Joe Root scored his second hundred in a row to help England present the Proteas with a target of 263 in the fourth ODI at the Wanderers.
Considering the recent history at the Wanderers, England will feel their score of 262 is below par, especially considering the form Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla are in and taking into account that AB de Villiers’ lowest ODI score playing in pink is 65.
The last time a team batting first at the Wanderers scored less than 300 was in 2011 when India only managed 190. Surprisingly, they still managed to beat South Africa by one run on that day.
Root’s (109) innings was the glue that kept the England innings together as the middle order crumbled around him in an inspiring spell by Imran Tahir, who was back to his best after a difficult series prior to this game.
England started slowly and lost Jason Roy early, but Alex Hales reached his fourth consecutive fifty in the series as he shared a 69-run partnership with Root. Unfortunately for Hales he didn’t stick around after reaching 50 as he gave Kyle Abbott a catch on the deep mid-wicket boundary.
England went from 87-1 to 97-4 in the space of two overs as Tahir (3-46) took three wickets in the space of seven balls to get rid of Hales, Eoin Morgan (2) and Ben Stokes (2). Hashim Amla took a superb one-handed catch at slip to get rid of Stokes.
The dangerous Jos Buttler fell three overs later for one to a superb bouncer from Kyle Abbott. The ball clipped his bat, hit Buttler against the helmet and went up in the air as Abbott took the catch off his own bowling.
Root and Chris Woakes (33) shared a 95-run partnership to get England’s innings back on track. Adil Rashid chipped in with 39 but Kagiso Rabada (4-45) wrapped up the tail to restrict England to 262.