South Africa 317-6 (Gibbs 110, de Villiers 84) v Australia
Fourth One Day International, Port Elizabeth
By Graham Wilson
Herschelle Gibbs returned to form with a stunning century as South Africa hit Australia for 317 for six in the fourth One Day International in Port Elizabeth.
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 Nathan Hauritz and Michael 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 Shaen Harwood, Mitchell Johnson and James Hopes all dropped catches during the innings.
Graeme Smith (20) also went early, charging Hopes and edging to Brad Haddin, but not before he ha 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.
South Africa, 2-1 up in the series, named an unchanged side while Australia replaced Geeves with Harwood after the former broke a bone in his foot during the 25-run defeat in Cape Town.
South Africa won by seven wickets in Centurion after Australia opened the five-match series with a 141-run win in Durban.
© Cricket World 2009