Anderson leaves South Africa in tatters
There was to be no repeat of the run-fest witnessed on Friday as James Anderson’s venomous assault led England to a seven-wicket victory over South Africa in the fourth one-day international in Port Elizabeth.
Asked to bowl first by Graeme Smith, England’s seam bowlers thrived on an encouraging surface at St George’s Park, dismissing the hosts for 119 inside 37 overs.
Four wickets arrived in the first 14 overs, two to Anderson, and the Lancashire fast bowler returned six overs later to wreak further havoc. He finished with career-best figures of 5-23 in a sustained display of fine swing bowling.
England knocked off the required runs with 18.4 overs to spare, allowing Jonathan Trott to bat through for an unbeaten 52.
In doing so, England secured a win every bit as resounding as South Africa’s 112-run victory at Cape Town two days ago, to take an unassailable 2-1 lead into the final match in Durban.
It was South Africa's lowest total at home in this form of the game, and the second lowest on this ground after New Zealand's 112 against Australia in the 2003 World Cup.
The Proteas’ only solace from a wretched day came in an intelligent knock of 51 from hometown boy Alviro Petersen, playing just his 10th ODI.
Petersen was forced to do all the work himself as he watched partner after partner disappear to a medley of injudicious strokes. The highest stand was a mere 23, added for the fifth wicket with Mark Boucher.
England's new-ball success was vindication for plans hatched against the opposition batsmen, with both Hashim Amla and JP Duminy falling for traps set by Andrew Strauss.
From the eighth legitimate ball of the match, Stuart Broad won a marginal lbw decision against Smith, squared up by a ball likely to clip leg stump.
A brief response from Amla and AB de Villiers took the score to 24, cutting and driving purposefully.
But Strauss soon positioned a man at short midwicket for the wristy Amla, and he took the bait by turning Anderson into the hands of Graeme Swann, who took the catch on one knee.
Duminy was repeatedly tested by the shorter ball and, though the left-hander succeeded in pulling Broad for four, it was no surprise when he succumbed in the 11th over, miscuing Anderson to Matt Prior.
South Africa seemed to have weathered the storm when the back-up seamers arrived, but in Tim Bresnan’s first over the dangerous de Villiers was fourth to go with the score on 55.
Fresh from a superb 121 at Newlands, de Villiers was somewhat unfortunate to be given lbw to a ball shaping down leg.
The seasoned head of Mark Boucher offered some respite but, with England in such an enviable position, Strauss was able to bring back Anderson, and with the fifth ball of his second spell he knocked over Boucher’s off stump with a touch of outswing.
Ryan McLaren scarcely appeared capable of turning the tide, and the left-hander drove Anderson straight to backward point without scoring.
Anderson bettered his previous best figures - 4-23 against India at the Rose Bowl two years ago - in his final over when Johan Botha, preferred to Roelof van der Merwe, feathered behind the finest of edges.
Strauss turned to Paul Collingwood for the 30th over, and the decision proved inspired as he claimed his 100th ODI wicket when Wayne Parnell flashed a drive to the England captain at point.
And Morne Morkel became the third lbw victim of the innings, propping forward to Collingwood’s clever off-cutter from around the wicket.
Petersen played barely a bad stroke throughout the carnage, and was prepared simply to knock the ball around.
When he pulled Luke Wright for four in the 32nd over, it was South Africa’s first boundary since the 19th. Another carve to leg brought up his half-century.
But with only last man Charl Langeveldt to offer support, Petersen eventually lost patience and lobbed an attempted pull to mid-on, where Wright took an excellent one-handed catch, falling back.
The regulations required that England responded immediately after South Africa’s innings, and the opening pair took a major step towards the win by knocking off 31 in the seven overs before lunch.
Trott survived a good shout for leg before from Parnell in the first over, and may also have edged Morkel down the leg side before the break, where a diving Boucher could not hang on one-handed.
Strauss and Trott had put on 74 when England’s serenity was broken. Strauss, on 32, attempted an ambitious cut from Botha’s arm ball and was sent back lbw.
Kevin Pietersen, in at number three, top-edged McLaren to fine-leg, where Morkel spilled the catch, and had scored three runs when he turned Botha direct to midwicket.
Collingwood followed three overs later to leave England 83 for three, but Smith declined the opportunity to bring up the field and exert further pressure on the batsmen.
Eoin Morgan benefited immediately, three times edging through a vacant slip area in a generally frazzled innings.
At the other end, the more assured Trott was permitted to help himself to a measured half-century from 74 balls.