIT. Just a single results from the freebie but next ball Marco well and truly loses his radar and wangs one waaaaay down leg for five wides. GONE! Marsh then tries to bunt a length ball over mid-off but serves only to plink it to Bavuma for a simple catch. First strike for the Proteas. Here comes Steve Smith.

6th over: Australia 27-1 (Warner 13, Smith 0)

Marco Jansen gets the wicket of Marsh for 7.
Marco Jansen gets the wicket of Marsh for 7. Photograph: Prakash Singh/Shutterstock


5th over: Australia 16-0 (Warner 8, Marsh 7) Another tight over from Ngidi, he’s landing it on a dinner plate at the moment, just a single off it. Something’s gotta give soon…

4th over: Australia 15-0 (Warner 7, Marsh 7) Marsh lines up a howitzer drive but fails to connect properly, inside edging into his pad. Ouch. The big man hobbles a single as the ball squirts into the off side. Shot! Warner drives a full ball through cover for a well place four. Jansen hits back by getting some sharp lift, the ball taking the shoulder of Marsh’s bat and looping in the air but landing safe. Well bowled Marco! He beats Marsh with a beauty that passes the edge by a gnat’s eyelash.

3rd over: Australia 7-0 (Warner 2, Marsh 4) Dot follows dot follows dot… Ngidi stitches together a tidy maiden to keep the Aussies under pressure.

2nd over: Australia 7-0 (Warner 2, Marsh 4) Jansen starts with a full ball on the pads and is clipped away for two by Marsh. A single brings the walrus tache’d one onto strike. Jansen stays full and Warner gets a leg-bye. Close! Jansen goes up for an appeal for lbw to one that decked back in but there was an inside edge to save Marsh’s blushes.

1st over: Australia 3-0 (Warner 2, Marsh 1) ZipZip! Ngidi gets the ball kissing the surface and scudding into the Aussie openers. Marsh tucks off his toes for a single and Warner tickles a full ball fine for two to open his account. Certainly some signs of life for the SA bowlers to exploit. Marco Jansen – or Proteas Rhys Meyers/Souped up Alan Mullally as I like to call him – is going to share the new ball from the t’other end.

Marco Jansen bowls.
Marco Jansen steams in as David Warner watches on. Photograph: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images


Righto, let’s do this. Australia need 312 runs to get their campaign back on track. Mitch Marsh and David ‘Davey’ Warner stride out to the middle. Lungi Ngidi has the new nut in his hand, PLAY!


Thanks JP and hello everyone! Well that was interesting wasn’t it? Australia were all over the place in the field, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them shell so many catches in an ODI game, scrambled brains and Trex fingers. Then again South Africa probably left about fifty odd runs out there after there after De Kock gave them a platform for a humongous score. The players are flitting around the boundary, Australia’s chase will be underway shortly. The World Cup titans couldn’t lose two in two could they*?

*Reader, they could.


South Africa 311-7 from their 50 overs

The Proteas head to the interval in the ascendancy in Lucknow but for much of their 50 overs they will have felt disappointed with their eventual total of 311-7. Quinton de Kock set the tone with his second century in as many world cup matches, but around him six batters got in without pushing on to make a decisive contribution.

Australia clung on by their fingernails and will be thrilled to have kept South Africa nearer 300 than 350 after one of their worst performances in the field in modern times. Pat Cummins tried seven bowlers inside 16 overs as his side failed to figure out the nature of the pitch, eventually landing on Glenn Maxwell to keep his country in the game. Belatedly, an off-pace bouncer strategy paid dividends, but by the time that memo arrived most of the damage was done.

Much of this was self-inflicted. Australia fielded atrociously, dropping catches left right and centre. Stoinis, Starc, Cummins, Inglis, Zampa and Abbott were all guilty to some degree of failing to capitalise on an opportunity.

The question now is how much have each side learned from the first 50 overs on this relaid pitch, and how much will conditions evolve under lights?

South Africa have two quality spinners, as well as a pace attack that must surely be itching to bowl those cutter bumpers. Australia know they cannot afford a second defeat in a row.

It should be a fun run chase and James Wallace is on hand to guide you through it. I’ll catch you back here soon.


50th over: South Africa 311-7 (Rabada 0, Maharaj 0) Starc closes out the South African innings with a double-wicket maiden! What an over. There was a leg-bye in there but that was part of a death bowling clinic.

WICKET! Miller b Starc 17 (South Africa 311-7)

Superb from Starc, following up the dismissal of Jansen with a yorker into the toes of Rabada, a wide yorker out of reach of Miller, then a straight yorker that makes a mess of the left-hander’s stumps. Fast bowling of the highest order.

