JAMESAnderson’s sublime bowling helped England beat South Africa by seven wickets in the fourth one-day international in Port Elizabeth.
Anderson took career best figures of five for 23 as the tourists restricted the hosts to just 119 all out, their lowest score in a one-day international at home.
England got the run chase off to a perfect start with a first-wicket partnership of 74 shared by Jonathan Trott and Andrew Strauss, and though a trio of quick dismissals gave the hosts some hope Trott and Eoin Morgan safely got England past the target with nearly 19 overs to spare.
“The key was to start well – and it was a good toss to lose if I’m honest,” said Strauss.
“We were very accurate today, Anderson created pressure but then added wicket taking deliveries as well.”
Strauss admitted that he was as surprised as anyone by the one-sided nature of all the matches in the series so far.
“In every match one side has grabbed the initiative and just not let go,” he added.
Proteas skipper Graeme Smith was bitterly disappointed by the result.
“We bled throughout the innings and were never able to get it together,” he said. “It was a very disappointing performance.”
Smith was also bemused at the see-saw nature of the series.
“At the moment it’s a battle of the inconsistencies,” he said.
South Africa won the toss and elected to bat, a decision which almost immediately looked to be the wrong one as Smith was adjudged out LBW in the second over of the day.
Of the hosts’ top-order batsmen only Alviro Petersen got a decent start, the number five going on to make 51 while at the other end seeing a steady stream of wickets fall to Anderson’s disciplined bowling.
As well as owing much to Anderson’s wicket-taking heroics, Tim Bresnan bold superb line and length to keep the runs down, conceding just 15 runs in his eight over spell.
England began the run chase brilliantly, with first Trott and then Strauss showing a mixture of patience and aggression as they built a first-innings partnership that all-but-guaranteed the victory.
When Strauss fell LBW to Johan Botha there was no reason to worry, but when Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood fell for three and two runs respectively there seemed to be a tiny bit of hope for the hosts to cling to, the more so when Botha and Ryan McLaren kept the runs down for over after over.
Morgan seemed shaky at first, surviving three poor shots as he found two edges and a mis-timed hook, but when he found his feet he picked up the run rate to get things going. With the pressure off he and Trott finished things off comfortably, with Trott registering the second half century of his one-day career. (Eurosport)
SOUTH AFRICA innings
HM Amla c Swann b Anderson 11 GC Smith*
lbw b Broad 2 AB de Villiers
lbw b Bresnan 22 JP Duminy
c †Prior b Anderson 6 AN Petersen
c Wright b Broad 51 MV Boucher†
b Anderson 13 R McLaren
c Collingwood b Anderson 0 J Botha
c †Prior b Anderson 1 WD Parnell
c Strauss b Collingwood 1
M Morkel lbw b Collingwood 7
CK Langeveldt not out 0
Extras (w 5) 5
Total (all out; 36.5 overs; 170 mins) 119
Fall of wickets1-6, 2-24,3-35, 4-55, 5-78, 6-78, 7-84, 8-92, 9-112, 10-119.
Bowling: Anderson 10-3-23-5 (3w), Broad 9.5-0-30-2 (2w), Wright 5-0-31-0, Bresnan 8-2-15-1, Collingwood 4-0-20-2.
IJL Trott not out 52
AJ Strauss* lbw b Botha 32
KP Pietersen c de Villiers b Botha 3
PD Collingwood c †Boucher b McLaren 2
EJG Morgan not out 28
Extras (lb 1, w 3) 4
Total (3 wickets; 31.2 overs; 130 mins) 121
Did not bat MJ Prior†, LJ Wright, SCJ Broad, GP Swann, TT Bresnan, JM Anderson
Fall of wickets1-74, 2-80 3-83.
Bowling: Parnell 6-0-30-0 (2w), Langeveldt 5-1-24-0 (1w), Morkel 6.2-1-19-0, McLaren 6-1-25-1