Makhaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock used the second new ball to transform the West Indies' fourth-day resistance into collapse and a South African victory by 10 wickets in the fourth and final Test yesterday.
Only rain, which delayed the start by an hour and 10 minutes and caused another break of two hours in mid-afternoon, slowed the home team's advance to their 3-0 triumph in the series and the retention of the Sir Viv Richards Trophy.
It was confirmation of the ratings that place South Africa second of the 10 Test teams and the West Indies, whose loss was their 28th in their last 38 overseas Tests, eighth.
Restricted to a solitary second-innings wicket for 219 runs in 64 overs on the previous day as Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle compiled hundreds, South Africa needed only 26.6 overs to claim the last seven wickets for 75 runs.
Their captain, Graeme Smith, and Herschelle Gibbs, aided by 10 wides, took only 3.4 overs to score the required 46 runs and complete another emphatic victory under the floodlights.
Using the new ball, which was taken immediately, Ntini had Gayle caught at deep gully in the fifth over after the left-hander added one to his overnight 106. That ended the fourth-wicket partnership of 174 with Sarwan, who was unlucky to be given out lbw 12 balls later for 119 to a ball from Pollock that appeared to be going over the stumps.
Ntini immediately uprooted Dwayne Smith's off-stump to claim his 30th wicket in a series dominated by batsmen on both teams, amassing 20 hundreds between them. It was enough to earn the 26-year-old fast bowler the Man of the Series award.
Ntini was one scalp short of repeating his five wickets in the first innings as Pollock claimed the next three and Andre Nelfinished off the innings.
The West Indies were seven wickets down before they passed the 303 needed to prevent their second innings defeat in the series. But carefree strokeplay from the pace bowlers Merv Dillon, Corey Collymore and Fidel Edwards gave them a lead of 46. It was no more than token success.
(Centurion; final day of five)
West Indies won toss
SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 604-6 dec (H H Gibbs 192, G C Smith 139, J H Kallis 130 no).
WEST INDIES - First Innings 301 (C H Gayle 77; M Ntini 5-49).
WEST INDIES - Second Innings (Overnight: 263 for 3)
C H Gayle c McKenzie b Ntini 107
R R Sarwan lbw b Pollock 119
D R Smith b Ntini 0
R D Jacobs lbw b Pollock 3
V C Drakes c Gibbs b Pollock 4
M Dillon c Smith b Pollock 29
C D Collymore not out 13
F H Edwards b Nel 10
Extras (b4 lb11 w7 nb8) 30
Total (106.4 overs) 348
Fall: 1-18 2-32 3-99 4-273 5-277 6-278 7-284 8-309 9-322.
Bowling: Pollock 32-10-69-4; Ntini 28-4-99-3; Nel 15.4-2-64-2; Kallis 16-4-49-1; Hall 0.2-0-4-0; Smith 8.4-1-24-0; Rudolph 6-0-24-0.
SOUTH AFRICA - Second Innings
G C Smith not out 23
H H Gibbs not out 8
Extras (b4 w10 nb1) 15
Total (for 0, 3.4 overs) 46
Did not bat: J A Rudolph, J H Kallis, G Kirsten, N D McKenzie, A J Hall, M V Boucher, S M Pollock, M Ntini, A Nel.
Bowling: Dillon 2-0-17-0; Edwards 1.4-0-25-0.
SOUTH AFRICA WON BY 10 WICKETS.
Man of the Match: H H Gibbs (SA).
Man of the Series: M Ntini (SA).
Umpires: D R Shepherd (Eng) and S Venkataraghavan (India).