Samit Patel took five wickets and Andrew Flintoff hit 78 not out to inspire England to a 126-run win, and an unassailable 3-0 series lead, against South Africa at the Oval on Friday.
Flintoff's 77-ball innings and 31 from Patel carried England to 296-7 from 50 overs and South Africa were never up with the rate as they were bowled out for 170 with Patel taking 5-41 to cap a memorable match. The South African chase flickered only briefly when Albie Morkel hit Patel for two sixes in an over but having planted him into the stands for a second time the batsmen offered a low return catch that Patel took low down.
But the tourists were out of the game by the 30th over of their innings when Mark Boucher was fifth man out with only 114 on the board. England are now chasing only the second 5-0 series win in their history, with games at Lord's and Cardiff to come, after they triumphed over Zimbabwe by the same margin in 2001-02. A 5-0 series win would put England second in the one-day world rankings.
Flintoff, adding to the 78 he made in the first game at Headingley, and relishing his role at number five put on a free-scoring partnership of 74 for the sixth wicket with Patel that took the game away from the South Africans.
His recent form with the bat is another triumph for new captain Kevin Pietersen who has promoted the all-rounder up the order and persuaded Steve Harmison, a crucial figure in this series, out of one-day international retirement.