Pat Cummins and his men have been caught up in an embarrassing 48-year first with the cricket world calling out the Australian's for an uncharacteristically poor fielding performance so far. South Africa humbled Australia in their second World Cup match on Thursday falling to a 134-run defeat.
The loss leaves Australia 0-2 at this year's World Cup having entered the tournament in average form. While there was controversy surrounding both Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis' dismissals, Australia have been their own worst enemy having put down six catches against South Africa.
'CAN'T BELIEVE THIS': Cricket world erupts over insane scenes
On Thursday night, Mitchell Starc and Stoinis dropped two chances that all but ended Australia's hope of restricting South Africa to a decent total. After watching drop after drop, Quinton de Kock smashed a second-straight World Cup century.
Australia have now lost four straight World Cup matches, stretching back to the 2019 World Cup in the UK, for the first time in 48 years. And Cummins admitted the team was hurting.
"Probably not much needs to be said tonight. I think everyone's hurting," Cummins said after the match. "We've got a few days ... so we'll regroup, everyone's hurting so we'll try to make amends. There's a few things we need to tidy up."
While plenty of questions will be asked of the performance, the fielding display has prompted astonishment from the cricket world. Australia has always prided itself on its fielding.
Mitchell Marsh's dropped catch of Virat Kohli in the first game cost the team, while six dropped opportunities against South Africa had many watching on in disbelief. Australia's catch efficiency is at 54 per cent at this World Cup, the lowest of any team in the tournament. India have two wins and have an efficiency of 92 per cent.
Never before in their World Cup history, Australia had lost four matches on the trot.
The 134-run defeat is also their biggest in the World Cup. But what's most surprising was their effort in the field - dropped as many as six catches. Never seen them this bad in the field.…
— Rajneesh Gupta (@rgcricket) October 12, 2023
— Mastanvali Shaik 🇮🇳 (@Virat_82MCG) October 12, 2023
I have never seen Australia playing like this.
They were absolutely no where in the game.
Dropped two or three catches. On the other end SA played beautifully.
Are Australian still in the top four ?
Why experts not considering SA in top 4 ?#wcc2023
— Soban Zaheer Abbasi (@soban_zaheer) October 12, 2023
When you drop six catches, when your batting lineup has the spine of a jellyfish, and when your once-glorious bowling unit has age urgently tapping them on the shoulder, should Australia still argue with the third umpire's decisions, and seek an opinion from the ICC?
— Jacob Kuruvilla (@SaintGrape) October 12, 2023
— Parivendhan DAS (@okcoolnan) October 12, 2023
— Surinder (@navsurani) October 12, 2023
Safe to say Australia is pretty much going nowhere at this World Cup if this form continues. Batters bowling better than bowlers and bowlers batting better than batters. Like five or six dropped catches. It’s all pretty much just embarrassing.#AUSvSA
— Saurav Shrivastava 🇮🇳 (@SaySaurav) October 12, 2023
— ThePoppingCrease (@PoppingCreaseSA) October 12, 2023
Steve Smith shocked over wild LBW call against South Africa
There was some controverys in the match with Smith left flabbergasted at a DRS call. Smith started brightly but was on the end of a contentious DRS reversal that saw him removed by Kagiso Rabada for 19.
South Africa reviewed the not out call after Rabada (3-33) hit Smith on the pads, with the ball appearing to be tracking wide of leg-stump on first glance. Smith and on-field umpire Joel Wilson were both gobsmacked when DRS showed the ball clipping the stumps.
While Smith looked genuinely perplexed after trudging off back to the pavilion, Stoinis was left seething after being given out caught behind for five in contentious circumstances a short time later. Replays showed Stoinis' right glove was off the bat when he gloved it to Proteas wicketkeeper de Kock, meaning the wicket should not have stood.
However, third umpire Richard Kettleborough judged that part of Stoinis' glove was still attached to the bat, despite images offering a different story. "He gloved it, it looked like his bottom hand was off the handle, the third umpire said his bottom hand was attached to the top hand," Nasser Hussain said on commentary.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.