Aiden Markram’s century and a successful attack saw South Africa beat Australia by 111 runs in the third One Day International at the JB Marks Oval on Tuesday to win their first match of the five-match series.
Markram scored 102 not out as he propelled the hosts to 338-6 after being put into bat, to which Australia responded with 227, bowled out with 15 overs to spare.
Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi both took two wickets as their spin ended a sharp Australian response.
However, South Africa were lucky when David Warner was run out and Tim David was subsequently dropped after a review of a catch which appeared to have been dropped but was deemed fair by the fourth umpire after a review television.
Markram also had a touch of luck in reaching his second ODI century, falling in the deep at 95, which allowed him to reach the triple-digit milestone.
But it was a vital innings that propelled South Africa to a formidable total after losing their way mid-innings.
They started frantically as Quinton de Kock and captain Temba Bavuma made an opening score of 146 before De Kock was undone by Travis Head’s off-spin and managed 82 runs.
Bavuma went fast thereafter for 57 and the home team’s run rate slowed down noticeably as Australia pushed them back.
When David Miller departed cheaply in the 42nd over, they were 244-5, but Markram revived the innings and ensured a formidable target with powerful hitting in the final overs.
This did not seem to bother the tourists, however, with Warner and Head hitting the ball to all corners and Australia racing to 104-1 in 10 overs as they began their response on a freezing night.
But when Warner slipped, lost his shoe and was bowled out by Maharaj’s flat throw, despite a desperate dive, the match turned on its head.
Marnus Labuschagne, the man of the match in the previous two ODIs won by Australia, was dismissed off Shamsi’s bowling for 15 and David was run out despite replacement fielder Bjorn Fortuin looking unsure whether he had taken a good catch off the bowling of George Coetzee. The television rebroadcasts were also unconvincing.
Seamer Coetzee then cleaned up the tail to finish with figures of 4-50.
The teams travel to Pretoria for Friday’s clash with the final match of the series against the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday.