Dazzling de Villiers sinks England
AB de Villiers hit a dazzling century as South Africa swept to a series-levelling 112-run win in the third one-day international against England at Newlands.cricket Updated: Nov 28, 2009 14:47 IST
AB de Villiers hit a dazzling century as South Africa swept to a series-levelling 112-run win in the third one-day international against England at Newlands on Friday.
De Villiers, given the responsibility of filling the number three batting slot, hit 121 off only 85 balls as South Africa piled up 354 for six, a record total in matches between the two countries.
Paul Collingwood hit a defiant 86 for England but the tourists were bowled out for 242 in reply.
It was South Africa's first win in eight matches against England, after six defeats and one no-result, and levelled the current series with two matches to play.
De Villiers played some audacious strokes, particularly in the batting power play as he closed in on his fourth one-day international century, at one stage flicking fast bowler Stuart Broad over the head of wicketkeeper Matt Prior for one of his 14 boundaries. There were only 20 balls in his innings from which he failed to score.
South Africa scored 110 runs in the last ten overs of their innings, including 57 in the five-over batting power play.
Home captain Smith was in dominant mood after winning the toss for the sixth successive time at Newlands, a ground where 20 of the previous 25 day-night matches had been won by the side batting first.
Smith muscled his way to 54 off 56 balls as he and Hashim Amla put on 107 for the first wicket. Amla played fluently to make 86 off 92 balls, adding 94 off 78 balls with de Villiers, who raced to his fifty off 39 deliveries.
England pegged back the scoring briefly, picking up the wicket of JP Duminy, before de Villiers and Alviro Petersen (51 not out) added 95 off 62 balls for the fourth wicket.
De Villiers said he benefitted from the start made by the openers and said he had "big shoes to fill" as a senior batsman in the absence of Jacques Kallis, who will miss the whole series because of a rib injury.
Smith said: "It was a terrific innings to watch. AB has been given a lot of responsibility."
Seeking the second-highest successful run chase in one-day international history, England promoted Luke Wright as a pinch hitter to open with skipper Andrew Strauss. Wright hit 24 off 19 balls before holing out to deep midwicket.
Strauss admitted: "South Africa batted superbly and AB de Villiers played a brilliant, top-quality innings. We struggled to stop them scoring. Three hundred and fifty was always going to be a hard score to chase."
England's hopes plummeted when Strauss and Jonathan Trott were out in the space of four balls with the total on 58, with Trott falling to a sensational leaping catch by Smith at slip.
Collingwood shared stands of 84 with Kevin Pietersen (45) and 64 with Matt Prior (16) before he was caught at mid-on after making 86 off 82 balls. He hit seven fours and three sixes.
Recalled fast bowlers Wayne Parnell and Morne Morkel were South Africa's most successful bowlers. Parnell took five for 48 and Morkel three for 39.
Smith said the challenge for South Africa was to build on Friday's performance in the remaining two matches after what he described as a "stop-start" early season.
The only setback for South Africa was what was described as a minor hamstring injury suffered by fast bowler Dale Steyn, who had to leave the field after bowling six overs.