Australia are missing Mitchell Starc a lot more than South Africa are pining for AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla. That much was true in the aftermath of South Africa's 142-run hiding of the visitors at the Wanderers, taking a 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series. South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said the obvious thing following the result, that Starc had left a huge hole in Australia's team.
"You throw Starc back into that team, it's completely different," du Plessis said. "He's proven many times he gets wickets ... he's got that extra pace. He's extremely good to the tail-enders. He gets the ball to reverse.
"In the West Indies he did that to us twice, came in and just rolled over the tail. Extra pace in all formats is a weapon that a captain wants to have in his side."
Starc had been rested from the tour of South Africa but later in September, during a training session, injured his leg in a freak accident. He suffered a deep shin laceration after colliding with training equipment, following which he underwent surgery and received 30 stitches.
Du Plessis lauded his team for what he described as a "complete" performance. He also noted that these victories demonstrated the depth that existed in South African cricket.
"That was a complete game," du Plessis said. "A great disciplined batting performance and as good a performance I think you'll see from us. To beat Australia, which is a fantastic one-day team, to beat them like that means we've competed in every aspect of the game.
"Our performances have been extremely good and it's without the two best players in the world. It shows that there is a future without AB de Villiers. Hopefully we can have him back and Hashim Amla, but it shows that there is a lot of talent in South African cricket."