Tabraiz Shamsi's four-wicket haul and Hashim Amla's unbeaten 81 were a couple of positives for the South Africans, who lost the 50-over pink-ball warm-up game against Victoria XI by 53 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday (November 19).
Shamsi, the 26-year-old chinaman bowler, boosted his chance of Test debut by picking up 4 for 72 that helped South Africa bowl Victoria XI out for 258. In reply, Amla, Dean Elgar (40) and Temba Bavuma (33 not out) spent some quality time against the pink-ball but their efforts weren't enough to take South Africa over the line.
Faf du Plessis, who is facing an ICC hearing for alleged ball tampering during the second Hobart Test against Australia, won the toss and elected to bowl first to give his batsmen an opportunity to bat under lights in preparation for their maiden day-night Test in Adelaide from November 24.
Kagiso Rabada left Victoria in early trouble by picking up the first three wickets, including that of home team skipper Aaron Finch. Seb Gotch (53) and Matthew Short (52) then steadied Victoria with a 79-run stand for the fourth wicket. While Shamsi's strikes derailed Victoria in the middle overs, No. 8 batsman Evan Gulbis smashed 53 from 28 balls to lift Victoria to a competitive total.
South Africa got off to a good start in the chase as Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook scored 40 runs for the opening wicket. However, Cook, whose contribution to the opening stand was only 11 runs, was the first to depart when he was trapped in front by Jackson Coleman. Following Elgar's retirement after scoring 40, JP Duminy and du Plessis failed to come up with any substantial contributions.
Reduced to 122 for 4 in the 33rd over, South Africa managed to recover through an undefeated 83-run partnership between Amla and Bavuma, but neither batsman showed an inclination to keep the chase alive as occupying the crease was their priority.
Brief scores: Victoria 258 in 45.2 overs (Evan Gulbis 53, Seb Gotch 53, Matthew Short 52; Tabraiz Shamsi 4-72, Kagiso Rabada 3-37) beat South Africa 205/4 in 50 overs (Hashim Amla 81*, Dean Elgar 40, Temba Bavuma 33; Jackson Coleman 2-26) by 53 runs.