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Smith guides South Africa to win

March 30, 2004 10:10 IST

South Africa captain Graeme Smith scored an unbeaten century as the tourists cruised to a six-wicket victory over New Zealand on the fifth afternoon of the third Test in Wellington on Tuesday.

Resuming after lunch on 207 for four, Smith and Martin van Jaarsveld (13 not out) wasted little time in polishing off the 27 remaining runs South Africa needed to win the match and even the three-match series at 1-1.

Man of the match Smith hit Chris Martin through mid-wicket for the winning score to end not out on 125.

Smith had earlier taken part in a record fourth wicket partnership of 171 with Gary Kirsten, who was out off the final ball before the lunch interval.

Playing his final Test innings, Kirsten survived a number of appeals before umpire Asoka de Silva finally gave him out leg before wicket for 76 to Scott Styris from the penultimate scheduled delivery of the morning session.

Kirsten departed Test cricket with a raised bat and a standing ovation from a good fifth day crowd of about 2,000.

The first hour of the morning was always going to be crucial for both sides as the Proteas chased 152 more runs with seven wickets remaining.

New Zealand needed to take wickets while South Africa needed to preserve them and the tourists won that battle with Smith playing his best innings of the tour when his country needed it the most.

He reached his seventh Test century in 233 minutes and from 162 balls, hitting 13 boundaries.

Kirsten was less flamboyant at the other end before producing some great shots to reach his 34th Test half-century in 187 minutes off 146 balls, including six fours.

He leaves the Test arena after playing 101 matches and scoring 7,288 runs at an average of a little over 45, highlighted by 21 centuries and 34 fifties.

The previous best fourth wicket partnership was 146, set by Daryll Cullinan and Hansie Cronje at the same venue in 1998-99.

Smith was docked half his match fee for questioning Sri Lankan umpire de Silva's calling of a wide by Andre Nel on the fourth day, but will be delighted to have taken something out of the match and the tour.

New Zealand won the second Test in Auckland by nine wickets after the first was drawn in Hamilton.

Scoreboard:

New Zealand first innings: 297

South Africa first innings: 316

New Zealand second innings: 252 (S.Styris 73; N.Boje 4-69)

South Africa second innings (overnight 82-3)
G.Smith not out 125
H.Gibbs c Fleming b Martin 16
J.Rudolph b Martin 0
J.Kallis lbw b Oram 1
G Kirsten lbw b Styris 76
M.van Jaarsveld not out 13

Extras (nb-1 lb-2) 3

Total (for four wickets, 72.2 overs) 234

Did not bat: M.Boucher, S.Pollock, N.Boje, M.Ntini, A.Nel

Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-31, 3-36, 4-207

Bowling: Bowling: Martin 18.2-2-65-2, Mason 6-1-32-0, Oram 11-2-23-1, Cairns 10-2-19-0 (nb-1), Vettori 18-2-53-0, Styris 9-1-40-1.

Result: South Africa won by six wickets.

Series: Three-match series ended 1-1.

Geoff Young in Wellington
Source:
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