South Africa clinch series 2-0

Johannesburg, May 7 :

Graeme Smith hit his second half-century as South Africa beat New Zealand by four wickets on the third day of the third and final Test against New Zealand at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.

South Africa needed only 47.3 overs to reach a victory target of 217 and clinch a 2-0 series win, which takes them to fifth place on the International Cricket Council’s ranking list, swopping positions with New Zealand.

South Africa had to overcome stubborn resistance by New Zealand’s lower order batsmen before they could start their run chase. It took South Africa 95 minutes to take the last four New Zealand wickets, with the left-handed Daniel Vettori hitting 60 as the Black Caps added 69 runs to their overnight total of 214 for six.

Smith and Boeta Dippenaar batted aggressively, putting on 69 in the first 14 overs before Dippenaar was caught behind off Chris Martin. Smith went on to make 68 off 80 balls with nine fours and a six. Smith was clearly intent on finishing the match with two days to spare, reaching his fifty off 72 balls. Then, when left-arm spinner Vettori came on for the first time in the match in the 25th over, Smith lofted him over mid-on for four and then deposited the next ball on to the grass bank beyond midwicket for six.

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming promptly took Vettori off. Smith was out in the next over when he tried to cut left-armer James Franklin and was caught behind. Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis both fell shortly before tea, while AB de Villiers was bowled by Franklin soon after the interval to give New Zealand a glimmer of hope. But Ashwell Prince and Shaun Pollock took South Africa through to only their second win in nine Tests in an extended season.