South Africa 270-7 (Gibbs 64, Kallis 60, Morkel 40) beat
Australia 269 (Warner 69, Botha 3-32) by three wickets
David Warner, Herschelle Gibbs and Albie Morkel all thrilled Sydney with some breathtaking hitting, but it was Morkel's cameo of 40 in 22 balls that enabled South Africa to move into a 2-1 lead with a three-wicket win over Australia in the third ODI at the SCG.
After Warner marked his first international in front of his home crowd at the CG with a maiden ODI half-century as Australia reached 269 all out, Gibbs' 64 in 52 balls set South Africa up to get home for the loss of seven wickets in the 47th over, breaking the record for a successful run chase at Sydney.
Warner smashed 69 off 60 balls at the top of the order to get his side off of the perfect start although no other batsman could follow his lead and reach a half-century.
Shaun Marsh (43), David Hussey (36) and James Hopes (33) all made useful contributions but none as explosive as the left-handed Warner, who hit two sixes and six fours before South Africa bowled themselves back into the contest.
Captain Johan Botha completed his ten overs conceding just 32 runs, picking up the wickets of Marsh, Ricky Ponting (29) and Brad Haddin (6).
There were two wickets apiece for Dale Steyn (2-47) and Makhaya Ntini (2-46) as Australia were bowled out in the final over.
Gibbs played one of his best innings in some time, smashing a huge six over cover and ten more boundaries before a more patient half-century from Jacques Kallis (60) put South Africa in charge. Kallis also passed 10,000 ODI runs during his innings.
However, just as throughout this summer, nothing can be taken for granted between these two sides, Australia hit back, Nathan Hauritz bowling JP Dumniy (9) before Shaun Tait had Kallis caught behind for 64.
Neil McKenzie (27) and Mark Boucher (31 not out) struggled to pick up the pace before Morkel's six fours and a mighty six over midwicket turned the decisively.
He fell to a superb catch in the oufield from James Hopes, but by then South Africa needed five runs in four overs and weren't to be denied.
Botha sealed the game with a crunching cover drive that raced to the boundary.
© Cricket World 2009