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Aussies make unwanted cricket history in 'horrible' scenes before ODI World Cup

Andrew McDonald's side have suffered three-consecutive losses by more than 100 runs.

David Warner, pictured here after the Aussies lost the ODI cricket series to South Africa.

Australia have made some ignominious cricket history after losing to South Africa in the fifth ODI in Johannesburg, becoming the first Aussie side to lose a one-day international series from 2-0 up. Australia's misery was completed on Sunday night as South Africa romped to a 122-run victory - their third-straight win by over 100 runs - as the Proteas came back from 2-0 down to win the series 3-2.

Aiden Markram made 93 to spearhead South Africa to a total of 9-315, before Australia were bundled out for just 193 in 34.1 overs. Marco Jansen took 5-39 and spinner Keshav Maharaj 4-33, with both collecting career-best figures.

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After winning the first two matches of the series, the Aussies lost the final three by margins of 111, 164 and 122. They suffered horror batting collapses of 8-60, 5-67 and 8-69, becoming just the sixth team in ODI history (and first Australian team) to lose a series after leading 2-0.

"We can't afford to expose our lower-order hitters at six and seven, where we do have some power down there, too early," Aussie coach Andrew McDonald said. "That happened a bit too often in this series.

"It's something we need to tighten up on. You can't win too many games of cricket if you're getting exposed, four, five down before the halfway mark of the innings."

South African players, pictured here celebrating after dismissing Sean Abbott.
South African players celebrate after dismissing Sean Abbott in the fifth ODI. (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

Travis Head to miss first half of Cricket World Cup

To make matters worse, the Aussies found out Travis Head will be unavailable for the first half of the World Cup in India, starting next month. Head broke his hand after being struck on the glove in the fourth ODI, with selectors now having to decide whether or not to carry him in the squad and hope he can play in the back half of the tournament.

Scans have confirmed the opening batter won't require surgery, but he won't be ready in time for the start of the Cup. "The time frame is still a little bit loose," McDonald said. "The good news is he doesn't require surgery, as it stands at the moment.

"There will be an extended period of time out and we've got to weigh up whether that time falls potentially with an option to carry him through the front half of the World Cup. There's no doubt he won't be available for the front half."

McDonald said Marnus Labuschagne - who was left out of the World Cup squad but became Australia's leading run-scorer in the South Africa series - is now "likely" to be included in the World Cup squad, to be finalised on September 28. Labuschagne scored 283 runs at an average of 70.75 in the five matches against the Proteas.

"I can't talk on behalf of the selection panel and lock him away for the World Cup (squad of) 15 but it's no doubt looking likely," McDonald said. "I think he's made a significant shift in his intent at the crease and putting the bowlers under pressure from where he was 12 months ago. There's no doubt he'll be front-and-centre when it comes to the 15-man squad later on down the track."

The Aussies will continue their preparations for the World Cup in a three-match series against India, starting in Mohali on Friday. "We were outplayed in the last three games but we have a one-day game in India on Friday, a lot of players coming back and a big World Cup coming up," Aussie captain Mitch Marsh said. The Aussies will welcome back regular captain Pat Cummins, fast bowler Mitchell Starc, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell and star batter Steve Smith for the India series.

with agencies

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