Melbourne: A record 222-run stand between Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan helped Australia to a comprehensive 94-run victory over South Africa at Melbourne's multi-purpose Docklands Colonial Stadium on Wednesday. Waugh and Michael Bevan marked the first official One-day international played indoors with centuries to steer the world champions to a daunting total of 295 for five. In reply, South Africa strung together a series of handy partnerships but were always well behind Australia's impressive run rate, finishing on 201 for seven. The match was as good as over after Waugh and Bevan rescued Australia from a shaky start with their record fourth wicket partnership. Waugh blasted an unbeaten 114 from just 103 deliveries while Bevan crafted 106 off 125 balls after Australia had slumped to 37 for three.
They had been asked to bat first on a flat wicket tailor-made for heavy scoring. South Africa captain Shaun Pollock looked to have made a wise decision after Adam Gilchrist, Mark Waugh and Ricky Ponting all lost their wickets cheaply. Gilchrist departed for one when he was run out in the third over by a direct hit from Jonty Rhodes. Rhodes also dismissed Ponting for 16 when he skied a simple catch off paceman Roger Telemachus with the total on 32. Mark Waugh fell to Telemachus, mistiming an attempted pull to Mornantau Hayward at backward square leg in the 12th over, before Bevan and Steve Waugh quickly set about rebuilding the innings with a brilliant display of controlled power hitting.
The left-handed Bevan brought up his fifth limited-overs international century off 120 balls when he hit Andrew Hall through midwicket for three in the 45th over. Waugh, who scored an unbeaten 120 against South Africa to save Australia from an early exit at last year's World Cup, reached his third international century off just 91 deliveries when he took a single off the next ball. Their 222-run partnership was the highest fourth wicket stand by an Australian pair and just two shy of the all-time Australian mark of 224 by Dean Jones and Allan Border against Sri Lanka in Adelaide 1985.
Bevan finally departed when he holed out to Jacques Kallis before Shane Lee added a brisk 28, including successive sixes off Pollock, from 15 balls as the Australians posted their highest score against the South Africans. The visitors began their run-chase cautiously but were forced to lift the tempo in their pursuit of Australia's impressive total. Five of their batsmen made at least 20 but none went on to make a half century.
Opener Gary Kirsten top-scored with 43 off 69 balls before he surrendered his wicket by dancing down the pitch to Warne and presenting Gilchrist with the simplest of stumpings. Kallis made 42 off 66 balls. He also sacrificed his wicket, falling lbw to all-rounder Ian Harvey who returned figures of three for 41. The second match of the series is on Friday and the third and final game on Sunday. (c) Reuters Limited.