Herschelle Gibbs hit a sparkling century and Dale Steyn took four wickets to lift South Africa to a series-clinching 61-run win over Australia in the fourth one-dayer on Monday.
The hosts clinched the series 3-1, Gibbs smashing 110 and AB de Villiers 84 in a commanding total of 317 for six.
Australia started well with an opening stand of 129 in 127 balls between Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke, but lost their way against the spinners and were bowled out for 256 in the 46th over.
Haddin and Clarke began the Australian chase with a flurry of runs but the introduction of spin changed the course of the innings.
Haddin targeted Johan Botha and took 14 runs off his first over on the way to a 41-ball half-century but the off-spinner had his revenge when he had Haddin caught at long-on by Wayne Parnell for 78.
Roelof van der Merwe, playing his third one-dayer, claimed three wickets as the required run-rate soared. Clarke was bowled for 50, Callum Ferguson stumped by Mark Boucher for three and Michael Hussey trapped LBW for two.
Australia were 151 for four and captain Ricky Ponting meandered through to the 41st over, scoring 37 off 61 balls without reaching the boundary.
He called for the batting powerplay and hammered Steyn for four boundaries in the first five balls before the South Africa fast bowler had him caught off a bouncer for 53.
South Africa’s most dangerous bowler also bowled a threatening lifter to dismiss David Hussey caught-and-bowled for 20.
James Hopes scored 31 at better than a run-a-ball but he fell to Parnell and Steyn finished with four for 44 as he wrapped up the tail, comprehensively bowling Nathan Hauritz and Shane Harwood in the last over.
The final match of the series is in Johannesburg on Friday.
■2011 WORLD CUP
AFP, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Afghanistan’s hopes of clinching a 2011 Cricket World Cup place just eight years after the national team was formed were all but dashed on Monday.
The sporting heroes of the war-torn nation lost by six wickets to Canada in Pretoria and with Ireland, Kenya and Netherlands also winning, the Afghans need a miracle to squeeze through.
Afghanistan must hope the Kenyans and Dutch lose their remaining two World Cup Qualifier Super 8 matches today and on Friday, while they defeat title holders Scotland and Namibia.
Net run rate would then decide which countries fill the four places on offer for the quadrennial world cricket showpiece in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Ireland on Monday bounced back from a shock loss to Afghanistan with an eight-wicket win over the United Arab Emirates, Kenya had a 24-run victory over Scotland and the Netherlands defeated Namibia by two wickets.
Canada and Ireland have eight points each with two rounds of Super 8 action left, Kenya and the Netherlands six, Scotland and UAE four and Afghanistan and Namibia two apiece.