Centurion - Fast bowler Morne Morkel took four wickets and finally ended Yusuf Pathan's brilliant fightback as South Africa claimed a 3-2 series win over India with victory in the fifth one-day international on Sunday.
The Proteas rode another strong comeback from India - inspired by Pathan's powerful 105 from 70 balls - to eventually seal a 33-run win on the Duckworth-Lewis method in the series-decider at SuperSport Park. Morkel finished with 4-52 off eight overs to secure the man of the series award. Dale Steyn had 2-32 and South Africa captain Graeme Smith celebrated success in his final home series in charge of the Proteas one-day team.
Smith will step down from the role after the World Cup starting 19 February.
Man of the match Hashim Amla had earlier batted through South Africa's rain-interrupted innings for 116 not out in the home team's 250-9.
South Africa ripped through India's top order, leaving the visitors at 60-5 and 98-7 before Pathan nearly gave the closely fought series one final twist.
"It was a lot closer than I thought it would be," Smith said. "Pathan was incredible. He hits the ball so sweetly and when he's on a roll he's so hard to stop.
"I think we have learned some important lessons in this series. It's been hard cricket and we have had to play well." "The whole tour was good for both sides and it was good cricket, but our batting department didn't perform in the series," Dhoni said. "260-odd, we should have got that. But I guess the biggest positive out of this game is that we have learnt that in the last 10 overs we can chase anything."
Pathan's aggression nearly brought India its first series win over the Proteas in South Africa - in either Tests or ODIs - as he battered South Africa's spinners to all parts of the ground.
His run of sixes included a reverse sweep over the ropes off slow left-armer Robin Peterson in the 21st over, then a huge hit over midwicket off legspinner Faf du Plessis' first ball. Pathan also smashed two sixes and two fours off Tsotsobe in the 35th over to race to his third one-day century with an awesome display of power hitting. Morkel earlier had Khan caught off a top edge and thought he'd ended the partnership at 139-9, but the TV umpire ruled he had overstepped and Khan returned to the crease after walking off when a no ball was called. It was Morkel's only no ball of the series.
It cost South Africa another 80 runs before Smith turned to Morkel for his third spell and the tall paceman finally broke through when Pathan hit a pull shot straight up in the air to Du Plessis.
Khan and last man Munaf Patel added 15 before Khan holed out to Tsotsobe, and the tour finally had a winner after six weeks involving a drawn Test series and a seesaw one-day contest.