After pulling off a consolation win in Ahmedabad, stand-in captain Jacques Kallis has expressed his disappointment at South Africa losing the one-day series in India.
It continues their poor run in the format: since impressive home-and-away series wins against Australia last year, they have crashed out early in the ICC Champions Trophy and have lost at home to England, the only series victory being over Zimbabwe.
"We know we are a lot better than we have played in the series," he said. "If we play to our strength, we are a very good one-day side."
However, Kallis felt the series would serve South Africa well when they return for the World Cup next year. "A lot of the guys have toured very little on the subcontinent, so we will take a lot with us from here, we will be a lot better cricketers."
He was satisfied with the performance against a depleted India in the third ODI, which a dominant South Africa won by 90 runs. Most things went right for the visitors, starting with the toss, followed by a power-packed batting display and a competent show from the bowlers.
"The wicket turned out to be much better than we thought, but it was also a better performance from the guys all around," Kallis said. "We had a good start at the top and that's vital in this form of the game. With wickets in hand at the death, you can cash in and hit some big scores."
The openers Loots Bosman and Hashim Amla piled on 113 in 16 overs, and centuries from Kallis and Man-of-the-Match AB de Villiers powered South Africa to a mammoth 365. The win in Ahmedabad held stave off a clean sweep, and Kallis praised the big-hitting from AB de Villiers, who lashed a 59-ball 102. "AB played a really special knock, taking the total from 300 to 360."
de Villiers, who made a Test double-century the last time he played at Sardar Patel Stadium, said it was good to finish the series with a win. "It's always nice coming to India, we have been pretty up and down in the series, but ending up on a high note is pleasing," he said. "Loots [Bosman] and Hashim [Amla] set a good foundation, and gave me the freedom to express myself in the end. I always love playing in Ahmedabad. Definitely becoming my favourite ground."