WICKET! Jansen c Warner b Starc 26 (South Africa 310-6)

Finally Australia hold a catch. Short and at the body from Starc. Jansen goes for the heave but connects high on the splice, lobbing a simple chance to the safe mitts of Warner at mid-on.

49th over: South Africa 310-5 (Miller 17, Jansen 26) Hubris, thy name is Maxy. After roaring his disapproval of a misfield earlier in the day it is Australia’s best bowler who commits a sin, allowing a Miller drive through his hands that becomes two free runs. Worse is to come when the same batter miscues a pull high in the direction of Starc. The big quick comes in from the square-leg fence, pouches the catch, THEN SPILLS IT diving forward when his elbows hit the turf. This has been an utter horror show in the field for Australia. AND IT GETS WORSE! Jansen edges over the leaping Inglis, then STOINIS DROPS A SITTER at cover. This is absolutely calamitous.

Miller adds insult to injury with the most powerfully pulled six you can imagine. Poor Pat Cummins ends with 1/71 from nine overs.

48th over: South Africa 296-5 (Miller 8, Jansen 21) Two more Jansen dots to start Starc’s eighth over with Miller stranded. Then he does clear the field and they run two! This is excruciating for South Africa.


Out of nowhere Jansen flat bats Starc over long on for six then opens his body and carves a thick edge over gully for four more. Miller on strike for the start of the penultimate over of what is now almost exclusive off-pace bouncers.

47th over: South Africa 284-5 (Miller 8, Jansen 9) Three dots, three singles, and two wides from a Hazlewood over that sees the energy leak out of South Africa’s innings. Australia’s slower-ball bouncer fightback has been impressive but the Proteas have allowed a massive total to slip from their grasp. Now they have Marco Jansen hogging the strike and struggling to nine from 13 balls.

46th over: South Africa 279-5 (Miller 7, Jansen 7) Right on cue, Cummins unfurls another slower delivery into the pitch that Jansen is fortunate to top-edge to safety. The dangerous Miller has yet to get in and he’s barely on strike before Jansen again eats up a dot before heaving a single away. Miller then rejects the opportunity to attack another cutter-bouncer before finally finding the rope with a forceful drive through extra-cover.

45th over: South Africa 272-5 (Miller 2, Jansen 5) Hazlewood, like Cummins before him, follows up a first-ball wicket with a very tidy over. Jansen looks all at sea absorbing three dots, then he contrives to top-edge a shovelled pull over the keeper for a pressure relieving boundary.

It seems clear now that the delivery of choice on this previously unknown surface is the off-pace bouncer.

WICKET! Klaasen c Inglis b Hazlewood 29 (South Africa 267-5)

Two quick wickets for Australia! This one isn’t conventional, but they all count. Another off-pace bouncer – this time from Hazlewood – and Klaasen throws the kitchen sink at it. All he can manage is a cue end that wobbles through to Inglis who takes an unconvincing catch in the webbing of his gloves above his head.

Both set batters have departed in quick succession. Australia will now be confident of keeping their run-chase nearer 300.

44th over: South Africa 267-4 (Klaasen 29, Miller 2) Excellent over from Cummins. The wicket ball was superb and he’s backed it up without conceding a boundary.

“So Australia could go out in the pool stages of a world cup here if they’re not careful,” cautions the rugby-loving Robin Hazlehurst. “What an unprecedented disaster that would be. Has anything like it ever happened before?”

WICKET! Markram c Hazlewood b Cummins 56 (South Africa 263-4)

Huge wicket for Australia – and great bowling from Cummins. To the first delivery of the over Markram stepped to leg to give himself room. Cummins chased him with a slower-ball bouncer that Markram could only guide straight to point. 56 from 44 represents a tidy cameo for South Africa, but something much much bigger was on offer.

43rd over: South Africa 263-3 (Markram 56, Klaasen 27) South Africa continue to launch at everything but Zampa holds his nerve to concede only a single from the first two deliveries of his final over. Then a boundary – just – muscled straight by Markram. Then another, smeared through the covers like a professional field hockey player. And another – the best of the lot – lofted with supreme control over extra cover. Magnificent strokeplay from the man in rare form.

Zampa ends with 1/70. Australia have a problem.

42nd over: South Africa 249-3 (Markram 43, Klaasen 26) South Africa throw the bat at everything Starc sends their way, but they struggle to middle much in an over that eventually goes for six. The bowler does well to earn dots from a disguised slower-ball bouncer and a wide yorker. I think that’s the “execution piece” he was on about pregame.


