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Last Updated: Friday, 20 January 2006, 10:57 GMT
Fiery Lee guides Australia to win
VB Series, Melbourne: Australia 245 all out (49.2 overs) bt South Africa 186 all out (47 overs) by 59 runs

Brett Lee celebrates Andrew Hall's wicket
Lee ripped through South Africa's top and middle order
Paceman Brett Lee produced career-best one-day international figures of 5-22 as Australia beat South Africa by 59 runs in the fourth VB Series game.

In his first spell Lee dismissed South Africa captain Graeme Smith and Andrew Hall to reduce the tourists to 16-2.

He then returned to rip out Boeta Dippenaar, Ashwell Prince and Justin Kemp as South Africa were all out for 186 despite Shaun Pollock's rapid 46.

Earlier, debutant Phil Jaques scored 94 as Australia posted 245 all out.

He was eventually given out caught behind off South Africa super-sub Johan van der Wath, although replays suggested the ball hit his upper arm rather than his bat.

Jaques' 94 is the highest score by an Australian batsman on their ODI debut, eclipsing Keppler Wessels' unbeaten 79 against New Zealand in Melbourne in 1982.

Australia made a rocky start after winning the toss at Melbourne's Telstra Dome, and were 85-3 before Jaques and Michael Clarke (34) steadied the ship.

South Africa then hit back, Van der Wath removing both batsmen as the hosts slumped to 181-6.

But James Hopes chipped in with 38 as Australia rallied once again to post a competitive total.

It felt good from ball one tonight - it's always nice to find a bit of rhythm
Match winner Brett Lee

Andrew Hall, who dismissed Australia captain Ricky Ponting (nine) and Mike Hussey (18), finished with figures of 4-35 off 9.2 overs.

Van der Wath replaced fellow debutant Dale Steyn after the paceman conceded 58 runs off five overs, including 24 from one over.

When South Africa batted they were on the back foot throughout and although they only had three wickets down at the midway point they needed nearly seven an over.

Just as it looked they were about to launch their assault Ponting chucked the ball to Lee and he responded magnificently.

Bowling with genuine pace he forced both Dippenaar and Prince to play on before clean bowling Kemp with a delivery which kept a touch low.

Brad Hogg, on as super-sub after 20 overs of the South African innings for Jaques, weighed in with three wickets for the hosts.

Pollock launched a late flurry, his 46 coming off just 31 balls, but South Africa finished well beaten.

Lee was named man of the match after his career-best 5-22.

"It felt good from ball one tonight - it's always nice to find a bit of rhythm and it's great to pick up a few wickets," he said.

"The Melbourne crowd are always right behind us. It's a great place to play and thanks very much to the crowd.

"We're having a lot of fun and we're playing some really good cricket now."

South Africa captain Graeme Smith said Lee's devastating second spell was the key to Australia's victory.

"It was a good game and all credit to Australia - I think Brett Lee was probably the turning point of the night," said Smith.

"Throughout the game the pitch gets a little bit up and down but all credit to them - they put us under pressure."

VB SERIES TABLE

Team Pld Won Pts Net run rate
Australia 3 2 10 +1.11
Sri Lanka 2 1 5 -0.22
South Africa 3 1 4 -0.97



SEE ALSO
Steyn called up for injured Nel
16 Jan 06 |  Cricket
VB Series 2006
17 Jan 06 |  Future tour dates


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