Auckland, Mar 3: South Africa beat New Zealand by five wickets in the third one-day international on Saturday, sweeping the series 3-0 to take a firm psychological advantage into the three-test series starting on Wednesday.
Marchant de Lange took 4-46 as South Africa bowled out New Zealand for 206 in 47 overs, dismissing the home side inside 50 overs for the second-straight match.
In reply, South Africa coasted to victory with 40 balls to spare, with opener Hashim Amla again being the top scorer with 76.
Captain A.B. de Villiers clinched the win with a six from the second ball of the 44th over.
South Africa won both of the first two one-day internationals by six wickets and has now won five straight matches against New Zealand after winning the three-match Twenty20 series 2-1.
New Zealand made a slow start to its innings in uncertain weather conditions and never recovered. It was only 29-1 after 10 overs, compared to South Africa's 57-0 at the same stage.
Captain Brendon McCullum top-scored for New Zealand with 47 from 59 balls and allrounders James Franklin and Colin de Grandhomme the latter on debut both made 36 in a 55-run partnership which encompassed the batting powerplay.
But New Zealand's innings never gained any real momentum. It was broken after 35 overs at 140-4 by a 30-minute rain interruption, but was always in the thrall of an outstanding South African bowling and fielding performance.
The Proteas' opening bowlers Dale Steyn and Lonwabo Tstosobe bowled tightly through the first 10 overs, taking the wicket of Martin Guptill. Speedsters de Lange and Dale Steyn then kept the pressure on through the middle of the innings and spinner Robin Peterson followed up well, claiming the last two wickets to fall.
South Africa faced no similar pressure when it came to bat. Amla and Wayne Parnell put on 80 for the first wicket in just over 15 overs New Zealand had been 46-2 at the same point and Amla put on an additional 58 for the second wicket with Albie Morkel (41).
New Zealand limited the extent of the defeat when spinner Rob Nicol claimed the quick wickets of Faf du Plessis and J.P. Duminy. But South Africa's depth ensured the victory was never in doubt and de Villiers was again on hand to see the winning runs scored.
“South Africa was just too good for us really,” McCullum said. “We've seen some great teams come to our shores over the years but their side is as good as I've seen in my time.
“When you're up against good teams you can't afford to take your foot off the throat at any stage and when we did they exposed us.