41st over: South Africa 243-3 (Markram 42, Klaasen 21) Into the final powerplay now which means Australia are allowed one extra fielder outside the ring. That prompts the recall of Zampa to the attack but South Africa are in all-out attack mode now, finding gaps at will. Markram reverse sweeps magnificently for a boundary, then Klaasen drives back over the bowler’s head for four more.

40th over: South Africa 232-3 (Markram 36, Klaasen 16) Mitchell Starc returns and after a couple of singles off the hips of the right-handers Markram slaps a flat pull for six over midwicket! Length is so important on this pitch. Starc soon demonstrates exactly why, bowling fuller and wider, with Klaasen unable to get anything through the field.

39th over: South Africa 223-3 (Markram 28, Klaasen 15) Speaking of Maxwell, he completes his ten overs superbly, restricting South Africa to four singles from his final set of six. He finishes with 10 overs 2/34 without conceding a boundary – inadvertently signposting to the Proteas how they should bowl later on under lights.

38th over: South Africa 219-3 (Markram 26, Klaasen 13) Becalmed for a few overs, South Africa recognise it’s time to put the foot down against Hazlewood. Klaasen goes bang-bang, first cutting powerfully through the offside then slapping a length delivery wide of mid-on. Markram follows up by bunting a poor long-hop behind square on the legside. Glenn Maxwell would be forgiven another primal scream.

37th over: South Africa 205-3 (Markram 21, Klaasen 4) The Lucknow ground is now almost entirely covered in shadow as the sun begins to set. Maxwell continues his good work, and he is absolutely furious when short fine leg and deep square leg fail to communicate and allow Klaasen to return for a second run. Markram then tries to engineer some width but Maxwell is too canny, straightening his line and bowlign to his field. The Victorian has yet to concede a boundary.

36th over: South Africa 200-3 (Markram 20, Klaasen 1) Cummins, perhaps chastened by how dismissive Markram was of his bowling, invites Hazlewood into the attack. He’s quickly onto his Test match line and length forcing South Africa to respect everything sent their way. Just three singles result.

35th over: South Africa 197-3 (Markram 18, Klaasen 0) Maxwell has 2/26 from his eight overs. The Proteas have two top quality frontline spinners who will be enjoying those figures from the pavilion.

WICKET! de Kock b Maxwell 109 (South Africa 197-3)

Maxwell continues to be the pick of Australia’s bowlers, mixing up his pace and angles to land three dots from four balls. De Kock tries to break the shackles, moving into position to switch hit, but he can’t connect cleanly and from a combination of bat edge and pad, the ball collides with the stumps and the zing bails light up. A disappointing end to a fabulous innings. Consecutive tons for Quinton de Kock to launch this world cup.

Quinton de Kock is out after a fine innings.
Quinton de Kock is out after a fine innings. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters


34th over: South Africa 196-2 (de Kock 109, Markram 17) What a shot from Aidan Markram, walking down the pitch and driving Cummins on the up through the covers for four. That was a real enforcer’s move against the Australian skipper. He goes again three balls later with the same shot and the same result! This one might have been even better with such a high left elbow and full face of the bat. Gorgeous batting.

33rd over: South Africa 185-2 (de Kock 108, Markram 7) Maxwell returns to the attack following his promising second spell earlier in the innings, and continues his tidy work, keeping South Africa honest.

“The difference in communication, quality, process and professionalism of the decision review umpires in cricket compared to that released audio from the football Premier League is spectacular,” emails Hugh Molloy. “Just so clear, relaxed and one person clearly in charge. Lessons could be learnt.” They sure could Hugh, although I wish they would just dump football’s VAR in the bin for the rest of time.

A little drinks break statistical palate cleanser.

32nd over: South Africa 181-2 (de Kock 107, Markram 5) That review was one of three dot balls in a tidy over from Cummins. It ended with the ball finding the edge of Markram’s bat and a regulation Test cricket catch in the cordon. Of course, there are no slips at this stage of the innings, so the ball runs away down to third for an easy single.

Review! (Not out)

De Kock may have nicked Cummins behind, but nobody really appeals with any conviction. Umpire Illingworth is unmoved so Cummins half-heartedly sends the call upstairs. Ultraedge shows no spike and de Kock continues.

31st over: South Africa 177-2 (de Kock 104, Markram 4) After the noise dies down following de Kock’s century and the shock of Cummins’ drop, the Proteas return to milking Zampa at a fuss free run-a-ball.

