SA stroll to ODI series victory

2009-01-26 00:00

IN complete contrast to a topsy-turvy summer, South Africa produced the most dominant performance of their Australian tour to emphatically seal a series win in Adelaide yesterday.

Australia looked poised to mount a mammoth total yet again, but as has been their wont this summer, they capitulated.

Their collapse from 110 for two in the 20th over to 222 all out after 48 overs, on Australia’s heritage day, was most un-Australian.

Ricky Ponting had spoken at the toss about fifties not being good enough to win matches. He then duly went and made a brilliant half-century before driving Makhaya Ntini tamely to cover.

The now customary South African fightback was again led by the feisty Johan Botha, who snared 2 for 28 in ten match-turning overs.

Before his introduction, the Aussies had been rampant. He trapped Michael Hussey leg before, and from there the pack quickly unravelled.

“Ja, I think I have bowled quite nicely in the last few games and picked up some big wickets,” he modestly offered at the post-match interview.

His team will acknowledge his contribution more emphatically, as he has been the stand-out bowler from both sides.

South Africa’s batsmen saved their best ODI performance for yesterday’s clash, as they were led by the belligerent Herschelle Gibbs.

He picked up from where he left off in Sydney, dancing down the wicket to brutally dispatch the Aussie pacemen to the cover boundary. His first 30 runs contained just two singles and seven blistering fours.

His departure was as sudden as it was suprising, caught at mid-off as he tried to flay Ben Hilfenhaus once more.

Jacques Kallis only lasted 12 balls, but even he thrashed three boundaries to signal the Proteas’ intent to finish the match as hastily as possible.

Once Kallis went, it was left to Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers to deliver the coup de grace. They were seldom troubled as they moved serenely towards the target, with De Villiers stepping on the turbo chargers as victory loomed.

His 82 was as classy as Amla’s 80 was measured and unhurried. Amla has often looked the best of the Protea batsmen without really pressing on. Yesterday he was the perfect foil, firstly to Gibbs and later to De Villiers. He was happy to just nudge singles at first, but when he settled he unfurled numerous drives and flicks to underline his unique talents.

South Africa came into the series with the intention of building a side for the 2011 World Cup. They have significantly overachieved Down Under, and suddenly look to have numerous options in key positions.

To be fair, the Aussies have their fair share of problems at the moment. But try tell that to the likes of Kallis and Boucher, who have suffered long and hard at the hands of more formidable Australian line-ups.

The Proteas will no doubt savour the series win, but there is still the small matter of the final match in Perth to plan for. A farewell victory would be the perfect end to what has now become the perfect tour.

Scoreboard

Australia innings

SE Marsh c M Morkel b Steyn 13

DA Warner c M Morkel b Ntini 1

RT Ponting c McKenzie b Ntini 63

MEK Hussey lbw b Botha 28

DJ Hussey c Gibbs b JA Morkel 24

BJ Haddin c Kallis b Botha 3

CL White c de Villiers b Steyn 30

JR Hopes c McKenzie b Steyn 42

MG Johnson c M Morkel b Ntini 0

B Hilfenhaus c de Villiers b M Morkel 5

SW Tait not out 4

Extras (lb 2, w 5, nb 2) 9

Total (all out; 48 overs; ) 222

Fall of wickets: 1-9 , 2-17 , 3-110 , 4-114 , 5-128 , 6-151 , 7-188 , 8-189, 9-216 46.1, 10-222

Bowling: Steyn 10-1-49-3 (1w), Ntini 10-1-52-3 (4w), Morkel 6-0-35-1, Morkel 9-0-41-1 (2nb), Botha 10-0-28-2, Duminy 3-0-15-0

South Africa innings

HM Amla not out 80

HH Gibbs c MEK Hussey b Hilfenhaus 38

JH Kallis c Marsh b Hopes 13

AB de Villiers not out 82

Extras (lb 5, w 5) 10

Total (for 2; 38.1 overs; ) 223

Did not bat: JP Duminy, ND McKenzie, JA Morkel, M Morkel, J Botha, DW Steyn, M Ntini

Fall of wickets: 1-58 , 2-79

Bowling: Tait 9- 0-49- 0 (2w), Hilfenhaus 8-0-49-1 (1w), Johnson 10-0-63-0 (2w), Hopes 7.1-0-28-1, Hussey 4-0-29-0

Toss: Australia chose to bat first

Result: South Africa won by 8 wickets

Series: South Africa lead the 5-match series 3-1

Player of the match: AB de Villiers

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