Amla, AB lead Proteas to victory

England

South Africa survived a three-wicket flurry at the start of their chase to win the fifth and final ODI against England by seven wickets, thanks to a 172-run unbeaten stand between AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla at Trent Bridge.

South Africa survived a three-wicket flurry at the start of their chase to win the fifth and final ODI against England by seven wickets, thanks to a 172-run unbeaten stand between AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla at Trent Bridge.

After bowling England out for 182 earlier in the day, the Proteas' chase got off to a shocking start. They were three down for 14 runs and looking like suffering a surprising defeat, but the world's number one (Amla) and number three (De Villiers) ODI batsmen made light work of the recovery, winning with 93 balls to spare.

Amla, who ended the game on 97 not out, only added to his astonishing record on this tour (817 runs at 116.71), the top run-scorer in both series, while De Villiers pulled out a captain's knock when he and his side needed it most, scoring 75 off 79 balls.

The result saw the series drawn at 2-2, and England remained top of the ODI rankings by a fraction of a point, and with no more ODIs this year, they will stay there for the remainder of 2012.

England won the toss and elected to bat first, and were soon in trouble with two wickets down for 24 runs. Ian Bell, so fluid against the Proteas in this series, was trapped LBW by spinner Robin Peterson, opening the bowling, for 10.

Ravi Bopara, his horror end-of-summer continuing, was out for a duck, edging behind off Dale Steyn, and his was one of the few legitimate dismissals as England gave their wickets away at an alarming rate.

Of the England batsmen, only Alastair Cook was able to score a meaningful innings, making 51 off 72 balls before tamely pooping Faf du Plessis' full toss back to him down the pitch. Craig Kieswetter and Chris Woakes added 33 apiece to at least make the target slightly defendable.

The home side were never allowed to get partnerships building, and the Proteas bowlers were rotated every few overs by skipper De Villiers, and seven players turned their arm over in the innings. Peterson was the top wicket-taker with three scalps, including a near-hat-trick at the end.

The Proteas chase nearly went horribly wrong as James Anderson sent down two consecutive wicket-maidens. Jade Dernbach started the flurry in the second over though, inducing an edge from Graeme Smith, who was caught chasing the wide delivery and caught by James Tredwell in the slips.

Du Plessis and Dean Elgar fell to Anderson, who particularly enjoys Trent Bridge, and with the score on 14 for three, it looked like the wicket was not as batter-friendly as it appeared before the match.

But Amla and De Villiers soon demonstrated the true nature of the pitch, striking a number of gorgeous shots down the ground and causing the previously upbeat English bowlers to stray from their lines and lengths.

Dernbach, who started so well, ended with figures of 1/56, at over 7 runs to the over, while only Bopara went for less than four per over. Of De Villiers's 75 runs, 40 came in boundaries, while Amla's 97 included nine fours and a six.

The players now move on to a three-match T20 series, the first of which will be played at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.

<b>England:</b> Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter, Samit Patel, Chris Woakes, James Tredwell, James Anderson, Jade Dernbach.

<b>South Africa:</b> Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel.

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