Effectively a T20 now for South Africa. They will be targeting 350+. Australia will hope they can restrict the total to something nearer 300. Tough ask with so much batting still to come.

100 (90) to Quinton de Kock!

30th over: South Africa 171-2 (de Kock 100, Markram 2) Starc’s two-over spell offered little so Cummins brings himself on – AND HE DROPS A CATCH IN HIS FOLLOW THROUGH! Another chance goes begging for Australia. This is so uncharacteristic. As with previous missed opportunities it wasn’t straightforward but Markram bunted a full toss straight back at Cummins at a catchable height but the ball burst through his grasp.

Strike rotated, de Kock brings up his century with a mighty pull over midwicket for six! That was a crisp whipcrack of the bat and a fine exclamation point on a superb innings.

Mitchell Starc drops a catch
Butter fingers! Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters


29th over: South Africa 161-2 (de Kock 91, Markram 1) Out comes Aidan Markram, fresh from whacking the fastest century in world cup history, and he’s fortunate to get off the mark, stepping back and inside-edging a googly he clearly didn’t pick out of the hand.

WICKET! van der Dussen c Sub (Abbott) b Zampa 26 (South Africa 158-2)

Van der Dussen scoops Zampa for a couple to bring up the run-a-ball 50 partnership. Then he dumps a straightforward catch to long-on. He tried to get down the pitch and loft the ball for six but he ended getting too close to the pitch and cramping himself for room. Disappointing for South Africa, just as VDD was going through the gears.

28th over: South Africa 156-1 (de Kock 90, van der Dussen 24) Rassie van der Dussen is in. To prove it, he drives Starc from the crease through the covers for four to become the joint-second fastest man to 2,000 career runs in ODIs. That was all hands and timing, and it marked out a man in very good form.

A few overs ago Australia looked to have engineered their way back into this innings, but that optimism now looks misplaced.

27th over: South Africa 150-1 (de Kock 90, van der Dussen 19) Zampa gets away with a full toss to de Kock, but he’s not so lucky when van der Dussen whips him into the gap between long-on and square leg with a mistimed drive. Australia’s lone spinner is again looking short of the required class to lead an attack in a tournament in these kind of surroundings.

26th over: South Africa 143-1 (de Kock 89, van der Dussen 13) Now Maxwell’s spell of three overs 1/8 is interrupted, which seems odd. Granted it is to bring Starc back into the attack, but it continues the impression that Cummins is chasing his tail out there with little feel for the flow of the game.

De Kock relishes the extra pace, presenting the full face of his bat and sending a full delivery back where it came from, with interest. “Save your legs,” purrs Nasser Hussain on the telly.

25th over: South Africa 136-1 (de Kock 84, van der Dussen 11) After that chaotic Hazlewood over Cummins goes back to Zampa. That seems unnecessarily defensive to me. Especially with van der Dussen in the middle, one of the best players of spin in the world. Another stress free all-run five from the over.

Inglis may be suffering from a fear of damaging his hands when taking fast bowlers’ deliveries,” emails John Starbuck. “It might not be just a Yorkshire thing, as I recall from Ray East’s book ‘A Funny Turn’ (sometime in the mid-1980s) that the Essex skipper/keeper would boast of how firm and solid his gloves were, to the despair of the spinners in the team.”

24th over: South Africa 131-1 (de Kock 82, van der Dussen 8) A much more sober Maxwell innings goes for five run-of-the-mill runs.


23rd over: South Africa 128-1 (de Kock 81, van der Dussen 6) And that pressure almost tells with de Kock clothing a pull that lands short of the legside sweeper. He was lucky he didn’t time that any better. Then he does time one! A scoop! But Marsh is there at fine leg. Surely this out. NO! Yet again Australia fluff their lines on the boundary rope. Marsh came in, recognised he was misreading the flight, took a step back, stumbled and hit the deck as the ball sailed over him and into the fence. That is an instant meme. Oh dear Mitchell Marsh. Now de Kock goes again! This one is mighty! Miles over backward square leg for consecutive sixes!

At the other end Van der Dussen gets off the mark but he looks skittish against Hazlewood, playing from the crease, jabbing his bat down as late as he dares.

17 runs and a chance. That was a very big over.


22nd over: South Africa 109-1 (de Kock 68, van der Dussen 0) Maiden from Maxwell! Things are suddenly much more interesting out there. With the openers together the unspectacular run-rate ceased to be a concern, but now Bavuma’s gone and Australia have found a couple of tight overs, the scoreboard looks more even. Both these batters are now under pressure to wrest the momentum back.

