Hussey anchors Australia to series win over Proteas
Australia clinched Friday's decisive one-day international against South Africa in Durban by three wickets, maintaining their skipper Michael Clarke's winning record. Clarke is now undefeated in one Test series against Sri Lanka and three ODI series since succeeding Ricky Ponting as skipper.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australians had to thank their "Mr. Cricket" Michael Hussey, named man of the series, for the win, as he played a vintage unbeaten knock of 45 from 64 to guide Australia past South Africa's target of 6-222 with 15 balls to spare.
He brought up victory with an emphatic pull shot for six. Earlier, the Proteas plan of preserving wickets backfired. Their 17 runs from the batting power play was a telling factor in their slow run rate of just 4.4 an over.
However, the Australians made life difficult for themselves in chasing, with poor shot selection resulting in the fall of regular wickets. But in the end they showed why they're the No.1 ranked team in one-day cricket, after victories in Centurion and now Durban outweighed their one off-night in Port Elizabeth in game two.
Returning from back spasms, Shane Watson justified Australia's eagerness to have him play, posting 49 from 46 balls to get Australia off to the perfect start and earn him man of the match honours. Shaun Marsh scored 30 in his return from a shoulder problem which kept him out of the opening two matches of the series.
Captain Clarke (26), and Brad Haddin (23) were the others to score for Australia. Proteas part-time spinner r J P Duminy (2-29) took the important wickets of Clarke and Marsh. When Marsh fell, the score was 5-156 in the 35th over, and another quick wicket would have given South Africa a big opportunity to steal the match back.
Australia's decision to go with a long specialist batting line up paid dividends on a slowing Kingsmead wicket, where they now hold a commanding 5-2 advantage over the home side.
Earlier, Australia produced a mature bowling performance in the field. Tasmanian spinner Xavier Doherty was the standout bowler for Australia, taking 2-34 from nine overs. Young quick Pat Cummins was destroyed in his opening spell, but showed excellent composure to fight back in his second effort to finish with 1-49.
South African captain Hashim Amla scored 53, while Jacques Kallis made his second straight half century (54) to become the fifth highest run scorer in the history of ODIs. Australian left-arm pacer Mitchell Johnson finished with 2-37.