Australia skipper Aaron Finch didn't try to hide after the loss to South Africa in the first ODI. Picture: Getty
Australia skipper Aaron Finch didn't try to hide after the loss to South Africa in the first ODI. Picture: Getty

Blame bowlers for humiliation, not batsmen

SOUTH African spearhead Dale Steyn has argued Australia's batsmen shouldn't be copping the blame for the embarrassing summer opening loss in Perth.

Steyn described the Proteas' bowling performance as "relentless" and says the difference in the match was the fact Australia's quicks couldn't match them.

It seems a bizarre defence after Australia's top order capitulated to be all out for 152, giving the bowlers very little to work with as they slumped to a chastening six-wicket defeat.

However, Steyn insists it was Australia's bowlers that let their side down not the batsmen who were all outclassed by the No.9 Nathan Coulter-Nile who top scored with 34.

"No I don't think they need to be too embarrassed by it. I think the conditions were tough and throw another 30, 40 runs on there and it becomes quite a tricky chase," Steyn said.

"I'm going to put it down to our bowling today and not their side.

South Africa players celebrate as Aaron Finch leaves the field after being dismissed for just five runs.
South Africa players celebrate as Aaron Finch leaves the field after being dismissed for just five runs.

"I'm going to go back to the bowling and I think we outbowled them. I don't think they bowled as well as they potentially could have.

"They did everything they could with the bat, throw another 40 maybe 50 runs on there, 200 is a difficult chase. But we outbowled them and their bowlers didn't bowl as well as they potentially could have, so that was the difference."

Australia slumped to be 3-8 in the early overs and never recovered with Alex Carey's 33 the only show of fight from any of the batsmen.

South Africa won the toss and gave Australia a lesson in how to apply unyielding pressure.

Steyn refused to declare Australia's confidence to be shot despite the fact they've now lost 17 of their past 19 ODIs.

"It's tough to tell. I thought this wicket was tough to bat on," he said.

 

The decision to bowl Nathan Coulter-Nile first backfired.
The decision to bowl Nathan Coulter-Nile first backfired.

"This wicket had something in it and I think our bowlers were relentless with their lines and their lengths and just made it extremely difficult to score.

"When Australia scored runs they had to take a risk and play good shots off good balls rather than good shots off bad balls and when you're bowling good balls all the time you're questioning and you're putting guys under pressure and their technique and ability to score.

"I thought we bowled really well."

For Steyn it was a triumphant return to Australian soil after he thought his career had ended two years ago in Perth when he broke down mid-Test with a shoulder injury.

When Steyn dismissed D'Arcy Short as his second victim in the third over, he leapt into the air in unbridled jubilation.

The next match is on Friday in Adelaide.

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