South Africa 289-6 (De Villiers 80, Kallis 70, Johnson 4-34) beat
Australia 264-8 (Hopes 63no, Ferguson 63, v. d. Merwe 3-37) by 25 runs
Third One Day International, Newlands, Cape Town
By John Pennington
Half-centuries from Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers helped set up a comprehensive 25-run win for South Africa over Australia in the third One Day International at Newlands in Cape Town.
South Africa reached a score of 289 for six before Roelof van der Merwe picked up three wickets as Australia were held to 264 for eight.
The batsmen were kept in check early on by Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Bracken (1-58) before Brett Geeves' first over was hammered for 14 by Herschelle Gibbs but Australia hit back as Johnson had Graeme Smith caught by wicket-keeper Brad Haddin for six shortly after.
Geeves recovered somewhat, using all his experience to finish with one for 67 from his ten overs and although Gibbs looked in good touch, making 26 with three boundaries, he was dismissed when he hoisted a Bracken slower ball straight to James Hopes at deep midwicket.
Kallis (70) and de Villiers (80) then added 114 for the third wicket with steady accumulation, sharp running between the wickets and 12 boundaries in all.
Kallis struck five of them before he pulled Geeves straight to Hopes at midwicket and de Villiers departed in the first over of the batting Power Play in the 41st over when a leading edge from Johnson popped up to mid-off where Nathan Hauritz took a simple catch.
Left-handers JP Duminy (32) and Albie Morkel (29) attempted to make the most of the fielding restrictions but after Duminy audaciously flicked Johnson over his shoulder for four, he slashed the same bowler straight into the hands of Mike Hussey at extra cover.
In the end just 38 runs came from the five-over spell which represented more of a triumph for Australia, who picked up two wickets.
Some much-needed late hitting from the home side was provided by Mark Boucher, who hit Bracken down the ground for a six, only for Morkel to repeat the stroke as the third from last over disappeared for 20. Boucher was was trying to put everything out of the park and he reacted to Hopes being brought on to bowl the penultimate over by smashing another maximum, this time over midwicket.
The pair put brought up a 50 partnership in just 29 balls before Morkel was bowled by Johnson in the final over and after van der Merwe played and missed twice, he launched Johnson high into the stands to finish unbeaten on six, with Boucher on 28 from just 15 balls.
Johnson bowled outstandingly well to finish with four for 34 despite conceding ten in his final over as South Africa smashed 94 in the final ten overs.
The efforts put in by Johnson and Bracken were then mirrored by Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell, who restricted Australia to 30 for one in the opening ten overs. The wicket that their pressure deserved came when Haddin (15) was brilliantly run out by a direct hit from JP Duminy at cover.
Parnell then had Ricky Ponting (20) edging twice in two balls and the Australian skipper should have run out in the next over but somehow survived. The first edge just fell short of wicket-keeper Boucher and the second was just out of reach of Kallis at first slip. Morkel and Boucher then both missed the stumps with Ponting stranded before he eventually moved off of one by pulling Kallis for a boundary over midwicket.
The fourth chance he offered was taken when a leading edge was well held by Johan Botha, slightly hampered by non-striker Michael Clarke, off his own bowling.
Clarke, who had hitherto been using his feet well to drive down the ground with aplomb, was soon dismissed when he came down the track to van der Merwe and was bowled for 35. Van der Merwe's dream start to his international career continued when Mike Hussey was adjudged out lbw for one soon after, although he can count himself desperately unlucky as the ball deflected off a very healthy inside edge.
David Hussey (20) and Callum Ferguson (63) battled to get Australia past the 100 mark as they endured a trial by spin in which the second ball of Duminy brought about the end of Hussey when he lofted him straight down Steyn's throat at long-on.
Ferguson and Hopes rallied, using the batting Power Play to bring up a half-century partnership and Ferguson reached his third half-century in ODIs shortly before a couple of floodlights went out, which delayed proceedings with Australia requiring 96 to win in 42 balls.
Ferguson timed the ball beautifully to hit six fours but this challenge was too much and he sliced van der Merwe high in the air going for another boundary and was easily taken by de Villiers, ending a stand worth 97 for the sixth wicket.
Johnson's first scoring stroke was an imperious six over long-on but his stay at the crease was short, run out as he tried to take two runs to Duminy at deep backward point and he was on his way back for nine in six balls. Geeves (10 not out) also got off the mark with a boundary, cutting Morkel for four before Hopes reached his half-century by flicking Parnell for a boundary backward of square.
The muted celebrations of both Hopes (63 not out) and Ferguson after reaching their milestones betrayed the game situation as after losing their top batsmen too early, just as they had in Centurion, there was no way back for Australia.
© Cricket World 2009