Friday 17 April 2009 

Australia Hit Back In Johannesburg To Finish Series 3-2

Australia Hit Back In Johannesburg To Finish Series 3-2
Australia Limit The Damage To Finish Series 3-2
© REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA). Picture Supplied by Action Images
 

Australia 303-7 (Clarke 66, Haddin 62, Duminy 3-48) beat
South Africa 256 (Gibbs 82, Kallis 66) by 47 runs

Fifth One Day International, Johannesburg
By John Pennington

Australia closed their tour of South Africa by winning the fifth and final One Day International by 47 runs at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, the series ending with the home side triumphant by three games to two.

Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin scored half-centuries as they posted 303 for seven before South Africa were bowled out for 256.

Put in to bat, Australian openers Haddin (62) and Clarke (66) allowed themselves a short period of settling in before they went on the attack, forcing South African captain Graeme Smith to chop and change his bowlers to try to keep the run rate under control.

Haddin pummelled seven fours and one six while Clarke hit ten fours, taking their side to 70 without loss after ten overs when the first Power Play ended.

The second Power Play slowed Australia down but both men completed their half-centuries before the innings began to unravel. Haddin sliced Albie Morkel's first delivery to JP Duminy in the deep, succumbing to pressure built up by a rare maiden by brother Morne and Clarke lobbed Roelof van der Merwe to Duminy at deep midwicket.

Ricky Ponting (40) and Callum Ferguson (41) guided their side past 150, Ponting hitting two fours and one straight six off of Duminy. Attempting another maximum over midwicket one ball later, he found only van der Merwe and shortly after Ferguson punched the slow left-armer straight to AB de Villiers at short cover.

David Hussey was then brilliantly stumped down the leg-side off of Duminy by Boucher and a superb run out by de Villiers saw the end of James Hopes, both men departing for three. Mike Hussey, dropped by a flying de Villiers off his first ball, pushed Duminy to de Villiers' right at short cover, set off for the single, but de Villiers' direct hit, a fine effort considering he was off the ground when he threw the ball, left Hopes well short.

More Duminy brilliance then accounted for Mitchell Johnson for two when a punch back down the ground turned into a tumbling caught and bowled effort. Duminy bowled quite outstandingly - in the absence of Johan Botha, sending a full set of ten overs, finishing with three for 48 while van der Merwe returned two for 44.

Mike Hussey (49 not out) and Nathan Hauritz (24 not out) then pushed Australia past 300.

Anything that Haddin and Clarke could do, Smith and Herschelle Gibbs looked set to do better as they put on 46 for the first wicket in quick time. Both men drove quite magnificently before Smith chased a wide one to be caught by Haddin off of Bracken for 20.

He had faced just 15 balls but now Gibbs, matched stroke for stroke by Jacques Kallis (64), came into his own, smashing Mitchell Johnson over midwicket for six and unfurling some exquisitely timed drives that raced away to the boundary. Kallis was stronger off his pads, hitting six fours and a six to Gibbs' ten fours and a six.

The pair added 104 for the second wicket before Gibbs, on 82, was trapped in front sweeping Hauritz and from 150 for one, the South Africans slipped to 226 for six and the game swung back towards Australia.

Both Kallis and JP Duminy, who made just three, fell trying to drive balls they might have been better advised to leave along and Boucher pulled Hopes into the hands of Hauritz at deep midwicket having made nine. Ben Laughlin then made his mark on the match with a stunning boundary catch to get rid of the dangerous Albie Morkel for five. The big-hitting left-hander appeared to have connected perfectly with a Hauritz delivery but Laughlin, out at deep midwicket, leapt high, arched backwards and pulled off a stunning grab.

With eight overs to go, South Africa finally took their batting Power Play with de Villiers and van der Merwe, their last recognised batsmen at the crease and the crowd was silenced when Laughlin bowled de Villiers with the first ball of the 43rd over for 38. After Morne Morkel opened his account with a sweetly-driven four, Van der Merwe (3) perished when he spooned Johnson to Bracken at third man. Dale Steyn ran himself out first ball and the end came when Morkel (15) was caught by David Hussey off of Johnson, who finished with three wickets to Bracken and Hauritz's two apiece.

And to think at the halfway stage that 303 didn't look like enough for an Australian team that still never knows when it is beaten - something Pakistan and England, their next opponents, will have noted with interest.

© Cricket World 2009

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