| Ponting |
Hobart: A new look Australian bowling attack stifled South Africas in-form batsmen as the hosts ground out a thrilling five-run win in the second ODI to level the five-match cricket series 1-1 here Sunday.
Put into bat, Australia at one stage looked certain to reach the 300-mark before the South African bowlers bounced back to restrict them to a moderate 249 for nine with Shaun Marsh (78) and Ricky Ponting (64) being the pick of the Australian batsmen.
In reply, South Africa, with handy contributions from Jacques Kallis (72), AB de Villiers (44), Mark Boucher (37 ..) and JP Duminy (35), came tantalisingly close, but still fell six runs short of the target and finished 244 for six in the humdinger.
Needing 17 from the final over off Ben Hilfenhaus, Mark Boucher hit the bowler for a six, but in the subsequent deliveries, boundaries were not easy to come by. Requiring a six off the last ball, Boucher could only manage a single as Australia levelled the series.
Marshs fifth fifty in 10 games earned him the Man of the Match award.
Australia were in for an early jolt as David Warners (5) ODI debut proved a damp squib with Dale Steyn removing the exciting batsman caught behind in the fifth over.
Marsh and Ponting were in no hurry as they gauged the situation well and after 15 overs, Australia were going steady at 66 for one when they stepped on the gas.
Kallis and Duminy, however, had other plans and they removed Ponting and Marsh respectively in a span of three overs to halt Australias progress.
Skipper Johan Botha and Duminy stifled the run flow and with wickets falling at regular intervals, Australia suddenly found scoring difficult.
Kallis struck in the 40th over again, removing Mike Hussey (19) but with Makhaya Ntini (3/39) running through the lower order and running out Brad Haddin (23), Australia could not even touch the 250-mark.
The Proteas lost Hashim Amla (8) and Herschelle Gibbs (19) early to Hilfenhaus and James Hopes respectively but Kallis and De Villiers not only stemmed the rot but also laid the foundation for a perfect chase before things went haywire.
Hilfenhaus finally broke the 93-run stand by claiming Kallis and then De Villiers stumbled while going for a second run and was caught short of the crease.
Duminy and Boucher did try their best but Australian bowlers didnt allow them any leeway and stemmed boundaries as the asking rate kept soaring. In the end, South Africa needed eight from the last two deliveries but could manage just two singles.
Meanwhile, Australias win was marred by alleged racial abuse of Proteas bowler Morne Morkel by a spectator who was later arrested and charged with racial vilification.
Cricket Australia has apologised to their South Africa counterpart for the incident.