South Africa 132-3 (Smith 40, De Villiers 36no, Kallis 31) beat
Australia 131 (Ferguson 50, Parnell 4-25, Steyn 4-27) by seven wickets
Second One Day International, Centurion Park
By John Pennington
Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell shared eight wickets as South Africa comfortably beat Australia by seven wickets in the second One Day International at Centurion Park and level the series at 1-1.
Ricky Ponting won his eighth toss in a row against South Africa but until Callum Ferguson eked out a half-century, there was little else to cheer for the tourists as they slipped to 19 for five, rallying somewhat to reach 131 in the 41st over before South Africa reached 132 for three in the 28th over.
Brad Haddin edged Dale Steyn onto his stumps for a duck and although Ponting smashed the same bowler for a six to get off the mark first ball, he was unable to make more than eight before he edged Wayne Parnell and wicket-keeper Mark Boucher picked up a fine catch. Parnell struck again to trap Michael Clarke (5) before Boucher and Steyn combined again to dismiss David Hussey for one. Two balls later, Australia were five down before 20 runs had been scored when Michael Hussey was deceived by a Parnell slower ball to be out lbw.
Shades of the Caribbean in 2008 when Australia lost five wickets for 18 in Jamaica, going on to win and eariler this year, when Bangladesh reduced Sri Lanka to five for six - on both occasions the side collapsing went on to win, and if Australia do turn it around, they will owe an awful lot to Ferguson.
He reached his second half-century in 82 balls with just three fours, watching on as James Hopes edged Jacques Kallis to Johan Botha at slip, and then forming the first substantial partnership of the innings with Mitchell Johnson, who made 30.
Johnson hit two fours and a six before Botha had him trapped in front to end a 63-run stand for the seventh wicket that pushed Australia past 100 overall.
Soon after he reached his half-century, Ferguson was out when he gloved a rising Steyn delivery to AB de Villiers at short point. Parnell took his fourth wicket when Nathan Bracken (5) chipped him to Herschelle Gibbs at extra cover and Steyn joined him on four to end the innings with another edge behind, this time from Nathan Hauritz (10).
Steyn finished with four for 27, man of the match Parnell with a career-best four for 25, Botha one for 29 and Kallis one for 11.
South Africa made a positive start, Graeme Smith pulling imperiously and driving fluently to reach 25 after Gibbs (2) sliced Mitchell Johnson to Nathan Hauritz in the covers.
Smith continued in the same vein after lunch, taken with South Africa on 33 for one after seven overs, looking to take on spinner Hauritz before Ben Laughlin had him caught at mid-on by Michael Clarke immediately after changing ends. Smith had made 40 and shared a 69-run stand for the second wicket with Kallis (31).
Kallis batted sensibly, making his comeback from injury, before edging a wide delivery from Johnson to Haddin.
AB de Villiers (36 not out) hurried the match towards a conclusion by thumping Hauritz over long-on for a big six and JP Duminy (11 not out) looked to take on some short balls offered by Johnson.
De Villiers ended the game in emphatic fashion with a cover drive over the infield that sped to the boundary to complete a superb comeback from the first match, where Australia thumped South Africa by 141 runs in Durban.
The third match is in Cape Town on Thursday (9th April).
© Cricket World 2009