Third one-day international, Sydney:
South Africa 270-7 (46.3 ovs) bt Australia 269 (49.2 ovs)
Gibbs hit his 36th ODI fifty in a superb reply (library photo)
South Africa sealed a three-wicket win to build a 2-1 lead in the five-match one-day series against Australia.
David Warner gave Australia a superb start, with six fours and two sixes in 69 from 60 balls, sharing 114 inside 19 overs with opening partner Shaun Marsh.
But Herschelle Gibbs also gave South Africa a flier as they replied to 269, with 10 fours and a six in his 64.
The tourists stuttered but Albie Morkel hit 40 off 22 balls with six fours and a six and they won with 21 balls left.
It was the highest successful run chase at the Sydney Cricket Ground in one-day internationals, and further proof of the resilience of the South Africa team.
Vicitory looked unlikely after Warner, who struck a scintillating 89 on his international debut in the Twenty20 match between the teams, got quickly into his stride as Ricky Ponting chose to bat first.
In the fifth over of the match he dispatched the pacy Dale Steyn for two fours and a six within four balls, demonstrating his impressive bat speed again with the maximum over mid-wicket.
The Australian openers continued to make smooth, if unspectacular progress, but in the 15th over Jacques Kallis was launched over extra-cover for four by Warner, who followed that with a flat pull shot for six two balls later.
Warner's exciting innings came to an end in the 19th over when he swung and missed at a full, straight one from Steyn and saw his leg-stump disappear.
Ponting made an even faster start, getting off the mark with a stylish push through extra-cover for four, and pulling the next two balls for boundaries.
We were a lot short with our batting, at one stage we were looking for 300
Marsh was smartly stumped in the 23rd over and Mike Hussey made only 12 before he was sent back following neat fielding from AB de Villiers.
Ponting did not add to his three fours before he was out for 29 in the 29th over chipping tamely low to short mid-wicket.
Skipper Johan Botha then collected a third wicket when he lured Brad Haddin down the pitch and collected a firm low return catch.
There was no major acceleration, with runs added in steady fashion, but the final five overs saw the final five wickets fall for 30, with four deliveries unused.
South Africa's task was soon highlighted by Shaun Tait's second delivery of the innings, clocked at 148.8 km, and his pace created two chances in the first over.
Hashim Amla was dropped by Ponting at second slip and Herschelle Gibbs was put down by David Hussey at backward point.
Amla was needlessly run out in the sixth over when he set off for a single when Gibbs was still taking evasive action from a short delivery.
Gibbs underlined his capabilities by backing away to leg and launching rapid left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson over extra-cover for six, before pulling the final ball of the over intricately through the leg-side.
Jacques Kallis, who passed 10,000 one-day runs during a composed half-century, provided a useful foil as Gibbs began to play some stunning strokes.
Stepping down the pitch to Tait, one of the fastest bowlers in world cricket, Gibbs drove through the covers for four, before riling the paceman further with a similar shot next ball.
His brilliant knock came to an end in the 19th over, however, when he guided one straight to slip, which began something of a slide.
Three wickets fell for 23 in seven overs, before Mark Boucher began to rebuild the innings in typically nuggety fashion.
Some superb work from Warner in the outfield saw Neil McKenzie comfortably short of his ground and left the requirement at 61 from 61 balls with four wickets left.
The South Africans quickly took the batting powerplay and powerful left-hander Morkel smashed Johnson for successive fours on either side of the wicket.
Then a slashed cut shot flew out to Shaun Tait at third man but he spilled the chance diving forward and to his left, resulting in a third four in the over and leaving less than 50 needed.
Hauritz was brought back to bowl the 46th over, but Morkel smashed the second ball into the second tier at mid-wicket and added two more boundaries into the leg-side to leave his side five runs from victory.
Trying to finish the match with another mammoth six he was well caught by James Hopes sliding across at deep mid-wicket, but the work was all but done and skipper Botha applied the gloss with a thumping cover drive for four.
"We were a lot short with our batting, at one stage we were looking for 300," Ponting said. "We've been 30 or 40 short in all three games so we've got to look at that."
"We pulled it really back nicely in the field," Botha commented.
"Hopefully we can finish it off in Adelaide and that would be great for the team," he added, referring to the fourth match of the series which takes place on Australia Day, on Monday.