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Last Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006, 05:57 GMT
Ponting guides Aussies to victory
Third Test, Sydney: Australia 359 & 288-2 beat South Africa 451-9d & 194-6d by eight wickets

Ricky Ponting celebrates a 2-0 series victory
I'm really happy with the way the team's going; this has been a good hit out as far as the Ashes are concerned
Ricky Ponting
Australia beat South Africa by eight wickets to win the third and final Test and claim the series 2-0.

Skipper Ricky Ponting became the first cricketer to score two centuries in his 100th Test with an unbeaten 143 from 159 balls.

Earlier South Africa captain Graeme Smith made a generous second innings declaration on 194-6, setting Australia 287 runs to win off 76 overs.

It was the highest-ever winning chase at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Brad Hodge was not out 27, while opener Matthew Hayden made a brisk 90.

Ponting shared a 182-run second-wicket partnership with Hayden that lifted Australia from 30-1 - when Justin Langer was bowled for 20 - to 212-2.

Ponting's final tally moved him to 10th in the list of all-time leading scorers, surpassing David Gower's 8,231 from 117 Tests - and became the most prolific Test batsmen ever at the SCG.

Since returning from the Ashes series loss in September, Ponting has accumulated five centuries in seven Tests.

He is just one behind Don Bradman's 29 Test tons and four behind leading Australian Steve Waugh. Indian Sachin Tendulkar has the most with 35.

At the time of the South African declaration on 194-6, first-innings centurion Jacques Kallis was unbeaten on 50 and Shaun Pollock hit 26 from 21 balls including two fours and a six.

Smith called his men in surprisingly early at 1126am local time, requiring Australia to score at 3.77 runs per over, almost a run per over less that his own side's second-innings rate.

Leg-spinner Stuart MacGill took all three wickets on Friday morning after South Africa resumed at 94-3.

He returned 3-33 after dismissing Ashwell Prince (18), Jacques Rudolph (four) and having Mark Boucher (11) stumped.

The umpires had to intervene when Langer and Boucher exchanged words in the second over of the Australian second innings, with stump microphones picking up the debate.

Australian fast bowlers McGrath and Brett Lee have both been reprimanded by the umpires for their behaviour during the Test, while South African coach Mickey Arthur was cleared of public criticism of the officials.

Australia and South Africa meet in a Twenty20 international for the first time in Brisbane on Monday.

They then join Sri Lanka in the one-day VB Series in latest this month before playing a three-Test and one-day series in South Africa, beginning in February.

Interview: Australia captain Ricky Ponting

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