Sydney, January 6:

Ricky Ponting scored his second century of the match and his 28th in Tests as Australia came from behind to win the third and final Test and seal the series against South Africa 2-0 at Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Australian skipper used the occasion of his 100th Test to profit from an over-generous declaration by Graeme Smith for an eight-wicket win.

Australia finished on 288 for two after being set 287. It was the highest winning chase in the last innings at the SCG, bettering Australia’s 276/4 against England in February 1898.

Man of the match and the series, Ponting backed up his 120 in the first innings with an unbeaten 143 off 159 balls with 16 fours to get Australia comfortably across the line after South Africa had amassed 451-9 declared in first innings.

It gave Australia a 2-0 win the series, but the victory was only possible after Smith’s bold declaration on the final day opened the way for a result. Ponting, who became the first cricketer to score centuries in each innings of his 100th Test, is one century behind Don Bradman’s 29 Test tons.

Smith threw down the gauntlet at 194/6, setting the Australians 287 runs to win off a minimum of 76 overs at a generous asking rate of 3.77 runs an over. But his bowlers were incapable of forcing a result and Ponting put on a match-winning 182-run second-wicket partnership with Matthew Hayden (90).

NZ-SL one-day

WELLINGTON: Sri Lanka’s dream of a return to winning cricket was shattered on Friday when their batsmen squandered a great bowling performance by Chaminda Vaas to lose to New Zealand by 21 runs.

Shane Bond and Jeetan Patel were the bowling heroes for the home side as they pulled off an unlikely victory to go 4-0 up in the five-match series of one-day internationals.

After being nicely set up by Vaas, who bagged a five wicket haul as New Zealand were restricted to 224 for nine, the Sri Lankan batsmen made a flying start.

At 136/3 in the 27th over, a Sri Lankan victory appeared likely, but it all went wrong as they lost the last seven wickets for 67 runs to be all out with 20 balls remaining. They were still in the game, and ahead of the run rate, in the 39th over when a two-wicket blitz in three balls by Bond removed the last of the recognised batsmen and exposed Sri Lanka’s fragile tail.

While Bond did the damage at one end with 3-39, off-spinner Jeetan Patel baffled the Sri Lankans at the other with 2-23.

With New Zealand already holding an unbeatable 3-0 lead, Stephen Fleming decided to experiment on winning the toss and elected to bat. Peter Fulton and Hamish Marshall both made half-centuries to anchor the New Zealand innings, and Fleming made 37, but the rest of the top order failed to fire.

Only a late flurry from tailenders James Franklin and Shane Bond, who put on 35 runs, saved New Zealand from embarrassment as left-arm seamer Vaas finished with 5-39.

Sri Lanka’s chase stumbled early when Upul Tharanga edged Franklin to Brendon McCullum in the third over. Sangakkara then powered to his 24th one-day half-century in 44 balls with nine fours, but fell to a slower delivery from Chris Cairns. Sangakkara and Jehan Mubarak posted 76 for the second wicket, and Mubarak also pushed on for his 50 but fell soon after.