The real ODI stuff against Australia may only begin on Sunday in Perth but Proteas batsman Aiden Markram didn’t have an excuse for their four-wicket loss against the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra.
Paceman Jason Behrendorff and leg-spinner Usman Qadir took three wickets apiece as South Africa was shot out for 173 in 42 overs.
Markram‚ who opened the batting with Quinton de Kock‚ top-scored with a 49-ball 47 while David Miller added 45 from 55 deliveries.
The devil in the South African batting detail lay in the three top-order ducks conceded by De Kock‚ Reeza Hendricks and Farhaan Behardien as the Proteas struggled to put together meaningful partnerships.
Dale Steyn (20)‚ Kagiso Rabada (28) and Lungi Ngidi (10) put together the necessary tail-end runs that gave South Africa the mildly defendable total.
“We’ve been here for two nights so I don’t think it’s an excuse. We had an optional training session for guys to find their feet but we know the time zone is a bit different here.
“However‚ I don’t think it’s a reason behind us not delivering the goods here‚” Markram said.
“I thought we were a touch rusty and not at the required intensity levels but we’ll turn it up a notch going into the first ODI.”
While 174 was always going to be difficult to defend‚ early scalps from Ngidi‚ Rabada and Steyn reduced the Prime Minister’s XI to 53/3 in the 10th over.
However‚ 50’s from rising star Josh Philippe and captain George Bailey steadied the ship. Another young prospect in Jason Sangha put together a composed 64-ball 38 to ease the composite side to victory.
While the Prime Minister’s XI wasn’t chock-full of internationals‚ Markram said there’s no easy game against any Australian side.
Australia’s ODI side hasn’t covered itself in glory recently but Markram said they needed to raise their own intensity.
Markram also said the loss gave them the necessary scope for introspection.
“I don’t think there’s an easy game and definitely not against Australia.
“We’re going to have to be on the mark come the first ODI and we have to be at the right intensity levels to deliver the goods‚” Markram said.
“It’s a good gauge for each person to see how much work needs to be done.
“There are a lot of positives that can be drawn from this game but there are also questions that need answering and there’s enough time for that.”