South Africa 317-6 (Gibbs 110, de Villiers 84) beat
Australia 256 (Haddin 78, Ponting 53) )by 61 runs
Fourth One Day International, Port Elizabeth
By Graham Wilson
A Herschelle Gibbs century helped to lay the foundations for a series-clinching 61-run win for South Africa over Australia in the fourth One Day International in Port Elizabeth.
Gibbs returned to form with a stunning century as South Africa reached 317 for six and he picked up a catch as Australia were bowled out for 256, which put South Africa 3-1 up in the series with one match still to play.
Left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe picked up three wickets for the second time in the series as South Africa checked Australia's progress after openers Brad Haddin (78) and Michael Clarke (50) had added 129 for the first wicket.
Haddin was in sublime touch, and he had to be, as Clarke wasn't, the wicket-keeper hammering four sixes including two in two balls from Johan Botha but attempting another maximum he was caught by Wayne Parnell on the boundary.
Clarke ground out 50 in 68 balls before he was bowled by a van der Merwe quicker ball and the left-armer went on to have Callum Ferguson (3) sharply stumped by Mark Boucher and Mike Hussey (2) trapped in front as Australia's middle order again struggled on a wearing pitch against some decent spin bowling.
Captain Ricky Ponting made a much-needed 53 but his dismissal, caught at midwicket by Albie Morkel off of Steyn during the batting Power Play, effectively put South Africa in the clear.
Shortly before, David Hussey had been well caught and bowled by Steyn as he tried an expansive pull and once James Hopes was taken by Gibbs at backward point, it was game, set and match to the Proteas; Gibbs having taken more catches than any other South African outfielder.
Earlier, Gibbs was in imperious form, reaching 110 in 116 balls after Australia won the toss and chose to insert South Africa and he was given support by AB de Villiers, who hammered 84 in 74 balls, the pair adding 136 in 123 deliveries.
South Africa, cheered on by a packed crowd at St. George's in full voice, gave their fans plenty to cheer with Gibbs and de Villiers treating the spin bowling of Hauritz and Clarke with utter disdain, helping themselves to five sixes between them and even Jacques Kallis hit a maximum before he was caught out for 17.
It was perhaps the shot of the day as he advanced down the track and launched Nathan Bracken over long-off and South Africa were given plenty of encouragement to go aerial as Harwood, Mitchell Johnson and Hopes all dropped catches during the innings.
Graeme Smith (20) also went early, charging Hopes and edging to Haddin, but not before he had added 46 with Gibbs in quick time.
Gibbs and de Villiers were at the crease for more than 20 overs, and Gibbs brought up his 21st ODI century and de Villiers his 18th ODI half-century and the pair looked irresistiale at the crease and so well had they gone, that South Africa opted to promote Albie Morkel (4) to try to cash in on their good position.
Morkel was bowled by Johnson for four but a direct consequence meant that it was JP Duminy and Mark Boucher together at the death and they added a belligerent, brilliant half-century partnership to take their side past the 300 mark.
Duminy was superbly caught off the last ball of the innings by a diving Mike Hussey at backward square to end his knock of 40 in 25 balls, leaving Boucher unbeaten on 29 in 25 balls.
Johnson and Harwood, in the side in place of the injured Brett Geeves, picked up two wickets apiece with Nathan Bracken and Hopes taking one each.
Steyn finished Australia's innings off by bowling out Nathan Hauritz and Shane Harwood, the pace man ending with four for 44 - Australia lost four wickets for 22 runs when van der Merwe was bowling and while Steyn's final burst sealed the game, in reality, the match was lost once the middle order was dismissed cheaply.
© Cricket World 2009