‘Absolute scenes’: Aussies bulldoze rivals
Australia have returned to South Africa for the first time since the sandpaper scandal and left the local crowd up in arms.
In the first of three T20 contests, the crowd at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg couldn't believe what they were seeing as the Aussies steamrolled South Africa for only 89 runs to win the opener by 107 runs.
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The paltry display by the home side sees them enter the record books for all the wrong reasons with their total the lowest they've ever recorded in an international T20 contest.
The home crowd erupted when Aussie opener David Warner was sent packing after only two balls, but from then on it was all one-way traffic.
Steve Smith (45) and Aaron Finch (42) combined to put on an 80 run partnership as the pair helped guide the Aussies to a commanding score of 6/196.
Set an imposing total the local team and fans were quickly thrown into turmoil when skipper Quinton de Kock saw his stumps ripped out of the ground at the hands of Mitchell Starc.
Pat Cummins then got in on the act by claiming the next two wickets as South Africa fell to 3/38.
But with Faf du Plessis at the crease hope remained of a comeback victory, enter Ashton Agar.
The left arm spinner pulled out arguably his finest bowling display on the international stage, finishing with figures of 5/24 from his four overs, the best figures ever by an Aussie in an international T20.
"A memorable performance from Australia's left-arm spinner," a commentator on Fox Cricket's coverage said.
Agar's remarkable display included a a hat-trick that put an end to South Africa's charge towards victory.
You can watch Agar's hat-trick in the video player above
Du Plessis holed out to Kane Richardson before Agar nabbed Andile Phehlukwayo LBW. The final wicket came thanks to a ripping catch from Aaron Finch at first slip.
Agar becomes just the second Aussie to claim a T20I hat-trick after Brett Lee's efforts all the way back in 2007.
""It was really exciting; a highlight of my cricketing life. It was made easy by Starc, Cummins and Richardson bowling in front of me," Agar said after being named man of the match.
Absolute scenes at the Wanderers. Ashton Agar with a hattrick and Australia on course for a dominant victory #SAvAUS— Michael Ramsey (@mramsey37) February 21, 2020
South African skipper Quinton de Kock was left dismayed after the contest over what had just unfolded.
"I am not quite sure what happened here. The energy was there but the skills just weren't enough. Obviously we try and pride ourselves with our fielding and we weren't at our best today," he said.
#SAvAUS: Quinton de Kock won the toss and elected to be annihilated by the brilliant Aussies. They were impeccable with the bat, superb with the bowling, and the catching was outstanding.— Ndim' uSihle Mlambo ✍🏿️ (@SihleSays) February 21, 2020
The two sides will square off once again on Sunday night at 11:30pm (AEDT) when they meet at St. George's Park in Port Elizabeth.