Australia have secured a 3-0 Twenty20 clean sweep against South Africa after a Travis Head onslaught inspired them to secure a five-wicket win in the series finale in Durban.
In reply to South Africa’s 190 for eight at Kingsmead, Head thumped a career-high 91 off 48 balls to help lift Australia to victory with 13 balls to spare. Josh Inglis (42 off 22 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (37 not out off 21) joined in, but it was Head who was the unstoppable force for most of the innings.
Head, whose previous highest score in a T20 international was a 48 not out, cracked six sixes and eight fours in his blistering knock. He was given a life on 55 when Temba Bavuma dropped a tough diving attempt.
Bavuma eventually got his man with a catch in the deep off the bowling of Bjorn Fortuin, but Australia only needed five more runs for victory by that stage. Head had posted scores of just 18 and six in the first two matches, yet his display on Sunday is an ominous warning for South Africa ahead of the upcoming five-match one-day international series, starting on 7 September.
“It’s nice to be back and contributing,” Head told Fox Cricket. “There’s been limited opportunities in this format for a while. I’d been struggling a little bit to find my tempo and how I wanted to go about it at the top. I spoke to a few boys, and it was nice to contribute tonight.”
Mitchell Marsh was named man of the series after plundering 186 runs from 100 balls across his three innings in a stunning start to his reign as captain.
“I’m really proud of a pretty young group coming over here and winning the series 3-0,” Marsh said. “We had a great team effort. We prepared really well, and we took the game on. We had a bit of luck at times, but as a team we had the mentality of being really positive.”
The Australia pace bowler Sean Abbott was the visitors’ hero with the ball in game three after snaring career-best figures of four for 31 to restrict South Africa to a total under 200. South Africa slumped to 12 for two in the third over but handy knocks from the captain, Aiden Markram (41 off 23 balls), Reeza Hendricks (42 off 30) and Tristan Stubbs (25 off 16) helped to steady the ship.
Donovan Ferreira then provided the late fireworks with 48 off 21 balls, after South Africa had slumped to 122 for six on the back of a middle-order slump of six for three. Abbott claimed a double-wicket maiden to instill the middle-order rot, while Stoinis did the early damage before being pummelled late, ending with figures of two for 39.
Spinner Tanveer Sangha, who snared four for 31 on debut in the series opener before being squeezed out for game two, should have had a wicket in his first over. Hendricks was on 18 when he was struck on the midriff by a Sangha delivery. The ball bounced down and hit the base of leg stump with some force – but the bail didn’t budge.
Sangha ended the match with figures of one for 39, while Nathan Ellis copped the brunt of South Africa’s onslaught, especially when Ferreira was at full force, shipping 50 runs for no wickets.