South Africa continued their impressive form in one-day internationals, taking their unbeaten streak to 19, although their run of wins hit the buffers at 12 thanks to the Durban rain. The 4-0 scoreline was, however, hard on the New Zealanders, who had their chances to win each of the first three 50-over games after a relatively easy victory in the Twenty20 opener.
The South Africans had a point to prove. Early in 2004 they had lost 5-1 in New Zealand, in a one-day series notable for freezing weather and fierce sledging of Graeme Smith by Stephen Fleming, who felt his opposite number was susceptible to pressure of the kind Steve Waugh once termed "mental disintegration". It meant that this series was not played in the best of spirits, either.
Fleming had to pull Kyle Mills away from Smith in the final match, but let his own emotions show when a wicket fell with an uncharacteristically exuberant display, mimicking Smith's own hyper-enthusiastic celebrations. Scott Styris, Charl Langeveldt and South Africa's new coach Mickey Arthur all received ICC Code of Conduct fines after the final game, and Mills was lucky to escape one.
Smith, however, denied that his side had been out for revenge: "It's all part of a process, and we've come a long way since then," he said. "We've gained in maturity and confidence, and it all bodes well for the future." New Zealand paid the price for repeated failures at the top of the order: only in the last match did their second wicket survive past 23. They returned home, licking their wounds, and facing a return trip to the Cape in April 2006 for three Test matches.
Match reports for
Tour match: South Africa A v New Zealanders at Benoni, Oct 14, 2005
Tour match: South Africa A v New Zealanders at Potchefstroom, Oct 16, 2005
Tour match: Rest of South Africa v New Zealanders at Benoni, Apr 7-10, 2006