Winning the toss and opting to bat first, Australia got off to a poor start as Proteas' paceman Dale Steyn trapped Shane Watson in front for a duck in the first over itself. Then three overs later, Lonwabo Tsotsobe ran Brad Haddin out, also for a duck, and the Aussies were in trouble at 6/2.
But Captain Ricky Ponting and Vice Captain Michael Clarke showed some classy temperament to put the house in order. The two took Australia past 50 in the 13th over and then moved across 100 in the 26th, notching up a century stand and each bringing up their half-centuries en route.
But after Ponting went for 55 and Clarke followed suit soon after for 73, the Aussies were in trouble again at 143/4 in 33.1 overs. A middle and latter-order slide ensued with White run out for 22, and Hussey and Smith going for single digits, and when Hastings departed for 15, the Aussies were 199/8 in 44.4. The end from there came pretty swiftly, with Australia bowled out for 217 in 47.1 overs.
Steyn had been the destroyer-in-chef, claiming 3/21 off 8 overs and off-spinner Robin Peterson picking up the same number of wickets off the same number of overs for 45.