Sydney:David Warner's blitzkrieg went in vain as South Africa edged out Australia by three wickets in the third ODI to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series here on Friday.
The Proteas first bowled out the hosts for 269 in 49.2 overs before going on to overwhelm the target with 21 balls to spare in a keenly contested match under floodlights.
Warner top-scored for Australia with a 60-ball 69, adding 114 runs in 18-odd overs with fellow opener Shaun Marsh (43).
South Africa rode on significant contributions from Herschelle Gibbs (64), Jacques Kallis (60), Albie Morkel (40) and Mark Boucher (31 not out) to reach 270 for seven in 46.3 overs.
Both the teams now move to Adelaide for the fourth ODI on Monday.
South Africa stumbled early in their chase as Hashim Amla (13), dropped in the slip by Ricky Ponting in the first over, was run out in the sixth over.
In that eventful first over of a hapless Shaun Tait, David Hussey dropped Gibbs as well when the batsman was yet to open his account and it proved a costly lapse in the end.
Gibbs struck form today and with Kallis too putting his foot down, the veteran duo milked the Australian attack with consummate ease, scoring at a healthy rate.
They had added 104 runs for the second wicket in 13-odd overs when Mitchell Johnson removed Gibbs and that triggered a mini batting collapse with South Africa losing the crucial wickets of AB de Villiers (5), JP Duminy (9) and Kallis. From 125 for one, South Africa suddenly found its top half blown away while the score read 165.
Gibbs 52-ball 64 had 10 fours and a six in it while Kallis' 72-ball 60 included five hits to the fence.
Neil McKenzie (27) and Boucher then arrested the slide and Albie Morkel played a crucial cameo as South Africa romped home.
Earlier, on a good batting track at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Ricky Ponting didn't hesitate to bat first after winning the toss and he soon had reasons to feel vindicated.
Warner and Marsh gave Australia a blazing start and the South African bowlers had no clue how to tame Warner.
The New South Wales left-hander's domination could be gauged from the fact that he contributed 43, compared to Marsh's 6, in their 50-run stand.
A clean striker of the ball, Warner's full-blooded pull off Dale Steyn which sailed over mid-wicket for a six was undoubtedly the best shot of his belligerent knock.
Steyn eventually settled the score in the 19th over when Warner attempted a heave only to see his timbers rattled.
Warner's 60-ball 69 was studded with six boundaries and two sixes.
On a leatherhunt as long as Warner was in the middle, South African bowlers, especially captain Johan Botha, did well to stem the run flow, besides claiming wicket at regular intervals.
Both induced Marsh into a fluffed sweep to had him stumped and then claimed Ricky Ponting (29) and Brad Haddin (6) as well. In between, AB de Villiers' brilliant piece of fielding sent Michael Hussey (12) back as Australia slumped to 188 for five.
David Hussey (36) and James Hopes (33) did add 51 runs for the sixth wicket but with Steyn and Makhaya Ntini bowling miserly at the death, the momentum was not there and Australia folded with four more balls to go in their innings.