We look at the key talking points ahead of the all-important clash with India leading 3-0.
SELLOUT CROWD FOR PINKDAY
Since its inception in 2011, the PinkDay has become a permanent fixture in South Africa’s cricketing calendar. Incorporated to raise awareness about breast cancer, the special day has seen tickets being snapped up like hotcakes and a sellout Wanderers crowd will welcome the two sides when they take the field.
The hosts will line up in their all-pink jerseys for the special occasion.
INDIA ON THE CUSP OF HISTORIC SERIES WIN
Ever since their first ODI tour of South Africa in 1992-93, India have played four bilateral series against the Proteas in their own backyard. They have tasted defeat in every single one of them. Having taken an unassailable 3-0 lead, this will be the first time that they will avoid a series defeat on South African shores.
However, their minds will be fixated on sealing India’s maiden ODI series win in South Africa, a feat which shall be truly historic for Virat Kohli’s men.
AB DE VILLIERS RETURN BOOSTS PROTEAS
The Proteas were dealt a major blow before the start of the series when they lost AB De Villiers to injury for the first half of the series. Things went from bad to worse when skipper Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock joined him on the injury-list.
De Villiers has returned from his injury lay-off and his participation for Saturday has been confirmed. The hosts desperately need their maverick batsman back and will be hoping his return can reignite their floundering hopes in the series.
SOUTH AFRICA SEEK END TO SPIN-TWINS MISERY
Twenty-one of the 28 South African wickets to fall in the three matches so far have been snared up by India’s wrist spin-twins in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. The duo has exposed the hosts’ weakness against the spinning ball in the absence of their senior stalwarts.
The fact they have not been able to devise a way to negate the threat of the spinners in three matches so far shows they are yet to get a grip on the spin-twins. Aiden Markram’s men will be hoping that De Villiers’ return can provide some relief in this department come Saturday.
Chris Jordan has vowed England‘s “phenomenal” batting line-up will not be rattled by their costly collapse in Hobart.
At one point, England’s middle-order coughed up five wickets for 15 runs, a setback from which they never recovered.
On paper, Eoin Morgan’s team look to be insulated against such travails, with power throughout the top six and a dangerous lower order comprising the likes of David Willey, Jordan, Adil Rashid and Tom Curran.
And Jordan insists there will be no self-doubt when the sides meet again in Melbourne on Saturday.
“Plain and simple, we didn’t get enough runs, it just boils down to that. But our batting line-up is phenomenal,” he said.
“We do play a positive brand of cricket, an aggressive brand of cricket, and we’ll try to take it to the opposition where possible.
“These things do happen but I think over a period of time we’ll have more success than failure. In T20 cricket, you’re always looking to take the positive option and we always trust whoever is out there to do that and play their natural game.
“Even with a batting collapse, we still put on 156, put a competitive total on the board. Imagine when we are going and don’t get a collapse, maybe we’ll end up with 200 or 210.”
Jordan offered a hint of England’s tail-end strength, taking 16 from 11 balls after coming in at number eight and hitting the ball of the innings into the stands.
He had called for a new bat moments earlier but anyone hoping the 29-year-old had unveiled a new big-hitting blade specifically for the job will be disappointed by the more prosaic reason.
“The previous one, the handle broke on it. I think it went when I hit one over cover then I slipped and landed on it,” he said.
“It was a good thing I swapped it though, because the last ball went for six.”
Australia’s victory at the Bellerive Oval came with a tinge of controversy, with match-winner Glenn Maxwell given not out by third umpire Chris Brown after a contested catch in the deep by Jason Roy.
From 59 at the time, he went on to lead his side home with 103 not out.
England remain convinced Roy held on cleanly but have not sought to make an issue out of the verdict.Jordan, though, would prefer for the fielder’s testimony to carry more weight than the confusing balance between ‘soft signals’ and inconclusive images.
“I think a player’s word should be taken. No-one goes out there to cheat,” he said.
“I get confused with it to be honest. If the soft decision is out, I’m not sure how a decision gets overturned. But whatever decision umpires make, we have just got to get on with it and try to win the game.”
England could recall second spinner Liam Dawson to make use of the big boundaries at the MCG, with Curran possibly vulnerable.
AB de Villiers returns to the South African squad for the last three one-day internationals against India, Cricket South Africa announced on Thursday.
The star batsman missed the first three matches because of a finger injury suffered in the third Test against the same opponents last month.
There was no immediate word on whether De Villiers had recovered sufficiently to play in the fourth match at the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday. He will be assessed when the squad reassembles in Johannesburg on Friday.
South Africa will be desperate for De Villiers to play after India dominated the first three matches, taking a commanding 3-0 lead.
In what could amount to an admission that South Africa are short of strength in depth, the return of De Villiers is the only change to a squad weakened by injuries to regular captain Faf du Plessis and wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock.
South Africa’s batsmen have struggled, particularly against India’s spinners. Du Plessis hit a century in the first game before being injured but JP Duminy, with 51 in the third game in Cape Town, is the only other South African to have made a half-century.
Farhaan Behardien, who was added to the squad after Du Plessis was injured, is the only batsman in the group, other than De Villiers, who has not yet played in the series.
South African squad:
Aiden Markram (captain), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Heinrich Klaasen (wkt), David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khaya Zondo.