Australia vice-captain David Warner said his side's 142-run loss in the second ODI at Johannesburg could be traced to a poor start in each innings. Warner said Australia found it hard to recover in the field after South Africa finished the first 10 overs at 66 for 0, setting up a platform for an imposing 361 for 6 which was more than enough for the hosts to defend.
"We didn't start well," Warner said after the game. "We always talk about trying to start well with the bat and the ball in the first 10. We lacked that a bit today and I think our energy and intent was probably lacking. But look when a team puts 360 on the board, it's always going to be a tough chase. You have to start positive and try not to lose too many wickets in the first 10. It's unfortunate today but we've got another chance to come back and show up again in Durban."
Australia's debutant new-ball combo of Chris Tremain and Joe Mennie took the brunt of the punishment from Rilee Rossouw and Faf du Plessis, who produced his sixth ODI ton. Tremain and Mennie took a combined 1 for 160 in 20 overs, with Mennie's 0 for 82 the worst return for an Australian bowler on ODI debut.
However, Warner noted that the Johannesburg pitch is never an easy place for bowlers, noting Mennie didn't have it as bad as Mick Lewis, who conceded figures of 0 for 113 in the famous 438 chase by South Africa on the same ground 10 years earlier. He also said Mitchell Starc's absence was not an excuse for a lackluster bowling performance and that the young attack will hopefully learn from the experience.
"You've got to play the cards that you're dealt and at the moment we've got two young guys making their debut. We do have a young attack but they've done everything they can to be here and be in this position to play for the country. It's going to be a learning experience for them especially today.
"They have to go back and reflect on what they can do better, especially in the first 10. With Starcy and them out, it is what it is. We have to deal with it and we can only control what we can at the moment and that's with the guys that we have."
As for Australia's reply, Warner said the team needed to find a better balance between attacking in the first 10 overs and remaining patient enough to wait for scoring opportunities that open up over the course of the innings. While South Africa ended their Powerplay blemish free, Australia were 54 for 2 after 10 and lost George Bailey one over later, setting them back to a position they could not dig out of.
Warner singled himself out for poor shot selection despite making Australia's second-best score in the match and said Australia needed to produce bigger scores in the manner of du Plessis on Saturday and Quinton de Kock from the first ODI if they want to make a comeback in the series.
"We have to get hungry and we have to be hungry," Warner said. "We are that on our day. Obviously it hasn't been our day the last couple of games but we have to keep having that positive mindset and go big. We've seen the wickets. They're very very good wickets and if you get in... today I played probably a poor shot. I've had a couple of soft dismissals. A few of the guys got caught down the leg side."