De Villiers and Morkel lead way for Proteas

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A record 186-run third wicket stand between AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel paved the way for South Africa to complete a 3-0 sweep of their one-day series against Zimbabwe yesterday. De Villiers smashed 107 and Morkel made a career-best 97 to lead the visitors to a 28-run victory.

Looking to overhaul South Africa's total of 323 for 9, the Zimbabwean captain Tatenda Taibu led from the front by scoring his maiden one-day century (107 not out) but the hosts ran out of overs and finished with 295 for 7.

The 186-run partnership between De Villiers and Morkel was a South African third-wicket record against all opposition. The previous benchmark was held by Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis, who shared an unbroken 172 against Sri Lanka in 2002.

Zimbabwe fought back after medium pacer Gary Brent had De Villiers caught by Tawanda Mupariwa at long-on in the 46th over, starting a slide in which four wickets fell for only 10 runs in 16 deliveries.

Vusi Sibanda (41) and Hamilton Masakadza (48) kick-started Zimbabwe's reply with an opening stand of 76. Brendan Taylor made 42 and helped Taibu add 109 for the third wicket.

But following Taylor's dismissal in the 37th over, Zimbabwe kept losing wickets at regular intervals and Taibu struggled to keep up the momentum. There were eight balls left in the match when Taibu drove fast bowler Makhaya Ntini to mid-on for the single that brought up his century.