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Smith leads SA to easy win over Aussies

SA raced to their revised target of 204 in the rain-hit match in 37.3 overs with six wickets to spare.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2006 11:42 IST

Graeme Smith played a captain's knock by hitting an unbeaten 119 to lead South Africa to a six-wicket victory in the first one-day international at Centurion Park on Sunday.

South Africa's initial target of 233 in the rain-hit match was reduced to 204 by the Duckworth/Lewis method.

Batting with renewed confidence after a miserable sequence of scores on a recent tour of Australia, the southpaw's innings was peppered with 12 fours and a six. Smith reached his quickfire fifty in 51 balls and then his century off 110 deliveries.

South Africa had the upper hand for most of the match against an injury-hit Australian team, with the tourists forced to field their only 11 fit players after captain Ricky Ponting withdrew because of an abdominal strain.

Earlier, Shaun Pollock took three wickets for 23 as Australia battled to 229 for eight off 47 overs.

Rain shortened the innings to 47 overs, meaning South Africa were set 233 to win after calculations according to the Duckworth-Lewis system.

Stand-in Australia captain Adam Gilchrist won the toss and elected to bat as overnight rain persisted into the morning. South Africa's opening bowlers struck early.

Makhaya Ntini bowled Simon Katich off the inside edge for two, and Pollock trapped Damien Martyn lbw for one to have the visitors in trouble at five for two.

When Gilchrist mistimed a pull shot off Ntini's bowling to be caught by Andre Nel for 14, South Africa looked in control. But Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey rebuilt the innings with a 100-run partnership.

The pair looked comfortable until Pollock returned to the attack and claimed both their wickets in the space of two overs. Clarke fell for 53 to a brilliant diving catch at extra cover by AB de Villiers, while Hussey skied a sweep to Boeta Dippenaar on the square-leg boundary to fall for 56 off 73 balls.

After a rain break, Brett Lee took on the remainder of the South African attack, hitting 38 off 28 balls to lift the Australians to a competitive total.

Captain Ricky Ponting is not in the Australian line-up, having strained an abdominal muscle while batting in the indoor nets on Saturday.

"It is a painful condition which is central to all movement, so it affects his batting, bowling and running— pretty much everything," Australian physiotherapist Errol Alcott was quoted as saying in a Cricket Australia media advisory on Sunday.

Adam Gilchrist is leading the team, with Australia down to 11 fit players due to injuries to all rounder Andrew Symonds and paceman Stuart Clark.

Symonds has a thigh strain and Clark a bruised rib.

South Africa have made five changes to the team that lost to Sri Lanka in Hobart on Feb 7 to be eliminated from the VB Series.

AB de Villiers replaces Ashwell Prince and will also take over the wicketkeeping duties from Mark Boucher, who will play as a batsman only.

The injured Charl Langeveldt, suspended spinner Johan Botha and Dale Steyn have been replaced by Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson and Andre Nel.


South Africa: Graeme Smith, Boeta Dippenaar, AB de Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Justin Kemp, Shaun Pollock, Mark Boucher, Robin Peterson, Andrew Hall, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel.

Australia: Adam Gilchrist, Simon Katich, Damien Martyn, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Mitchell Johnson, Mick Lewis.

First Published: Feb 27, 2006 11:42 IST