Bloemfontein - The Investec South Africa women's hockey team went down 6-1 to world champions Argentina at the University of Free State hockey centre in Bloemfontein Thursday.
The score was 3-1 at half-time and the victory leaves world number one Argentina leading SA 4-0 in the five-Test series with the final international taking place Friday.
The South Africans fielded an untried combination and left several of their most experienced players out of the line-up.
The first goal came in the 10th minute when a penalty corner variation saw captain and mainstay Noel Barrionuevo slap the ball past the outstretched leg of SA goalkeeper Mariette Rix of Western Province.
In the 26th minute, Ana Lopez Basavilbas increased the score via a field goal before a still competitive SA, for whom KZN Inland central defender Kara Stella made a fine debut, got one back when striker Sulette Damons of North West followed up a rebound off the goalkeeper to ram home a good goal.
But SA's joy was shortlived as hardly a minute later Sofia Maccari made the score 3-1 at the break with a fine field goal.
The SA camp had suffered a blow even before the game started as seven players went down with gastric flu the previous evening and the illness told in the last quarter of the second half as the 2010 World Cup champions poured on the pressure to net three more goals through the sticks of their player of the match Silvina D'Elia, who got two, and Josefina Sruoga.
Investec SA player of the match Shelley Russell worked hard in the midfield but on the day it was all South America and little relief for the Africans, who never threw in the towel despite the setbacks.