21st over: South Africa 109-1 (de Kock 68, van der Dussen 0) Roused from their slumber, Australia belatedly throw the ball to one of their strike bowlers – Hazlewood. He responds with three challenging dots, one of which thunders painfully into de Kock’s hip. A single brings van der Dussen on strike and he focuses purely on defence to see the over out.

20th over: South Africa 108-1 (de Kock 67, van der Dussen 0) Bavuma departs trying to move things along. His score was 35 from 55 deliveries so it was time he put his foot on the gas. Anyway, he did his job, blunting Australia early and laying the foundation for his middle-order hitters.

WICKET! Bavuma c Warner b Maxwell 35 (South Africa 108-1)

Another bowling change – and it’s Maxwell replacing Stoinis. I cannot fathom the method to Australia’s approach here. Are they waiting for the shadows to come across the ground before going hard with pace again? Is their illness in the camp? It’s all just so passive, as if they’re happy waiting for a mistake.


Right on cue, Bavuma goes down on one knee and slog sweeps straight to Warner on the midwicket fence.

Glenn Maxwell celebrates taking the wicket of Temba Bavuma
Glenn Maxwell makes the breakthrough! Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images


19th over: South Africa 105-0 (de Kock 64, Bavuma 35) South Africa have settled into Zampa’s rhythm now, bunting the leggie around Lucknow for five singles.

“I had a feeling that one of England or Australia wouldn’t make the semi-finals,” emails Kevin Wilson. “Initially, I thought England may have peaked, but this game could end up well beyond Australia if Klaasen and Miller don’t arrive at the crease until the last 10-15 overs. But then maybe neither will qualify, and it will be India, NZ, SA and Pakistan (which is what I would currently bet on)?” On form, I’d put SA in the top four alongside India.

18th over: South Africa 100-0 (de Kock 61, Bavuma 33) Stoinis gets a second over, but it’s not a very good one. South Africa only manage three singles from it though, with Bavuma missing out on a mighty pull at the end to one of those deliveries that rises unexpectedly high from short of a length.

17th over: South Africa 97-0 (de Kock 59, Bavuma 32) Will the drinks break bring a wicket? Hard no. De Kock starts Zampa’s over with a powerful sweep in front of square for four, then a wristy reverse behind point for four more!

Australia’s approach so far has looked very muddled. Seven bowlers, not backing in the quicks for long spells. Now relying on the solitary spinner they’ve brought on tour. The only thing going in their favour is at least they know what they’re going to have to chase.

16th over: South Africa 88-0 (de Kock 50, Bavuma 32) Over 16 heralds bowler seven! This is so un-Australian. Bavuma welcomes Marcus Stoinis to the crease by belting him over mid-on for four. He tries again three balls later, squarer this time, higher this time – and there’s a fielder out there! It’s Sean Abbott… he takes the catch on the rope… looks like he’s losing balance… offloads the ball for the relay catch… but he misses his partner Starc and the chance goes begging!

Bavuma escapes. De Kock nudges the required single to bring up a 51-ball half-century.


Quinton de Kockon his way to his half century.
Quinton de Kockon his way to his half century. Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images


15th over: South Africa 80-0 (de Kock 49, Bavuma 25) Zampa continues to land the ball on a very good line and length. There’s not a lot of turn or bounce but the Australian leggie is keeping both batters watchful. After 11 deliveries of his spell South Africa can muster only four runs, but de Kock doubles that tally with one crisp drive over mid-off to bring the over to a close. South Africa are giving the air of quiet assurance.

14th over: South Africa 74-0 (de Kock 44, Bavuma 24) Over No 14 for South Africa, bowler No 6 for Australia. Mitch Marsh doesn’t cover himself in glory with his introduction to the attack, dropping harmlessly short and allowing the Proteas’ openers to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

13th over: South Africa 68-0 (de Kock 42, Bavuma 20) A TV graphic tells me South Africa are – by some margin – the best team in ODIs in 2023 during the middle overs. They have an excellent platform to demonstrate that once again today. And their ability to play Adam Zampa will be crucial with Australia’s solitary frontline spinner coming into the attack.

The leggie starts beautifully, tying up de Kock with the left-hander unsure whether the ball is turning into or away from him. Again though, Inglis’s glovework leaves a lot to be desired, shelling a ball that was nowhere near the outside edge. But then – oh no – was that a nick? It looked like a regulation outside edge from Bavuma but Inglis couldn’t hold on standing up! That decision to drop Carey could have unintended consequences. Replays indicate the edge was so thick it was a very very hard chance for the keeper. In the end it bounced on Inglis’s outstretched right thigh because it was so difficult to get his gloves across in time.


