Proteas take first blood

South Africa has recorded a two-run victory over Australia in the tour-opening Twenty20 international at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

The hosts made a brilliant 4-201 from their 20 overs, with skipper Graeme Smith leading the way with 89 from 58 balls.

They restricted Australia to 7-199 in a tense finish, with Andrew Hall doing much of the damage, taking 3-22.

Brett Lee top scored for Australia, with 43 from 21 balls, while Adam Gilchrist and skipper Ricky Ponting both went cheaply.

Lee and Brad Hogg combined for a healthy 57-run seventh-wicket stand, but it came to an end when Hogg was caught by Smith off Hall for 41.

Australia needed 19 runs from the final over, but Lee and Nathan Bracken could only scramble 17.

The tourists had been hampered by the early loss of Gilchrist (1) and Ponting (6), while opener Simon Katich (39) and Michael Clarke (37) fell while trying to slog the ball to the boundary and Damien Martyn was caught behind to have Australia reeling at 6-124.

Earlier, South Africa won the toss and decided to bat, but were forced to wait as rain delayed the start of the match by two hours.

When the weather finally cleared, both sides agree to play the full 20 overs each, despite a condition which stipulates the match should be shortened because of a delay greater than an hour. The teams also agreed to play without super subs.

Smith got his side off to a flying start, smashing the Australian bowlers around the field.

Mick Lewis made the initial breakthrough, skittling the stumps behind newcomer Loots Bosman (23), who earlier had endured a bouncer from Lee on his first ball at the international level.

But then Smith combined with Herschelle Gibbs to record a thumping second-wicket partnership of 111 off 65 balls.

Gibbs (56 off 34) was finally trapped in front by Lewis and Shaun Pollock (2) was back in the pavilion soon after, caught by Stuart Clark off Shane Watson.

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