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Proteas retain ODI's top spot despite loss

AUSTRALIA bounced back to finish the one-day international series against South Africa with a convincing 47-run victory in Johannesburg on Friday. South Africa still won the series 3-2 and retained the No. 1 spot in the world ODI rankings.

Australia's total of 303-7 initially looked like it could be reached on a good wicket, but the Proteas dropped from 150-1 to be all out for 256 less than 20 overs later.

South Africa lost captain Graeme Smith for 20 with the score on 46. His opening partner Herschelle Gibbs, who hit a century in the last match, hit 10 fours and a six in the 101 balls he faced, before falling for 86. Going for a sweep shot, he was trapped in front by off-spinner Nathan Hauritz.

Gibbs and Jacques Kallis added 104 for the second wicket in 20.3 overs, with the all-rounder hitting 64 off 69 balls, with six fours and a six.

Smith, Kallis and J.P. Duminy (3) all went caught behind off forcing shots, the first two to Bracken and the latter to Johnson.

A.B. de Villiers (38) was the only other home-side batsman to contribute a decent score, but he was bowled by a Ben Laughlin full-toss to be seventh man out on 229 in the 43rd over.

Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson finished with 3-58 although Hauritz took the man-of-the-match award with his 2-34. The spinner helped slow down the scoring rate in the middle of the Proteas innings and claimed the valuable wickets of Gibbs and Albie Morkel (5).

"It was good for us to finish on a high, after being outplayed in the series," Hauritz said.

Morkel was out to a stunning catch high on the square-leg boundary by Laughlin, where the fielder did well to stay inside the boundary ropes.

Earlier, Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin put on a 27-run opening stand for Australia before South Africa hit back to restrict the visitors to 303-7. Clarke smashed 10 boundaries to score 66 and Haddin hit seven fours and a six for 62 as the pair gave the Australians a fast start.

Ricky Ponting (40) and Callum Ferguson (41) got starts before being dismissed as South Africa took 7-119 in the middle overs. However, Michael Hussey (49 not out) and Hauritz (24 not out) added a 57-run partnership to boost the total.


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