Brave fight till the end

2013-01-26 00:00

POTCHEFSTROOM — Opener Graeme Smith hit 116 as South Africa avoided a whitewash by securing a thrilling one-wicket win against New Zealand in the third one-day international in Potchefstroom yesterday.

Smith recorded his 10th ODI century, hit off 130 deliveries, which included 14 boundaries.

Ryan McLaren hit a six off the final ball over the deep fine-leg boundary to seal the victory.

Earlier, half-centuries from Grant Elliott, Colin Munro and James Franklin helped New Zealand reach 260 for nine.

New Zealand, who won the toss and opted to bat first, had already secured the series 2-0.

Elliott’s (54) fifth ODI half-century came off 65 balls and he shared a crucial fifth wicket stand with Munro, which produced a needed 61 runs.

He was caught off an upper cut by Dale Steyn who took a low diving catch running in from third man.

Elliott’s wicket was Lonwabo Tsotsobe’s third of four wickets, after he made the initial breakthrough dismissing Martin Guptill for five and centurion from Kimberley Kane Williamson for six.

Ranked fourth in the world and the top South African one-day bowler, Tsotsobe was particularly impressive in his first spell.

The hard-hitting Munro, who was born in Durban, reached his maiden ODI half-century in only his second match, off 55 balls.

He shared a 67-run partnership with Franklin before Tsotsobe struck again and Munro was caught behind.

His final bowling figures were 4/45 off his 10 overs, while McLaren also took four wickets at a cost of 52 runs.

South Africa’s bowling attack slackened towards the end and they gave away a total of 17 wides and could be penalised again for a slow over rate.

Franklin was unbeaten on 53 as the Proteas went into their shortened dinner break before beginning their 261-run chase.

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