Quinton de Kock struck his second century of the series to guide the Proteas to a seven-wicket victory over England and keep the series alive.
With the series hanging by a thread, the pressure was all on the Proteas heading into the third match at Centurion, but they responded brilliantly, especially Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla, who broke several records in a stand that inspired a huge victory to make it 2-1 to England with two matches to play.
England won the toss and chose to bat first. At the toss AB de Villiers said he would have a bowl first anyway. He knows the Centurion track better than most and that became obvious by the end of the match, as England’s 318-8 was dealt with easily, with the skipper walking out to bat with the match already secured.
A typically brisk start from Jason Roy and Alex Hales got the tourists going as the side looked to win the Test and ODI double on tour. Roy needlessly ran himself out for 20, before Hales and Root took charge.
They put on 125 runs for the second wicket as both notched up half-centuries, but it could have been different had De Kock held on to a sharp, low chance when Root was on 44. Hales skied one to walk for 65, before skipper Eoin Morgan departed for a slow-going eight.
Root pushed on at a rapid rate and cleared the fence on five occasions as he brought up a seventh ODI ton. Ben Stokes did considerable damage at the other end, too, as he blitzed his way to a 37-ball 53.
Some quick wickets prevented a late England onslaught, but handy cameos at the death from David Willey and Adil Rashid pushed the total to 318-8.
The 8 422 fans that made the effort to head to Supersport Park were treated to a masterful run-chase, as De Kock and Amla put on a near-faultless display. De Kock smashed the boundaries to all corners of the ground as he dominated the stand, but Amla was happy to play the supporting role as he returned to form.
England’s bowling was wayward at times, and it became increasingly clear that they were missing an experienced bowler in the mould of a Stuart Broad when the going was getting tough. Not to take anything away from De Kock and Amla, however, as De Kock became the youngest player ever to reach 10 ODI centuries. His stand of 200 with Amla was the third time that has ben achieved by a South African opening pair in ODIs.
De Kock eventually perished for 135, but the damage was largely done. David Wiese came in at No 3 in an experiment that failed to pay off, but while he was there Amla brought up ODI ton No 22, surpassing Gibbs as the second-most centuries struck by a Protea. De Villiers has 23.
Wiese perished for seven, which gave England a brief moment of revival, but Amla and Faf du Plessis then raced to a fifty stand, taking the game entirely away from their opponents. A tired Amla edged one behind for 127, before Du Plessis hit the winning runs to wrap up the match, making it the highest successful run-chase at Centurion.