12th over: South Africa 66-0 (de Kock 41, Bavuma 19) I wonder if South Africa are targeting the first ball of Cummins’ over? It was Bavuma getting away with one last time, on this occasion it’s de Kock throwing the kitchen sink at one – but he gets a whole heap more than his skipper did, hooking a six over fine-leg! After winning the toss and putting the Proteas in this is not what Australia would have hoped for.

11th over: South Africa 59-0 (de Kock 34, Bavuma 19) After that one tight over, South Africa resume knocking Maxwell around for easy singles. The spinner does beat Bavuma’s bat on one occasion but the ball ricochets in and out of Inglis’s gloves with worrying force. There was no edge or stumping opportunity, but still – very hard hands. Not unfamiliar to modern Yorkshire-born keepers.

10th over: South Africa 53-0 (de Kock 30, Bavuma 17) YES IT DOES! First delivery of the over, Bavuma tries to launch Cummins into the Himalayas off a length. The ball spirals off the top edge and down towards third. Surely it’s out. No! Zampa is deceived by the flight and eventually has to make do with stopping the boundary. That was a wild rush of blood to the head from the South African skipper but he got away with it. Cummins continues the pressure with a couple of dots and a streaky inside-edge as the pressure builds. But de Kock releases it with one free swing of the bat, clubbing four through midwicket. Superb counterpunch to keep South Africa in the ascendancy early on.

9th over: South Africa 46-0 (de Kock 25, Bavuma 15) Maxwell finds his line and length in his second over, rattling through his work and conceding just the one single Jadeja-style. Let’s see if that skerrick of pressure forces an error.

8th over: South Africa 45-0 (de Kock 25, Bavuma 14) Double change for Australia with Cummins bringing himself into the attack. Bavuma moves to nine from 20 deliveries with a dab down to third, then 13 from 22 with his first forceful shot of the day, whipping his opposing skipper off his toes and through midwicket for an assertive boundary.

This has been very good so far from the Proteas. Few scares, controlled aggression, superb running and strike rotation. Australia are already searching for something to happen.

7th over: South Africa 38-0 (de Kock 24, Bavuma 8) Glenn Maxwell into the attack early to see if the surface takes some spin. The early signs are that the Lucknow pitch is receptive but the Australian allrounder struggles to find a consistent line and length, allowing South Africa’s openers to work him around for easy singles.

From what we’ve seen so far, South Africa’s decision to go in with two frontline spinners looks vindicated. Nothing flash on offer for the pacemen, a hint of turn for Maxwell.

6th over: South Africa 32-0 (de Kock 22, Bavuma 5) De Kock finds the boundary again – this time only for four runs – with a sweetly timed square drive that’s drilled into the square, bouncing up and over point and away for runs. Four more soon afterwards as South Africa get motoring, but this one is all byes with the second attempted bouncer of the match by Hazlewood taking a trampoline bounce and looping miles over Inglis. Safe to say this relaid surface lacks consistency. Cummins tweaks his field, pushing Maxwell out to cover sweeper and bringing third up. What does de Kock do? That’s right, a gorgeous late cut to run the ball down to the recently vacated fielding position for the third boundary of the over.

5th over: South Africa 19-0 (de Kock 14, Bavuma 5) Starc continues to bowl full, targeting the stumps and pads, but he errs on the legside to both batters. He goes unpunished until de Kock flicks the ball on the half-volley near his front angle, levering it up and over the square-leg fence. The aesthetics of that were very pleasing, from Starc’s elastic left arm delivery flowing into de Kock’s left-handed swoosh in one continuous motion. Having navigated those early overs, South Africa are away.

4th over: South Africa 11-0 (de Kock 7, Bavuma 4) Hazlewood has settled into his trademark line and length and South Africa are not interested in hitting him off it. De Kock does aim a waft at a very short, very high bouncer though, catching a glove that clears Inglis and away for four.

As per Adam’s tweet below, beneath his short sleeved yellow jersey Starc is wearing green compression sleeves. It’s an odd look.

