PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa, Mar 6 (AFP): Ricky Ponting made a triumphant return from injury when he captained Australia to a 24-run win over South Africa in the third one-day international at St George's Park Sunday.
Ponting made top score of 62 in an Australian total of 254 for six. Then he led a fired-up Australian team in the field as South Africa were bowled out for 230, with fast bowler Brett Lee taking four for 48.
South Africa crashed to 69 for five but their hopes were raised when AB de Villiers (68) and Shaun Pollock (69) put on 119 for the sixth wicket.
Lee, after struggling in the first two games, dismissed captain Graeme Smith in the third over of the South African innings and took wickets at important times to earn the man of the match award.
His figures were spoilt when he conceded 15 runs in his final over, with South African number ten batsman Roger Telemachus slogging two sixes.
Australia needed the win after they lost the first two of five matches while Ponting was missing because of an abdominal strain.
Australia have won four out of five matches between the sides at St George's Park, including a high-scoring encounter four years ago, when they made 326 for three to achieve what was then the highest successful run chase in one-day internationals.