Pollock's 'wonderful journey' ends on a high note

Published: Sunday, February 3, 2008, 23:17 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Herschelle Gibbs made a dazzling century and ensured a winning end to teammate Shaun Pollock's "wonderful journey" as South Africa chased down a rain-reduced target in the fifth and final one-day international against the West Indies at the Wanderers Stadium Sunday.

Gibbs (102) and Jacques Kallis (74 not out) shared a 175-run second wicket partnership as South Africa achieved a target of 211 in 31 overs with eight wickets and 13 balls to spare.

It completed a 5-0 series sweep for South Africa.

Pollock was promoted to number four in the batting order and hit the winning runs, finishing with 10 not out.

Two lengthy rain interruptions threatened to put a damper on Pollock's final match before retiring from international cricket.

"It's been a wonderful journey," said Pollock of a 13-year international career during which he played in 108 Test matches and 303 one-day internationals.

He said he felt emotionally drained after being acclaimed at every ground during his farewell series.

"Every crowd has really carried me," he said.

The West Indies made a challenging total of 295 for seven after being sent in to bat, with Devon Smith hitting 91.

South Africa were 34 for one after eight overs at the second rain break and came back needing another 177 off 23 overs.

Gibbs and Kallis immediately went on the attack, however, adding 91 off the first eight overs after the resumption.

Gibbs had faced 23 balls for 10 runs before the second rain delay but needed only another 57 deliveries to reach his 20th one-day international century. He was caught at cover off Daren Powell after facing 84 balls. He hit 13 fours and three sixes.

While Gibbs produced the pyrotechnics, Kallis played some fine strokes of his own although he was content to feed most of the strike to Gibbs. He made his 74 off 70 balls with seven boundaries.

Earlier Smith set up a good West Indian total.

The opening batsman had played a minimal role on tour, appearing in two warm-up matches, two Twenty20 internationals and the first one-day international, making just 50 runs in six innings with a highest score of 12.

But the left-hander from Grenada, who played because Sewnarine Chattergoon was injured, took advantage of excellent batting conditions. He struck 10 fours and three sixes off 76 balls before being caught behind off Charl Langeveldt.

Smith and fellow left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul (51) put on 137 off 134 balls for the second wicket.

South African captain Graeme Smith was forced to delay the third powerplay after 98 runs were scored off the first 15 overs.

When he did call for it, in the 27th over, Langeveldt dismissed Smith and followed up with the wicket of Chanderpaul in the next over.

Bravo said injuries had hampered the West Indies during the tour.

Captain Chris Gayle had to return home before the one-day series because of a broken thumb and no fewer than four players, including fast bowlers Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards, as well as batsmen Marlon Samuels and Chattergoon, were ruled out of the final match.

But Bravo paid tribute to South Africa and to Pollock in particular.

"Congratulations to them," he said. "Our guys learnt a lot. They're a real professional team."

South African captain Smith said Pollock's farewell series had been an emotional time.

"They're big shoes to fill. There are some talented young guys here who are hoping one day to fill his shoes."

Pollock, playing in his last international match, took one for 33 and was given a standing ovation when he finished his final spell.

Bowling with the new ball, Pollock had a first spell of 7-1-14-1 in dramatic contrast to his fellow pace bowlers, who were all punished by Smith.

Pollock finished his one-day international career with 393 wickets, fourth on the world all-time list, at an average of 24.50 to go along with 421 wickets in Tests. He made 3519 runs in one-day internationals and 3781 in Tests.

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