October 9, 2016
Start time 1000 local (0800 GMT)
Having been clouted to all parts of Centurion, the Wanderers, and most brutally in Durban, Australia's punch-drunk bowlers will be seeking some respite in Port Elizabeth. Equally, Steven Smith, the touring captain, will be eager to add some respectability to a series score line that is as stark as the contrast between crestfallen Australia and jubilant South Africa on Wednesday night at Kingsmead.
Unfortunately for Smith, and coach Darren Lehmann, Australia's options for an improved line-up are slim. Scott Boland arrived as one of the more experienced members of the attack, but was promptly dropped after game one, while Joe Mennie's fast-medium pace also lasted only one match before he was shuffled back out. The spectre of defeat invariably leads to players starting to think of their own positions in the team, and it will be critical for Lehmann and Smith to ensure minds remain focused on the task.
Lehmann has stated that he believes the biggest problem for Australia's bowlers has been an inability to replicate training patterns under the spotlight of crowds, television cameras and confident opponents, something for assistant coach David Saker, and Ryan Harris, the bowling assistant, to ponder.
"We've got to find a way to get some early wickets and put some pressure back on South Africa, and at the moment, we're not doing that," Lehmann said after Durban. "And we're not doing the good things that we do in the nets and taking them out into the middle in front of a packed house. At the end of the day, the blokes have trained really well and prepared well, and bowled really well in the nets, but international cricket is quite pressurised. They've just got to get used to that."
For South Africa, Port Elizabeth will be about seeking to avoid a let-down following the heights of Kingsmead and the sealing of the series. Acting captain Faf du Plessis appeared somewhat shocked to have been on the winning end of that match, something for which he had David Miller to thank, with a century that was scored having picked up a groin injury that has proved bad enough to leave him sidelined. The hosts will also be mindful of trying to keep Australia's batsmen under slightly more control than they managed in game three, even if a mighty total ultimately proved inadequate.
South Africa: WWWWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Early in South Africa's chase in Durban, Quinton de Kock was subjected to plenty of verballing by the Australians in reference to a slow start that was soaking up balls. That baiting seemed primarily to wake de Kock from his initial slumber, and he went on to hammer 70 from a mere 49 balls to get South Africa off to the start they needed to stand a chance. Off the back of his punishing 178 in the opening game, his wicket looms as vital to Australia's chances.
John Hastings' reputation for miserly spells has taken something of a hit in recent days, as he has not been able to quell South Africa's scoring in ways that he has previously managed against other teams. As the most experienced member of the bowling attack on tour, Hastings will be expected to step up in Port Elizabeth and lead a better collective display.
The groin injury which Miller sustained during his monumental matchwinning hundred will keep him out of the rest of the series which is likely to mean a recall for Farhaan Behardien. The rest of the recast batting order, which made room for Hashim Amla by shuffling Rilee Rossouw down the order, can be expected to be retained. Dale Steyn, however, may be rested now that the series is decided as could Kagiso Rabada with the possibility of playing an extra spinner.
South Africa (possible): 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Faf du Plessis (capt), 4 Rilee Rossouw, 5 JP Duminy, 6 Farhaan Behardien , 7 Dwaine Pretorius, 8 Andile Phehlukwayo, 9 Dale Steyn/Kyle Abbott, 10 Kagiso Rabada/Aaron Phangiso, 11 Imran Tahir
Scott Boland may be in line for a recall by Australia's tour selectors, after the bowling attack was hard-hit once again in Durban. Usman Khawaja is also waiting for his next chance.
Australia: (possible): 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Steve Smith (capt), 4 George Bailey, 5 Travis Head, 6 Mitchell Marsh, 7 Mathew Wade (wk), 8 John Hastings, 9 Adam Zampa, 10 Chris Tremain, 11 Daniel Worrall/Scott Boland
Pitch and conditions
Spin, and pace off the ball will likely play a role on one of South Africa's slower pitches. The weather forecast for Port Elizabeth is for fine conditions, with periods of cloud cover.
Stats and trivia
Australia have won four of the seven ODI encounters between the two teams at Port Elizabeth, though South Africa have won the two most recent contests, in 2009 and 2011
Australia haven't lost four matches in an ODI series since England won 4-0 with one match rained out in 2012
"I think we worked out we're taking pretty much seven of our first-choice one-day team out of the bowling attack, and when you go through that it's some high-quality bowling. But it's an opportunity for the young guys to learn, to learn quickly and learn what they need to do to step up in international cricket. At the moment, we're failing in that and they've got to get better."
Australia's coach Darren Lehmann sums up his side's thin bowling resources in South Africa