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Friday, January 30, 2009

South Africa seal one-day triumph

South Africa completed a magnificent Test and one-day double over Australia with an eight-wicket win in Adelaide.

AB de Villiers (82) and Hashim Amla (80) shared an unbroken stand of 144 as the tourists took a 3-1 lead in the one-day series, with one match to play.

After losing the toss in Adelaide, the tourists ripped through the Australia batting line-up with Makhaya Ntini (3-52) and Dale Steyn (3-49) on song.

Only Ricky Ponting (63) and James Hopes (42) provided home resistance.

The commanding victory, on Australia Day at the picturesque Adelaide Oval, will heap further problems on Ponting, who takes his beleaguered side to Perth for the final match of the five-game series on Friday.

Should South Africa win at the Waca, they will usurp Australia at the top of the one-day team world rankings.

"We have turned a good tour into a great one by winning both series and we can now turn it into an amazing tour if we complete a 4-1 victory," said South Africa coach Mickey Arthur.

Ponting won the toss and opted to utilise what looked like a flat batting surface to compile an intimidating total for his opponents.

But his plans were thrown into disarray within the first three overs when both openers needlessly gave their wickets away.

Both men were caught by Morne Morkel - the swashbuckling David Warner mis-hit Ntini to mid-on before partner Shaun Marsh holed out to third man in the next over.

Ponting and Mike Hussey rebuilt the innings with a 93-run stand, with the Australia captain looking particularly imperious through the covers and mid-wicket.

But Hussey's dismissal - trapped lbw by Proteas skipper Johan Botha on 28 - sparked a capitulation by the home side, losing their remaining eight wickets for just 110 runs.

Ponting fell soon after, while Cameron White (30) threatened a lower-order renaissance alongside Hopes before the hard-hitting Victorian edged Steyn to De Villiers, who was keeping wicket in place of the injured Mark Boucher.

Australia's prospects of building a defendable total ended when all-rounder Hopes drilled a lofted drive off Albie Morkel to Neil McKenzie at cover in the 47th over.

And the innings ended an over later when Ben Hilfenhaus was caught behind off Morne Morkel.

With a less than intimidating total to chase on an easy-paced wicket, South Africa made an emphatic start - courtesy of big hitting from Herschelle Gibbs.

The opener struck 38 from 29 balls, using his feet to shuffle down the wicket to the quicks, before guiding Hilfenhaus to Mike Hussey in the 10th over.

Jacques Kallis (13) fell soon after, but man-of-the-match De Villiers and Amla compiled a brilliant match-winning stand.

Amla in particular looked assured, caressing anything straight through mid-wicket while De Villiers used his feet intelligently to disrupt the rhythm of the Australian attack.

De Villiers' innings featured one six and six boundaries from 85 deliveries.

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