Perth - A top-class all-round performance saw a second-string South African team get over the line and beat Australia by 39 runs in the fifth one-day international at the WACA in Perth on Friday, sealing a 4-1 series win.
Half-centuries from Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy lifted South Africa to 288 for six and Australia were then bowled out for 249 in the 49th over.
South Africa were always in firm control in the field as Lonwabo Tsotsobe picked up two wickets in his opening spell on debut.
The tall left-armer went on to finish with four for 50 and, with Wayne Parnell taking one for 52 in his 10 overs, South Africa's two debutants really stepped up to the plate. Most impressively, they both bowled during the batting powerplay and at the death, and were not overawed.
Tsotsobe removed Shaun Marsh (5) and Ricky Ponting (12) and, with Morne Morkel bowling Michael Clarke for a duck and David Warner (22) most unfortunate to be run out backing up at the bowler's end, Australia had slumped to 53 for four.
The Husseys, Michael and David, added 69 for the fifth wicket, but the innings was dying a slow death all the time as the pair could not pick up enough boundaries or force South Africa into any panic in the field.
Captain Johan Botha was once again at the forefront of the strangling effort with the ball and he was not afraid to entrust Tsotsobe, Parnell and part-time off-spinner JP Duminy with key overs.
The Husseys began to target Duminy but he was not fazed and he ended David Hussey's promising innings of 32 as he lashed a drive straight to Botha at cover.
Michael Hussey took 12 runs off the first three balls of Tsotsobe's eighth over in the powerplay as he began to make the first meaningful dent in the required run-rate, but the debutant was not unnerved and he then bowled Hussey with a superb slower ball that totally flummoxed the left-hander.
Hussey's 78 off 96 balls was a fine innings, but Australia's poor start called for something bigger and quicker, a truly exceptional innings.
Brad Haddin, who is a nuggety character typical of wicketkeepers, remained a threat, though, as he raced to a 39-ball half-century. But once Botha bowled James Hopes for 11, deceived by a quicker ball, Haddin had only the tail for company.
Tsotsobe and Parnell showed the depth of talent that is available as they each picked up a wicket at the death with slower balls and Morne Morkel, who had been on-song on the bouncy WACA pitch with two for 45, put South Africa on cloud nine when he had last man Nathan Bracken caught at long-on.
Duminy had earlier brought Australia to their knees as he powered South Africa to 288 for six.
The little left-hander once again dented Australia's confidence with a masterful display, lashing 60 not out off just 42 balls as he built on a superb platform laid by Amla and De Villiers.
Amla scored a beautifully-crafted 97 off 117 deliveries and he was unfortunate to miss out on a richly-deserved century when he tried to steer a Hopes delivery to third man and was caught behind.
De Villiers provided sensible, fluent support with his 60 off 71 balls as he and Amla put on 118 for the third wicket in 23 overs.
South Africa had won the toss and chosen to bat first, on what turned out to be a slowish, but true WACA pitch, calling for patience and getting oneself in before scoring became easier.
Herschelle Gibbs scored a flaky seven off 15 balls before charging down the pitch and being caught off a wild swipe against Ben Hilfenhaus and Neil McKenzie was then caught behind for 10 off Hopes.
South Africa were in danger of falling away at 58 for two after 14 overs, but De Villiers is now a mature, experienced batsman who plays situations so well.
He and Amla took their time, content to push singles as they did not score a single boundary for 10 overs. But they were certainly not slugs in terms of scoring rate, both showing great skill in working the ball around and running well between the wickets as the scoreboard continually ticked over without any risks.
Amla was the first to reach his fifty - off 68 balls with four fours and a phenomenal uppercut for six off Hilfenhaus - with De Villiers getting there in 61 deliveries with just three boundaries.
With 15 overs to go, and South Africa well-placed on 166 for two, the message came through that it was time to launch, with Australia wondering whether the dreaded batting powerplay was imminent.
Amla and De Villiers batted through to the last 10 overs as they took South Africa to 196, before they both fell to Hopes.
Hopes dished up a short-pitched delivery to De Villiers as he advanced down the pitch, pulling a catch to Warner at deep midwicket, and then, in traditional hard-nosed Aussie fashion, Hopes tied down Amla on the brink of his hundred.
Australia had been badly hurt by Albie Morkel previously in this series and the powerful left-hander reached 14 off 12 balls, in the batting powerplay, before Mitchell Johnson came up with a delivery that bowled him.
But Duminy then answered Australian critics who say he is not a boundary-hitter as he took advantage of the powerplay in spectacular fashion. He threw the bat at anything short and also produced some trademark top-class drives as he collected three fours and three sixes.
Vaughn van Jaarsveld scored five and fed Duminy the strike in a sixth-wicket stand of 44 in 3.5 overs, until he drove a Hilfenhaus slower ball to wide long-on.
Botha then showed splendid inventiveness as he scored 14 not out off seven balls at the death to leave a numb Australian side with the prospect of trying to make the highest ever successful run-chase in Perth.
Hilfenhaus's two for 43 in 10 overs was a top-class effort, while Hopes also shone with three for 44. But the aura Bracken and Johnson have had is no more - they were walloped for 70 and 68 runs respectively.
Shaun Marsh, David Warner, Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, David Hussey, Brad Haddin (wk), James Hopes, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Bracken
Hashim Amla, Herschelle Gibbs, Neil McKenzie, AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Vaughn van Jaarsveld, Albie Morkel, Johan Botha (captain), Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Lonwabo Tsotsobe