Australia failed to learn from their batting errors at Perth as their inability to extend promising partnerships led them to a sub-par 231 in the second ODI in Adelaide, giving South Africa a chance to win an ODI series in Australia for the first time since 2009. Kagiso Rabada made up for a wicket-less outing in Perth with four in Adelaide, and was at the heart of South Africa's ploy to disrupt any attempt from the hosts to revive their batting fortunes.
After throwing away wickets to Andile Phehlukwayo - the lesser pacer operating alongside the high-octane trio of Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Dale Steyn - in Perth, Australia gifted wickets to his replacement for the second game, Dwaine Pretorius - who finished with figures of 3 for 32.
Australia benefitted from Shaun Marsh's return after a minor injury, as he and captain Aaron Finch put on a partnership that showed promise of helping the team overcome their recent struggle and maybe even turn over a new leaf. Finch, who had another DRS nightmare - this time for Travis Head's LBW call - was slow to start against Dale Steyn's opening spell before opening up and playing his shots through covers and behind point.
Marsh was the more sedate party to the partnership that ensured Australia scored at more than five-an-over, but was undone by the extra bit of bounce from South Africa's first-change pacer - Rabada. That his 54-run stand with Finch would remain Australia's best in the game showed what was at the heart of Australia's batting woes.
Still determined to address some of it, Finch carried on and was well on his way to a half-century, before a cheeky attempt to dab an innocuous length ball away led to his exit. Pretorius's (lack of) pace may have tempted Finch to take the risk, considering there were no easy avenues for run-making at the other end. But, the lack of width on the delivery resulted in an inside edge off Finch's bat onto the stumps.
Chris Lynn, who had already made a restrained start, had more pressure to deal with after Finch's exit. There was a commendable show of patience, until a frenzied Rabada over where he decided to cut loose. The most exciting five deliveries of the innings ensued - a disdainful six over extra cover, a hit over the bowler's head, a cut behind point and a pull through midwicket. Rabada bent his back a little more, dug the ball shorter and challenged Lynn to go after him for the sixth time in the over. Lynn obliged, but ended up gloving the excellent bouncer to de Kock for a run-a-ball 44.
Glenn Maxwell and Carey picked up the pieces and tried putting it all together, before the unsuspecting Pretorius arrived again to disrupt recovery. Maxwell, who was starting to look settled, ended up trying to cut a delivery that had width, but wasn't short enough. The result - another simple catch for de Kock, reducing Australia to 166 for 5 in the 34th over. For the third time in the match, a Pretorius delivery that should've at least been seen off - if not put away - brought him a wicket when Stoinis thought it fit to smash the medium pacer over the leg side field but didn't quite connect. Reeza Hendricks's well-timed effort at mid-wicket to jump and grab a one-hander was inversely proportional to Stoinis's abject decision-making.
Carey showed some resilience but had no convincing co-conspirators to combine with at the other end. Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc were undone by extra pace of one of their kind - Dale Steyn - while Carey became Rabada's third and de Kock's fourth victim of the game. Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood threw their bat around and dragged the team forward, before being halted in their tracks by a mean bouncer from Rabada that Zampa just couldn't avoid swatting to David Miller at mid-wicket.
Brief Scores: Australia 231 in 48.3 overs (Alex Carey 47, Chris Lynn 44; Kagiso Rabada 4-54, Dwaine Pretorius 3-32) vs South Africa