Australia beats SAfrica by 3 wickets, wins series
Melbourne, Australia: Steven Smith's sterling 104 and James Faulkner's late unbeaten 34 drove Australia to a three-wicket victory over South Africa and the one-day international series victory by three matches to one on Friday.
A century partnership by Smith and Matthew Wade (52) helped Australia recover from 98-5 to finish at 268-7 with six balls to spare at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and give the hosts the series win ahead of the fifth and final match on Sunday at Sydney.
Captain AB de Villiers, who appeared to injure his ribs while fielding, earlier top-scored with 91 for South Africa, and shared a 122-run fourth-wicket stand with David Miller (45) to revive the innings from 77-3.
The visitors, who won the toss, finished with 267-8.
After 40 overs, Australia needed 8.6 runs an over and with Nathan Coulter-Nile unable to bat due to a left hamstring injury he sustained while bowling.
But Smith, who was also named man of the match in Canberra on Wednesday in Australia's second win of the series, slowly helped Australia get back in the match.
When Smith brought up his second ODI century with a mistimed pull shot off the bowling of Dale Steyn, the equation was 29 runs off 20 balls. Faulkner then belted Steyn's next two deliveries to the boundary and the game became Australia's to lose with 21 runs required from three overs.
Smith was clean-bowled by Robin Peterson when his side needed one run to win.
The game ended in tense circumstances when the third umpire checked a catch from Miller and decided Pat Cummins hit the winning run.
Earlier, Wade formed a crucial 121-run stand with Smith, the best sixth-wicket ODI partnership at the ground, outdoing Simon O'Donnell's and Dean Jones' 108-run effort against Sri Lanka in 1989.
De Villiers was denied a 19th ODI century by Cummins, a rare error in judgment in the 43rd over resulting in a regulation catch in the deep for Smith.
It was a crucial wicket as South Africa scored only 51 runs from its final 10 overs.
Both teams made four changes for the match, with South Africa sidelining pacemen Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander, who shared the new ball in the loss at Canberra on Wednesday. Legspinner Imran Tahir missed the match due to injury.