sport

Australia clinch T20 series

Australia maintained their dominance over South Africa and laid down a serious marker ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 with comprehensive six-wicket victory in the third and final Twenty20 international at Centurion.

After a washout at Port Elizabeth and victory in Durban, Australia sealed a 2-0 series win on Friday night after restricting the Proteas to just 128-7, a target they chased down with five overs to spare.

Mitchell Starc set the tone with the early wicket of Hashim Amla and was one of three Aussies to finish with two scalps, along with spinners Glenn Maxwell (2-19) and Brad Hogg (2-31).

The target was never likely to trouble Australia's star-studded batting line-up and Aaron Finch (39 off 27) and Shane Watson (35 off 28) ensured that was the case before the winning run was struck at the end of the 15th over.

Aggressive

Only Quinton de Kock came out of the South Africa innings with any credit as the home batsmen struggled for fluency on a tricky surface.

Amla was trapped plumb lbw by a Starc inswinger in the third over and Maxwell's off-spin put Australia firmly on top when both Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy holed out to men in the deep.

AB de Villiers (11) signalled his intent with an early six off Hogg but the wily veteran got his revenge when the South Africa right-hander picked out Brad Hodge on the square-leg boundary.

Australia continued to hunt for wickets and David Miller lasted just seven balls, his demise leaving South Africa in trouble on 75-5 in the 13th over.

De Kock was ploughing a lone furrow at the other end but the delivery of the day, a spinning leg-break from Hogg which caught the edge, ended his 40-ball knock of 41 and seemingly South Africa's hopes of victory.

Two lusty blows from Albie Morkel at least took the hosts past 100, however Starc returned to end his fun and finish with 2-18 - the most economical figures in a T20 match between these sides.

With David Warner rested Finch and Cameron White (14) started the run-chase and sped along to 43-0 before the latter cut Wayne Parnell straight down the throat of Imran Tahir at third man.

Finch cracked six boundaries in his typically aggressive knock and when he fell to Tahir caught in the deep, Watson picked up the mantle and took his side on the cusp of victory with two huge sixes off Morkel.

Maxwell (17) was then left aggrieved when he became Beuran Hendricks's first international victim, trapped lbw to a delivery which appeared to be sliding down, but it was not to prove a turning point.

The impressive Tahir (2-21) denied Watson the chance to finish the job himself, however Hodge and George Bailey did just that after trading sixes in what turned out to be the last over of the match, bowled by Duminy.