Melbourne: South African cricket captian Graeme Smith couldn"t believe it when Ricky Ponting decided to bowl first in the Port Elizabeth one-dayer on Monday.
Ponting"s decision backfired with South Africa compiling a formidable 6-317 before bowling the tourists out for 256 to claim an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.
"I was surprised that Australia bowled first. Having played against Australia in a number of big games, they generally bat first,'' Smith said.
Australia was strong at 0-129 before middle-order batsmen Callum Ferguson (3), Mike Hussey (2) and David Hussey (20) formed part of a collapse of 10-127.
Smith, apparently satisfied with his spinners, said "Johan Botha bowled really well after his first over and Roelof van der Merwe, everyone could see he did a magnificent job for us, picked up wickets in the middle period and got us back in the game."
Both captains said they expected the ball to do a little bit more in the morning session.
"There was a thought that maybe there might be a little bit of moisture in the wicket this morning. We were going to bat," Smith said.
The Aussies and Proteans have been at each other's throats since December for six Tests (3-3), four Twenty20 Internationals (2-2) and nine ODI matches (7-2 to South Africa).
The final ODI game is on Friday in Johannesburg, but South Africa already have top ranking in their keeping.
No one could be happier han man-of-the-match Herschelle Gibbs, who has just emerged from a month-long stay in an alcohol-rehabilitation clinic.
"I could hardly see the next ball from Shane Harwood. A lot has happened since the last hundred that I've scored. Today was quite an emotional day for me. It was one that I needed to prove to myself,'' Gibbs said who finished his 21st century off 110 balls.
thatsCricket (With Inputs from Agencies)