Perth, November 4: Australia's weaknesses with the bat were exposed again in Perth on Sunday as South Africa's seamers led the Proteas to a comprehensive six-wicket victory in the opening ODI.
With top batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner still serving suspensions for ball tampering and Shaun Marsh sidelined with a buttock abscess, Australia flattered to impress as they were skittled for 152.
Experienced seamer Dale Steyn led the way with 2-18 from his seven overs, with Lungi Ngidi and Andile Phehlukwayo sharing five wickets as the tourists made the most of a fast and fiery pitch.
Alex Carey and Nathan Coulter-Nile showed some resilience as Australia struggled from 66-6 to be dismissed for an uncompetitive total, one South Africa took no time in eclipsing.
Australia failed to make any inroads with the ball as Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks plundered the runs, with the pace quartet of Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Coulter-Nile all failing to reach the levels expected of them.
South Africa lost the opening pair but Faf du Plessis and David Miller saw them home with 124 balls to spare to send Australia to a seventh-successive ODI loss.
Australia's problems were exposed early on as Steyn found bounce and seam off the Perth pitch, Travis Head and D'Arcy Short both falling in the third over as they pushed hard outside the off stump.
Captain Aaron Finch followed soon after as he was trapped lbw by an Ngidi delivery that nipped back off a length, Australia reduced to 8-3.
Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis all got themselves in but, in the space of four overs in the middle of Australia's innings, they were all gone, the latter playing an inexplicable shot that will have frustrated Justin Langer on the balcony.
Luckily for Australia, Carey and Coulter-Nile were able to find the boundary with a little more ease, but lifting the hosts to something near competitive was too big of an ask.
If Australia's shortcomings with the bat had been predicted by some, their problems with the ball will be a new worry as South Africa dealt with the previously mischievous pitch with ease.
Hazlewood, Starc and Cummins struggled to find any assistance from the surface, allowing De Kock and Hendricks to find the boundary with ease.
Their opening stand of 94 made victory a formality and, despite losing De Kock for 47, they were rarely troubled as Australia toiled in their first home match since the ball-tampering scandal.
Hendricks also fell short of a half century as Stoinis' introduction brought a much-needed wicket. However, it was too little, too late.
Aiden Markram added 36 before becoming Stoinis' second victim, leaving it to Miller to seal the win in the 30th over.