Centurion, Oct 19: Former captain Ricky Ponting anchored a rain-interrupted Australian innings to set South Africa a challenging target in the first one-day international at SuperSport Park today.
Ponting made 63 in an Australian total of 183 for four in an innings reduced to 29 overs.
South Africa needed 223 to win in the same number of overs according to the Duckworth/Lewis method.
The tourists built a solid platform, reaching 96 for one after 19 overs before lightning and rain drove the players off the field for four-and-a-half hours.
Australia went on an all-out assault when they returned with just ten overs remaining in their innings. Captain Michael Clarke was particularly aggressive, adding 15 runs off five balls, including two sixes off successive balls from Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
But Clarke was run out for 44 when a fierce drive by Ponting was deflected into the stumps at the bowlers end by Johan Botha.
Ponting stepped into the opening role when Shane Watson was ruled out with a hip injury.
Australia were also without Shaun Marsh because of a shoulder injury. Teenagers Mitchell Marsh and Pat Cummins earned their first caps. Ponting made his runs off 77 balls and hit nine fours.
All South Africa's bowlers took some heavy punishment in the closing overs. Fast bowler Dale Steyn took two wickets but conceded 48 runs in six overs.