England levelled the three-match series on Sunday when they beat the Proteas by two wickets in the third and final ODI, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN at the Wanderers.
England skipper Eoin Morgan won the toss and sent the Proteas in to bat first in front of a capacity Wanderers crowd, all dressed in pink in aid of the annual breast cancer initiative..
Lungi Ngidi returned for the Proteas in place of Bjorn Fortuin, who was handed his debut in Friday’s washed out match in Durban.
Rashid and Ali proved to be the difference in the English bowling attack as they put the Proteas batters under a great deal of pressure – Rashid finishing with figures of 3 for 51 in his 10 overs.
England’s chase got off to fast start with explosive pair Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow flying out of the blocks.
The wicketkeeper took a particular liking to Ngidi, sending the fast bowler for 21 runs off his second over.
The pair raced to 50 within the 6th over of their innings before Lutho Sipamla made the important breakthrough by removing Bairstow for 43 – caught at midwicket by Andile Phehlukwayo.
Beuran Hendricks then dismissed Roy for 21 in the following over as the opener tried to pull him to the fence from wide outside off only to find a top edge which was safely taken by Ngidi at fine leg. The paceman picked up his second a few overs later when Morgan mistimed his shot, which Hendricks managed to catch himself.
Joe Root and Joe Denly steadied the ship for visitors as they took their side past the 150 mark with some clever strokeplay.
Their run chase was helped in part by some poor bowling by the Proteas, who were at times their own worst enemies.
Phehlukwayo’s first over yielded a total of four wides as England closed in on victory. Root looked set to bring up his half ton but he was dismissed one run shy of a 50 when Temba Bavuma took a brilliant catch at leg slip off the bowling of Tabraiz Shamsi.
Denly, though, was able to reach the milestone off 72 deliveries but he would also depart a few overs later when he went after another big shot but picked out Phehlukwayo on the boundary off Ngidi’s bowling.
Banton then was caught behind by De Kock the following over when Hendricks found the edge of his bat to pick up this third wicket in the match as a case of nerves hit the English lineup.
With only 16 more runs required for victory, Ngidi removed Tom Curran for five as proceedings as the home side gave their patient fans something to cheer about at the Wanderers.
The bowler then struck again by nicking off Rashid as England stumbled to eight wickets down.
Ali, though, kept his nerve and hit the winning runs to ensure his side squared the three-match series 1-1.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (captain, wicketkeeper), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Jon-Jon Smuts, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Beuran Hendricks, Lutho Sipamla, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi.
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (captain), Joe Denly, Tom Banton, Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan, Saqib Mahmood.
Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images