At Port Elizabeth, March 5, 2006. Australia won by 24 runs. Toss: South Africa.
Ponting's return from injury had an immediate impact: he hit the top score for Australia in an efficient, rather than spectacular, victory that kept his side in the series. Although not at his most fluent, he clearly brought composure to his team. He and Martyn hit measured fifties, but Katich almost became the anchor that dragged down the ship, spending 80 balls over 49 on a decent pitch. However, clever hitting in the final overs forced the total past 250. At 69 for five in the 21st over, South Africa were out of the contest - or so it seemed. But de Villiers and Pollock, both striking the ball impeccably, concocted 119 for the sixth wicket, and the improbable seemed possible with 71 required from eight overs. Then Pollock was beaten for pace and de Villiers spectacularly caught by Hogg, leaping backwards on the long-on boundary. Telemachus, back in the side after three and a half years, smashed three sixes in a 13-ball 29, but Lee's bowling was fast enough and precise enough.
Man of the Match: B. Lee. Attendance: 16,974.