Starc, Marsh send out timely warning to Proteas
SHAUN Marsh has guided the touring Australians to a five-wicket win over South Africa A in their tour match in Benoniu.
Marsh made 39 not out as the tourists chased down a target of 140 in 29.3 overs, winning with 5.3 overs to spare.
Of concern for the Australians was that Cameron Bancroft, who made 45 in the first innings, and Marsh were the only top-order batsmen to reach 30 during a match in which seam bowlers held sway.
With his team needing to score reasonably quickly, Australian captain Steve Smith slammed 25 off 13 balls, with three fours and two sixes.
Left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc had a good pre-Test work-out, taking four top-order wickets for 46 runs in 15 overs.
With South Africa's Test squad having been announced earlier in the day, Starc gave new squad member Wiaan Mulder a torrid welcome, with several hostile short-pitched deliveries.
Mulder made only five before he was leg before wicket to Mitchell Marsh.
Australia's progress was held up by an eighth-wicket stand of 81 off 64 between Shaun von Berg (52) and Malusi Siboto (32).
With Smith deciding his fast bowlers had done enough work, Von Berg and Siboto attacked the spin of Nathan Lyon and Smith before the last three wickets fell for no runs in 10 balls.
The first Test starts on Thursday in Durban, with the second from March 9-13 in Port Elizabeth.
Scores in brief: South Africa A 220 and 248 (P. Malan 34, S. Muthusamy 34, S. von Berg 52, M. Siboto 32; M. Starc 4-46, M. Marsh 2-35, S. Smith 2-22) Australians 329 and 140-5 (S. Marsh 39 not out, D. Olivier 4-74) Result: Australians won by five wickets Toss: South Africa.
Proteas First Test squad v Australia: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Wiaan Mulder, Lungisani Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada