NOTTINGHAM, Sept 6 ― Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers shared an unbroken stand of 172 to steer South Africa to comfortable seven-wicket win over England in the fifth and final one-day international in Nottingham yesterday.
England were bowled out for just 182 but opening bowlers Jimmy Anderson and Jade Dernbach gave their side hope of defending the meagre total by ripping out the top order to leave South Africa reeling at 14 for three in the fourth over.
However, De Villiers and Amla, the standout batsman of the series, put together a South African record fourth-wicket partnership against England to lead the Proteas to victory and level the series at 2-2 after the first match in Cardiff was abandoned.
Amla hit the winning runs to leave himself stranded on 97 off 107 balls and captain De Villiers, who has had a quiet series, finished on 75 off 79.
It looked as if the chase would be a struggle after a strong start by the English attack left the South Africans in trouble.
Dernbach had captain Graeme Smith caught at the second attempt by James Tredwell at second slip for one in the second over.
Out of form Faf du Plessis was caught behind by Craig Kieswetter for three when Anderson found the edge of his bat with a seaming delivery and the same pair combined to get rid of Dean Elgar for one.
De Villiers and Amla had other ideas, however, as they went about resurrecting the innings in positive fashion.
They consistently picked up singles and found the fence with regularity when the England bowlers strayed off target.
Amla passed fifty off 63 balls and De Villiers reached his half century off 54.
They continued to increase the scoring rate and showed the application lacking from the England batsmen as they eased to their target with more than 15 overs to spare.
Captain Alastair Cook top-scored for England with 51 but when he fell pushing a low full toss back to part-time bowler Du Plessis his side was in the mire at 99 for five.
He had previously been involved in a 55-run partnership with Jonny Bairstow which repaired some of the early damage after the dismissals of Ian Bell for 10 and Ravi Bopara, whose miserable form continued when he went for a second-ball duck.
South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn captured two for 24 off nine overs and left-arm spinner Robin Peterson claimed three wickets.
Craig Kieswetter made a useful 33 before skying Morne Morkel to Amla and Chris Woakes made an unbeaten 33 before England were bowled out in the 46th over.
The result failed to knock England off the top of the one-day rankings but ended a run of seven consecutive home one-day series victories dating back to 2009. ― Reuters