AUSTRALIA has suffered its biggest single-day swing against its closest rival, with a 1-0 win over South Africa at the MCG, setting up a crucial three-Test series against India.
Key points:”The only thing I can say is the best we can hope for is a very good result”South Africa coach Phil Hughes says”It was a really, really, very good win,” Hughes said.
“We didn’t get the best out of the players.
It was a big win.”
But it was the best that we can expect.
“South Africa, who had won just two of the previous 17 matches, was down to its last four players for the first time in the series, with captain Paul van der Merwe missing out after fracturing a bone in his ankle.
The win gave South Africa its third consecutive series win and its fourth straight against India, after the visitors’ first defeat of the series was in New Zealand in 2017.”
It’s always a good opportunity for us to win, especially at home, but there’s a lot of pressure on us,” Hughes told BBC Sport.”
In a lot more ways than just the game itself, this is a huge opportunity for the team, especially for our young players.
“I think this was the first game we really had a chance of doing that.
It’s not like we played any other team that we didn’t have any chance of winning.”
Hughes said he had seen “no evidence” of the injury sustained by South Africa’s all-time leading scorer, Tendai Mtawarira, during the first half.
“He was injured, and I think he’s had a few scans.
We haven’t seen any evidence of it, but I do think it’s something that needs to be looked into,” Hughes added.”
The first game of this series is probably the toughest we’ll play and the hardest we’ll be going for a while.”‘
We’re not going to make a mistake’South Africa were led by top-scorer Tendai Makhaya, who finished with 28 touches and two goals in the victory.
South Africa also had a number of other promising performers on show, with the likes of Tjaronn Cherrington, Shaun Marsh, Aaron Smith and Aaron Finch all contributing.
South African skipper Michael Clarke was also involved in the game, but was absent for the second Test due to an ankle injury sustained in the third quarter.
The match, which was played in the middle of a warm and humid Australian summer, saw the scoreline stand at 4-4, with South Africa leading 2-0.
“If you look at what happened in the first two Tests, we had a couple of very good tries from both sides, and in that match we were in front of our half-time whistle and were playing a lot better football,” Hughes admitted.
“South Australia were on top of us, but we knew that, and we were not going a perfect job of keeping that in check.”
For us, this game is really important, and the next one is a big one for us.””
It’ll be really good to see the South African side play again in the next two days and be in a position where they have the opportunity to go for a win.