3rd over: South Africa 7-0 (de Kock 3, Bavuma 4) Oi oi! Starc was tidy but unthreatening in his opening over, but he begins his second with an absolute jaffa, angling in, swinging late – away from de Kock – beating the outside edge of the bat and the top of off stump by millimetres. After a strike rotation Starc drops in the slider across Bavuma, who was set for the in-swinger. Superb bowling. Is that the set up for the big hooping yorker? IT IS! Bavuma edges it… but it’s so low on the bat it bounces before it reaches the tumbling Inglis. Wonderful bowling from Mitchell Starc.

2nd over: South Africa 6-0 (de Kock 2, Bavuma 4) Hazlewood, the No 1 ranked bowler in ODIs shares the new ball for Australia. Bavuma remains busy, clipping two to square leg, defending with intent and leaving with conviction. Not sure we’ve learnt anything significant about the pitch yet.

I forgot to tell you that the umpires today are Joel Wilson and Richard Illingworth.

Josh Hazlewood bowls to de Kock.
Josh Hazlewood with his best foot forward. Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images


1st over: South Africa 4-0 (de Kock 2, Bavuma 2) Starc, coming over the wicket to both batters, is very full, attempting to maximise any swing on offer. There’s a touch, but de Kock uses it to angle a run to the offside, Bavuma to leg. Both openers then work singles forward of square, demonstrating an air of busyness and good match awareness. No fireworks early.

“A lot of hype behind the lanky lad but he’s not done much of note in 2023 apart from take some blinders in the gully,” emails Ben Bernards on the topic of Cameron Green being dropped. “Out of form with the bat and his bowling is cannon fodder on these decks.”

Australia, lids to studs in egg yolk yellow (including some beautiful wide brim floppy hats), take the field.

South Africa’s openers, Quinton de Kock and Temba Bavuma, join them out in the middle. They ate dressed all in forest green.

The umpires are wearing magenta tops and black slacks.

The main protagonists are set. The crowd is non-existent. Let’s cricket!

Anthem time. Nkosi sikelel’ Afrika is one of the best.

“Hi Jonathan.” Hi Peter Salmon! It’s been too long. “I note Josh Inglis is a Yorkshireman. Bodes well.” Indeed Pete. Here’s his pre-Ashes pen pic.

Josh Inglis

Age 28 Caps 0 Wicketkeeper/right-hand bat
Born in Leeds before changing hemispheres, Inglis still retains something of the accent of his opposition, but has the unmistakable attitude of Perth. A star for Western Australia, he is the utility in this Ashes squad, as the reserve wicketkeeper who could also fill any vacant spot in the batting.

Mitchell Starc has just had a few words with the host broadcaster. I like him a lot, and I’m sure he said something relevant but I really couldn’t concentrate after he repeatedly used the phrases “execution piece” and “adaption piece” early in the, um, piece. What are execution and adaption pieces?

I think going forward I might have to drill down and leverage some of the competencies vis-a-vis Australia’s pregame messaging.


Adam sees the upside in Inglis.

Geoff’s unconvinced about Alex Carey’s axing.

South Africa XI

Just the one change for South Africa and it’s the spinner Shamsi coming in for the pace of Coetzee. Time will tell if the surface warrants the inclusion of the left-arm wrist spinner but it makes sense by virtue of the opposition alone. Shamsi enjoyed his series against Australia before the world cup, and we saw how uncomfortable the Aussies are with left-arm spin the other day.

South Africa: 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Temba Bavuma (capt), 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 Aiden Markram, 5 Heinrich Klaasen, 6 David Miller, 7 Marco Jansen, 8 Tabraiz Shamsi, 9 Keshav Maharaj, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Lungi Ngidi

Tabraiz Shamsi will bowl spin for South Africa against Australia.
Tabraiz Shamsi will bowl spin for South Africa against Australia. Photograph: Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images


Australia XI

An unexpectedly decisive couple of selections from Australia with Marcus Stoinis replacing Cameron Green in the allrounder role, and in a major move Josh Inglis has taken the gloves from the out-of-sorts Alex Carey. So early in a tournament that suggests Carey’s demotion has been a long time coming.

Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Mitchell Marsh, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Josh Inglis (wk), 7 Marcus Stoinis, 8 Pat Cummins (capt), 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Josh Inglis will keep wicket for Australia in Lucknow.
Josh Inglis will keep wicket for Australia in Lucknow. Photograph: Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC/Getty Images


Australia win the toss and will field first

“Not too sure what to make of the wicket,” explains Pat Cummins. Hence why he was quick to send the Proteas in and find out what it’s going to do.

Australia win the toss in Lucknow.
Australia win the toss in Lucknow. Photograph: Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC/Getty Images


Australia have had to travel from Chennai on the south east coast up to the northern city of Lucknow. Despite the airtime, conditions remain similar: stiflingly hot and humid. For South Africa it’s been a comparatively short hop from Delhi.

