Adelaide: It seems to be going from bad to worse for Australia. After losing the Test series to arch rivals South Africa, Ricky Ponting's team was drubbed in the one-day series on Tuesday as the visitors won the fourth ODI convincingly by eight wickets (with 12 overs to spare) to take an invincible 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
After bundling out Australia for a modest 222, South Africa romped home in the 39th over with stand-in opener Hashim Amla (80 not out) and AB de Villiers (82 not out) stitching a match winning 142-run stand.
It was a clinical performance from Johan Botha's men in Adelaide as nothing went right for Ponting apart from the toss. Makhaya Ntini (4-52) and Dale Steyn (3-49) helped the visitors bowl out Australia for a modest 222 in 48 overs and then, as has been the precedence in the series, the South African batsmen did not show any nerves.
Herschelle Gibbs got his team off to a flier, blasting a 29-ball 38 with eight boundaries. Aussie hopes were revived after Gibbs and Jacques Kallis (13) perished in quick succession but Amla and de Villiers squashed chances of a comeback by the home side with some impressive batting.
Amla's unbeaten 80 came off 103 balls with eight fours while man of the match de Villiers stroked his unconquered 82 off just 85 balls that saw him caress six boundaries and one six. /In the Australian innings, the only bright spot for Australia was a 93-run stand between skipper Ponting (63) and Michael Hussey (28).
After choosing to bat, Australia lost David Warner (one) and Shaun Marsh (13) early before Ponting and Hussey came to the rescue. Australia were well-placed at 110-2 in the 20th over but the wicket of Hussey triggered a collapse with the South Africans tightening the noose.
Both Hussey and Ponting within a space of nine balls and the home team never recovered from there.
Brad Haddin (three) fell to an ambitious heave off captain Botha and David Hussey (24) mistimed an Albie Morkel delivery to spoon a regulation catch to Gibbs.
Cameron White (30), who came into the eleven in place of Ryan Harris, and James Hopes (42) led a mini recovery before Steyn came into the act. The South African spearhead snared the duo in consecutive overs to win back the momentum.
The Australian tail failed to wag with the South African pacers cleaning up the lower order with clinical precision.