Lacklustre Proteas struggle to 157
JP Duminy again played the role of saviour as South Africa limped to 5 for 157 in its Twenty20 International against Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane this evening.
Duminy backed up his lone hand of 78 from 48 on Sunday evening, when the Proteas lost by 52 runs in the two-match series opener, with a stellar half-century to give South Africa a glimmer of hope.
The stylish left-hander, who announced his arrival on cricket's world stage with a stellar 166 during the Boxing Day Test, pummelled an unbeaten 67 from 41 deliveries.
Earlier, the Proteas won the toss and elected to bat first in their pursuit of a series-levelling win against Australia, and the opening partnership of Hashim Amla and Herschelle Gibbs immediately fell behind the pace.
Gibbs was removed for just six runs from 12 balls, while Amla returned 26 from as many balls as neither batsman could better a run-a-ball.
Their sluggish start was compounded when James Hopes and Michael Hussey teamed up to end Gibbs's ineffective stand in the sixth over, leaving the South Africans struggling at 1 for 34.
Hopes (2 for 29) was effective and Australia's only multiple wicket-taker, while the likes of David Hussey (1 for 18), Nathan Bracken (1 for 29) and Ben Hilfenhaus (1 for 32) all snared one scalp apiece.
Aside from Duminy's contribution and the start made by Amla, the Proteas batsmen failed to fire despite the overtures of Albie Morkel (19 from 13) and Mark Boucher (19 from 19).
Duminy again looked nearly faultless at the crease and has quickly adopted the saviour role made famous during the 1990s by Australian Michael Bevan.
His promotion to number three in the order was an obvious ploy to stabilise the middle order early on, and the 24-year-old stroked seven fours and two sixes while achieving a healthy strike rate of 168.29.
Australia's response will likely be buoyed by the confidence of young opener David Warner, who pounded 89 from 43 balls in his international debut at the MCG on Sunday.
Tonight's Twenty20 contest also caps an emotional day at the Gabba, where legendary opener Matthew Hayden announced his retirement from international cricket this morning.
Hayden, one of Queensland's favourite sons, was paraded around the ground during the innings break in a fitting farewell to his home fans.