It’s anyone’s guess how the pitch is going to play because the old square was relaid and the head groundsman sacked after this year’s IPL. Prior to that runs were hard to come by.

Matthew Hayden has filed a pitch report and he’s identified a decent covering of grass as well as noting that the hessian covering was not removed until close to the toss, so there should still be moisture under the top. Consensus appears to be bowl first upon winning the toss.

There’s also going to be a notably shorter square boundary, and one very long straight boundary to consider out in the middle.

The Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium can accommodate around 50,000 spectators.

The Lucknow pitch has not been used before in an ODI.
The Lucknow pitch has not been used before in an ODI. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

South Africa meanwhile are on the up. They’ve won their last four matches in a row (including three against Australia) – a record that extends to nine wins from 13 ODIs this calendar year. Four South African batters average well over 50 in the format in 2023 (Bavuma, Markram, Miller, Klaasen) and the Proteas have five bowlers averaging under 30 after taking at least ten wickets (Magala, Maharaj, Shamsi, Rabada, Coetzee). Marco Jansen doesn’t appear on either list but he does average 37 with the bat at a strike-rate of 121, and his team-best 18 wickets have come at a respectable 35.

As Ali Martin reports, this is a different South Africa under the leadership of Temba Bavuma, one that could finally end the country’s long trophy drought.

Neil Manthorp, who has charted the pulse of South African cricket like few others over the years, detects a strong bond having developed under the stoic Bavuma in response to years of players being mucked around by a dysfunctional board. Test cricket has, rather heartbreakingly, been pushed to the margins, but the advent of the SA20 and its bumper contracts has also provided the kind of wider financial security that was hitherto the preserve of the big guns.

Geoff Lemon has more on Australia’s defeat to India and how the make-up of the squad is far from ideal for some of the playing conditions they will face this world cup.

That squad of 15 must be picked for the whole tournament, not the opening fixture. That first match may be against a team with a top-tier spin attack in conditions to suit. The next eight meetings of the group stage, less so. No other team can create quite that disparity. More common will be higher scores on flatter pitches ringed by small boundaries, where fast-bowling prowess may be Australia’s own point of advantage.

At least that is the theory. Australia’s next two fixtures are at Lucknow, where the head groundsman was recently sacked by the Indian board because his surface had too much turn. South Africa have two fine practitioners of the slow arts in Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, left-armers of orthodox and unorthodox persuasions. Sri Lanka have the perplexing variations of Maheesh Theekshana and another left-armer in Dunith Wellalage. Australia’s batting has to find a way, and the long game has a week to prove its worth.

Nobody has anything better to do at any point of any day than listen to the KLF. And that includes right now.

The KLF did go on to build a fire, and chucked a million quid on it.


Hello everybody and welcome to live OBO coverage of match 10 of the 2023 Cricket World Cup. Australia v South Africa will get under way in Lucknow at 2pm local time (7.30pm AEDT/9.30am BST).

It might only be Australia’s second outing this World Cup, but it is a surprisingly loaded one following their comprehensive defeat to India on Sunday.

It is a long old group phase, but Pat Cummins’ men won’t enjoy the prospect of coming back from an 0-2 start.

There’s also the problem of the makeup of the Australian XI. India prevailed in Chennai thanks in no small part to their three frontline spinners; Australia have only brought one equivalent on tour. Their success now seems almost entirely reliant on finding surfaces that allow them to maximise their world-leading pace attack. Cummins has said he is expecting exactly that in Lucknow, on a track that was relaid earlier this year.

Not that South Africa will overly mind if conditions are lively. Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi and Gerald Coetzee offer a formidable array of weaponry of their own. All took wickets against Sri Lanka, and only Ngidi failed to take at least two.

But the key takeaway from the Proteas’ opening victory was the record breaking batting. Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, and Aidan Markram all smashed tons, the latter belting the fastest century in World Cup history. Markram also hit a ton against Australia a few weeks ago, during an ODI series South Africa won 3-2. There were also centuries that tour for Temba Bavuma and Heinrich Klassen, indicating there’s no shortage of runs at the top of the order.

That should do for now, so settle in while I steer you through the pregame and first innings, after which James Wallace will see you through to the end of play.

If you’d like to get in touch while I’m on, please fire all communication to

Pat Cummins
Australia were well beaten by India in their opening match and must rebound against South Africa. Photograph: Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC/Getty Images
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