South Africa drove home their point on Friday when they beat Australia in the last of the five-match ODIs against Australia in Perth. The visitors saw two of their debutantes shine as they totally out-classed their hosts. Australians were left wondering what is going on in their team while they prepare to face New Zealand and then travel to South Africa for another series against the Proteas.
After winning the toss South African captain Johan Botha elected to bat first. The Proteas had a shaky start while posting their first total in this series. All the other four matches saw South Africa chasing after Australia posted scores.
Herschelle Gibbs was dismissed for just seven off 15 balls with the score on 28 in the sixth over. Neil McKenzie (10 off 28) was next to depart in the 14th over with the score on 58. Hashim Amla (97 off 117) and AB de Villiers (60 off 71) managed to steady the ship. They steered South Africa to 176 for three in the 37th over when de Villiers was caught by Warner off Hopes.
Hashim Amla soon followed three short of his 100 caught behind off the bowling of Hopes by Haddin. He was visibly disappointed with himself after edging it to Haddin. a Century would have underlined his exceptional performances on this tour, but it was not to be.
Albie Morkel made no impression as he clobbered a few boundaries and was then bowled by a good delivery by Mitchell Johnson.
As on so many occasions on this tour by the Proteas someone stepped up to the plate and delivered what was needed to get the win. This time it was JP Duminy who surprised the Australians with intelligent attacking strokes to finish not out on 60 off only 42 balls. After Morkel's departure it looked like South Africa would not be able to take full advantage of their batting power play. Duminy had other ideas and was impressive as he took the game to Australia.
With 288 on the board South Africa looked to be in a good position. Australia would have thought they could get 289 for victory and restore some respect to their summer. Again one of the Proteas, debutant Lenwabo "Lopsy" Tsotsobe, took up the challenge and delivered a spectacular performance for his team.
Tsotsobe took two wickets in his opening spell. Shaun Marsh (five off 11) was caught by Amla to give Lopsy his first international ODI wicket and Australia were 10 for one in the second over. Ponting was next caught behind by de Villiers for 12 off 20 balls and Tsotsobe had the hosts reeling on 35 for two in the eighth over.
Morne Morkel bowled Michael Clarke for zero off four balls and Dave Warner was unlucky to be "run out" by Parnell for 22 off 29. Parnell got his fingertips to a straight drive which hit the stumps catching Warner well short of his crease. This left Australia with 53 runs on the board for the loss of four wickets in the 13th over.
The Hussey brothers then knocked some respectability back into the Ausie score bringing them to 122 in the 30th before David was caught by Botha off Duminy's bowling for 32 off 51 balls. Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin steadily advanced to 174 in the 39th before Mike Hussey was bowled by that man Tsotsobe for 78 off 96.
From then on Ausie fans and Brad Haddin watched as one tail-ender after another took a walk back to the dressing rooms. Tsotsobe's fourth wicket was Mitchell Johnson whom he caught out off his own bowling for five off nine balls.
When Haddin was eventually caught by Tsotsobe off the bowling of fellow-debutant Parnell for 63 off 50 it was all over for Australia.
Bracken was the last man out and South Africa were visibly elated by their win in the final match of the tour.
Hashim Amla picked up man-of-the-match on the day for his excellent 97 and Albie Morkel was declared the man-of-the-series.
South Africa are on their way back home and there is no doubt that their reception at O.R. Thambo airport will be a memorable one.