South Africa complete series sweep

South Africa again outplayed the BLACKCAPS to seal the one-day series 3-0 tonight.

The tourists won the third match by five wickets at Auckland’s Eden Park to complete a series clean sweep.

The BLACKCAPS were dismissed for a below par 206, particularly once opener Hashim Amla guaranteed huge inroads were made into their target by scoring 76.

Dropped on 16 and 32, Amla followed up his 92 from the second match with another quality knock featuring laser-like drives down the ground as he struck seven boundaries off 89 balls.

He was the second man out at 138 in the 28th over when he top-edged a ball from Kyle Mills to present wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum with a skied catch.

It was a significant blow for Mills because it was his 200th wicket in the international one-day arena and he was just the fourth New Zealander to reach the milestone. 

Amla was far from a lone figure in making light work of the target set the tourists after makeshift opener Wayne Parnell hit 27 off 41 balls, left-hander Albie Morkel swatted three sixes in a 51-ball 41 and JP Duminy scored 25 off 37.

For the third match in succession South African captain AB de Villiers was in the middle when the winning runs were scored, this time personally ending the contest with a six off offspinner Rob Nicol, who took two cheap wickets.

Big, bouncy fast bowler Marchant de Lange marked his one-day debut for South Africa by steaming in and testing the mettle of all of the batsmen en route to excellent figures of four for 46 off nine overs.

As well, de Villiers called on his slow men to good effect, with left-arm spinner Robin Peterson showing impeccable control operating into the teeth of a strong wind to claim two for 36 off 10, while offspinner Johan Botha picked up the wicket of opener Nicol for the cost of 28 runs off his seven.

The New Zealanders seemed inhibited once they lost Martin Guptill for seven in the fifth over and at no stage threatened to take the attack to the well drilled and disciplined South African attack.

Nicol struggled for his 12 off 40 balls before prodding forward tentatively to Botha to offer a thin edge, and Brendon McCullum mixed watchful defence with a few lusty blows to top score with 47 off 59 balls before he was the third man out in the 22nd over with the total at 74 when he thick edged a fullish delivery from de Lange to Faf du Plessis behind point.

De Lange employed a fullish length vary sparingly as the South African fast bowlers continued with a proven tactic of digging the ball in short of a length.

None of the New Zealanders looked particularly comfortable but debutant Colin de Grandhomme and left-hander James Franklin both managed to make 36 .

De Grandhomme, who struck three sixes from 36 balls, was run out by a direct hit from Albie Morkel at mid off, while Franklin spooned a ball from de Lange to cover.

The South African fielding inside the circle could barely be faulted and they pulled off two run outs, the other ending Kane Williamson’s stay on 22 when du Plessis pounced to present a perfect throw over the top of the bails for wicketkeeper de Villiers.

The two teams now prepare for the first of three tests, starting at Dunedin’s University Oval on Wednesday.

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