When it comes to dominance over an opposition Australia’s 27-year unbeaten streak against South Africa is hard to top.
The all-conquering Aussies made it 15 wins from 16 ODI encounters on Saturday at the Adelaide Oval after a strangling bowling performance led by 200-gamer, and hometown hero, Megan Schutt.
Since the first 50-over match between the two nations in 1997, a tie in 2016 is the closest the Proteas have come to taking down their nemesis.
Having flexed some muscle in the three T20s which preceded the opening ODI, which including a victory in the second match, the tourists wilted in the Adelaide heat as first Schutt then Kim Garth (2-18) then spin star Alana King who took 3-19 in as the Australian attack proved impossible to get away.
South Africa managed just 9-105, not helped by captain and superstar all-rounder Marizanne Kapp being forced to retire hurt after being hit on the elbow by a throw at the stumps from Ash Gardner in the outfield.
At that stage Kapp, who was sent for scans, had 50 runs, nearly half of her team’s then total of 93, when she left the field in the 27th over. In a stroke of luck for South Africa, there was no fracture in her elbow, and Kapp could yet play in the final two ODIs and the Test match.
But the small total was then easily eaten up by home team in just 19 overs , with star batter Beth Mooney making an unbeaten 52 with eight fours, as Australia reached 2-106 to register a third win across the opening four matches of the multi-format series.
The victory was Australia’s 20th from the last 21 matches on home soil, and eight in a row since a single losing the ODI series to England in the 2023 Ashes.
Schutt, who became just the sixth Australian woman to reach 200 games, said it was “fate” that she got to play her milestone match on her home ground.
She said she’d exploit her knowledge of the home conditions, and did just that.
The 32-year-old seamer was impossible to score off in a stunning opening five-over spell during which she conceded just a solitary run, boasting figures of 1-1.
There were her final figures too, not needed to bowl again as he teammates went to work.
In the absences of early runs, there were wickets, and after being reduced to 3-9 in the eighth over, the South Africans limped to 3-17 after 10, finally finding the boundary for the first time.
Crowned Australian ODI player of the year during the week, superstar veteran Ellyse Perry bowled for the first time in a 50-over match for Australia in 10 matches, and took a wicket eighth her fourth ball.
It was party time for the Aussies and such was their bowling dominance, it took 18 balls for South African number four batter Sune Luus, who has played 115 matches, just to get her first run.
The Australians had no such issues, taking eight off the opening over of their innings, including a first ball four from captain Alyssa Healy, reaching a total after six balls it took the South Africans 30 balls to reach.
But it was Mooney who carved three consecutive fours to and Perry, officially the longest serving player in Australian women’s cricket history who got their team home with a 64-run stand.
Game two of the series is at the North Sydney Oval on Wednesday.
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