South Africa win helps repair pride

South Africa beat Australia by eight runs to level their three-match indoor limited-overs series at the Colonial Stadium here yesterday.

South Africa beat Australia by eight runs to level their three-match indoor limited-overs series at the Colonial Stadium here yesterday.

The visitors had been struggling at 19 for 4 in their innings after winning the toss, yet recovered manfully to reach 206 for 7 off their 50 overs.

Shaun Pollock, the South African captain, made an unbeaten 34 and Nicky Boje made 28 not out, as the pair helped the visitors build from their score of 150 for 7 in the 42nd over. South Africa also owed a great deal to the fifth-wicket stand of 98 between Lance Klusener (49) and Neil McKenzie (45).

Glenn McGrath, who took three wickets for 26, and Brett Lee, who also took three wickets, but for a more costly 56, were the pick of Australia's bowlers.

After their collapse in the second game of the series when they looked set for victory at 164 for 4 in the 39th over chasing 227 for victory only for the match to end in a tie, the Australian batsmen once again failed to consolidate a good start.

The opener Adam Gilchrist made 63 runs off 57 balls before being caught by McKenzie off Makhaya Ntini to leave the hosts on 75 for 3 after both Mark Waugh (1) and Ricky Ponting (5) had fallen victim to Pollock.

Steve Waugh's 17 helped take the total to 114 before Pollock held a catch off Lance Klusener, but it was the run out of Michael Bevan (33) by a quick-thinking McKenzie in the 35th over which signalled the beginning of the end.

From 130 for 5, Australia lost their next four wickets for 65 runs and their task was not made any easier after they had two overs deducted from their innings for bowling a slow over rate. Needing 63 from the last 10 overs, it was always going to be a push for Australia to win the match and South Africa's victory ensured a drawn series.

Afterwards, Ali Bacher, the United Cricket Board of South Africa managing director, praised the players. "The last five months have been very traumatic, probably the most traumatic in our [cricket] history," he said, referring to the match-fixing scandal which cost the former captain, Hansie Cronje, his cricket career.

"We have seen better teams, with less pressures, succumb and break apart. I think it's to their absolute credit that they have stood up firm to all these external pressures," Bacher said.

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