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Smuts, Klaasen fifties trump Labuschagne's maiden ton as South Africa secure whitewash
Match Report

Smuts, Klaasen fifties trump Labuschagne's maiden ton as South Africa secure whitewash

Marnus Labuschagne struck his first ODI century in the third encounter against South Africa but failed to prevent the opposition from completing a series clean sweep.

Labuschagne superbly played the anchor role in Australia's innings, lifting his side to a competitive total of 254 for seven after they were sent in to bat.

In reply, the Proteas comfortably cruised to the target, rarely getting into trouble. The home side coasted with a margin of six wickets and 4.3 overs to spare.

Jon-Jon Smuts fell 16 runs short of his maiden ton in international cricket while man of the series Heinrich Klaasen remained unbeaten on 68 to ace the chase.

Rookie batter Kyle Verreynne also contributed with a valuable fifty, setting up an emphatic victory.

Klaasen's spectacular run has seen him amass 242 runs in the series and get dismissed only once. "It's been a fantastic couple of weeks for me," he reacted to his spellbinding performance.

The win ensures South Africa's third successive one-day series triumph against Australia and their 11th victory in 12 games against them, dating back to September 2016.

"It's been disappointing but credit to South Africa, they put us under pressure with bat and ball," Australia skipper Aaron Finch lamented.

Labuschagne's homecoming to Potchefstroom marked a bittersweet moment for him as he was born approximately 50km away from the venue of today's clash.

"I carried on like a bit of a goose," he was quoted as saying by the broadcasters following his emotional celebration. "But it was amazing. I have 50 of my family members out there from all over South Africa."

He made no hesitation in making known his national loyalty, clarifying he was deeply attached to Australia now.

"I left so young, I love Australia, it's my country," he said.

"Although I was born in South Africa and there's a little spot in my heart for the country, I'm Australian through and through."

Labuschagne did not have substantial assistance from the other batsmen with D'Arcy Short, Mitchell Marsh and Jhye Richardson offering little support to help Labuschagne motor along unscathed.

South Africa's bowlers took advantage of the lively nature of the surface in the initial half of the innings, managing to reduce the tourists to 55 for three in 15 overs.

Contrastingly, Janneman Malan and Quinton de Kock combined to drive the Proteas' progress swiftly. Josh Hazlewood inflicted damage on South Africa by prising out the wickets of Malan and de Kock in succession but Smuts and Verreynne steadied the innings with a third-wicket partnership of 96 off 103 balls.

Klaasen aggressively finished the series in style by smashing Marsh for two boundaries and a maximum.

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