South Africa beat Australia by four wickets in the second match of the VB International one-day series here yesterday. The world champions were dismissed for 198 off 48.5 overs and South Africa won with 11 balls to spare. It was Australia's second successive defeat in the series after losing by 23 runs to New Zealand in Friday's opening match.
Jonty Rhodes was the man who led the South Africans home. He made a patient unbeaten 43 off 101 balls as the tourists crept past an Australian total that included a fine 62 from Steve Waugh, playing his 100th one-day international as captain.
The hosts missed their premier strike bowler Glenn McGrath, unavailable because of a one-match ban for dissent in the defeat to New Zealand. But once again it was their batting that let them down.
South Africa had already notched four straight wins over them here at the MCG and the route to the fifth was opened with the first ball of the match. Adam Gilchrist attempted to cut Shaun Pollock, but only popped a catch to Allan Donald at third man.
Australia also rode their luck with Ricky Ponting, who made 51, and Steve Waugh getting the benefit of appeals for caught behind. Waugh's escape, off Makhaya Ntini, was the most significant as he had made only 10.
His batting partner Ponting was not so lucky, and he was run out after being beaten by Rhodes's throw after Steve Waugh had sent him back. Steve Waugh was unsettled and never really got into his stride before he was bowled by a full delivery from Jacques Kallis.
Australia's brittle middle-order was exposed again as they lost their last six wickets for 34 runs. Pollock, the man of the match, took 3 for 25 and Kallis bagged 3 for 30. Without McGrath and the economical Ian Harvey, who was rested, the Australian attack lacked sufficient variety to put the South African batsmen under pressure.