South Africa’s openers Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock both recorded superb centuries as the Proteas beat England by seven wickets in the third ODI in Centurion on Tuesday to keep the five-match series alive heading into the final two matches.
De Kock struck a scintillating 135 from 117 balls while Amla hit a composed 127 off 130 balls as the two put on 239 for the first wicket to put the home team in control of a run chase that saw them have to reach a target of 319.
The openers batted until well into the 37th over and even though both lost their wickets towards the end, Faf du Plessis (33 not out) was on hand to hit the winning runs with 22 balls remaining.
Earlier in the day, England themselves racked up a good total of 318 for eight as Joe Root continued to show why he is one of the best batsman in the game today with a sparkling 125 from 133 balls.
Root shared in a second stand of 125 with Alex Hales (65) and a fifth wicket partnership of 82 with Ben Stokes (53) as the visitors must have thought that they were favourites to go three from three in the series.
The Proteas’ bowlers tried hard on an unresponsive pitch but they kept chipping away at the wickets column as Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada grabbed two wickets each.
Amla said before the game that the Proteas were well capable of winning three ‘finals’ in a row and part one of the job is now complete.
The teams now have a one day break before resuming battle in Johannesburg on Friday.