Awesome Amla helps Proteas to number one
Hashim Amla continued his wonderful tour of England with a career-best 150 as South Africa moved to the top of the International Cricket Council ODI rankings courtesy of an 80-run victory at the Ageas Bowl.
A prolific scorer in the preceding Tests when he became the Proteas’ first triple-centurion, Amla made the most of two let-offs today during a fantastic 124-ball innings in which he demonstrated a wide array of strokes.
Dropped by Craig Kieswetter on 42 and 92, he gradually increased the tempo and batted until the 50th over to underpin a score of 287 for five after South Africa had elected to bat on a dry surface.
Ian Bell and Samit Patel were the only batsmen to make any impression in reply, with 45 apiece, as England - victors in their previous 10 ODIs - were dismissed for 207 in the 41st over.
The defeat means Alastair Cook’s men have been replaced as the world’s leading 50-over team, while they trail the five-match NatWest Series 1-0 following Friday’s washout at the SWALEC Stadium.
James Anderson and Steven Finn beat the bat on a regular basis early on, but Graeme Smith soon settled to become the senior partner in an opening stand of 89 in 19.2 overs.
Soon after the left-hander had top-edged a pull off Tim Bresnan to fall for 52, Patel - recalled in place of Chris Woakes - found Amla’s outside edge, but Kieswetter was unable to take a sharp chance.
JP Duminy and Dean Elgar fell cheaply, yet Amla was given another life when a leg-glance off Finn was put down by England’s wicketkeeper.
The opener duly brought up his hundred from 96 deliveries and accelerated confidently with an impressive range of strokes following AB de Villiers’ departure to Graeme Swann for 28.
Amla’s tour de force ended when he picked out short third man off Finn in the final over and England’s reply then off to the worst possible start when Cook was bowled by Lonwabo Tsotsobe for a second-ball duck.
Bell looked in excellent touch at the venue where he has scored each of his two ODI centuries, but he was denied a half-century by Robin Peterson as wickets tumbled at regular intervals.
Part-timer Elgar celebrated his first over in international cricket with the scalp of Kieswetter, having earlier taken a sensational diving catch at deep backward square to account for Jonathan Trott.
When England’s sixth, seventh and eighth wickets went down with the score on 159 - the latter two to Wayne Parnell - the end was nigh.
An entertaining 10th-wicket stand of 37 between Patel, who contributed 45, and Steven Finn delayed the inevitable, but Cook will know his side must improve when the teams meet again at the Kia Oval on Friday.
8:19pm - WICKET! Patel c de Villiers b Morkel 45; Eng 207 all out - SOUTH AFRICA WIN BY 80 RUNS! - The entertainment is brought to an end as Patel, backing away, offers up a regulation edge to de Villiers. South Africa were too good today, with Hashim Amla’s magnificent 150 the key to their victory.
8:15pm - England are going down swinging. Patel swipes Peterson down the ground for two maximums, either side of a two-bounce four over cover. This 10th-wicket partnership is already worth 34.
8:11pm - Finn drives Morkel on the up through the covers to get off the mark in style. De Villiers applauds the tailender. A fierce pull past mid-on follows and Finn claims his third boundary in the space of four balls with a belting cover drive. This is fun!
8:06pm - WICKET! Anderson run out (De Villiers) 5; Eng 170/9 - Anderson is slow to set off for a single and pays the price. South Africa are one wicket from victory.
8:01pm - The batting powerplay has been enforced, but it is hard to see how England can get close from here. Patel remains unbeaten, but he now has James Anderson for company, with only Steven Finn left in the hutch.
7:51pm - WICKET! Swann c de Villiers b Parnell; Eng 159/8 - Dear oh dear! Graeme Swann falls in similar fashion to Bresnan and Parnell has two wickets in three balls.
7:48pm - WICKET! Bresnan c de Villiers b Parnell; Eng 159/7 - Tim Bresnan fails to survive his first ball - a thick outside edge is comfortably taken by de Villiers.
7:45pm - WICKET! Morgan c Elgar b Duminy 27; Eng 159/6 - That may prove a killer blow as far as England are concerned. Morgan pulls a loose delivery from Duminy straight to Elgar in the deep, who makes no mistake.
7:35pm - Drinks are taken with England 152 for five, requiring 136 from 18 overs.
7:26pm- That’s a dreadful delivery from McLaren; he sends down a wide half-volley and Patel takes advantage by planting a bottom-handed drive through the covers. Morgan gets lucky upon Tsotsobe’s return as a leading edge loops over Morkel at mid-off.
7:19pm - A maiden from McLaren nudges the required run-rate up to seven. An expensive over from Elgar follows, however.
7:11pm - Samit Patel eases Elgar wide of mid-on for his first four. He and Morgan really need to stick around now if England are to retain hope of winning this game.
7:01pm - More part-time spin is introduced as Elgar replaces Peterson. The slow left-armer strikes in his first over as a thin edge from Kieswetter bounces up off wicketkeeper de Villiers’ gloves and into the hands of Graeme Smith at first slip.
6:58pm - The accurate Peterson beats the outside edge of Kieswetter, who subsequently drives the returning McLaren through the covers for four. Amla, meanwhile, is off the field, having suffered an injury during his aforementioned slip in the field.
6:50pm - That will help matters. Craig Kieswetter advances down the track and clubs Duminy down the ground for the first six of the match. The same bowler is then reverse-swept through backward point by Morgan.
6:46pm - The success of Peterson has prompted de Villiers to bring on part-time off-spinner JP Duminy. He beats Morgan’s outside edge in an over yielding two. Peterson keeps things similarly tight in his next set of six and the pressure on England is building.
6:38pm - WICKET! Bopara c du Plessis b Peterson 16; Eng 90/4 - South Africa are in control now. Bopara will be furious at himself after smacking a long hop from Peterson straight to cover.
6:35pm - England may have lost Bell, but Eoin Morgan also has two centuries here and averages 137. Bopara, meanwhile, looks to have found his feet; he collects fours on either side of the wicket off Parnell to move to 15.
6:28pm - WICKET! Bell b Peterson 45; Eng 77/3 - South Africa land a crucial blow! Peterson gets one to grip, just as England’s left-arm spinner Samit Patel did on several occasions earlier today, and Bell plays inside the line to be bowled.
6:24pm - Bopara has endured a somewhat scratchy start to his innings and England would like Bell to face as many deliveries as possible right now. South Africa take the bowling powerplay at the earliest opportunity.
6:15pm - Bell is guilty of ball-watching when new batsman Ravi Bopara calls him through for a single to mid-on. Thankfully, the opener makes his ground, but only just.
6:09pm - WICKET! Trott c Elgar b Morkel 23; Eng 64/2 - Goodness me - that is one of the best catches I have seen! Trott pulls Morkel down to backward square-leg, where Dean Elgar runs back towards the rope and pulls off a superb diving take as the ball drops over his shoulder. Incredible agility from South Africa’s newest cap.
6:05pm - Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson enters the attack and proves expensive in his opening over. Bell reverse-sweeps for three and, from the next delivery, Trott repeats the stroke to collect four.
6pm - Bell pulls Wayne Parnell for two to bring up England’s 50 from the final ball of the ninth over. The hosts subsequently end the powerplay on 54 for one and have recovered well from Cook's early departure.
5:51pm - Brilliant batting from Bell. After sauntering down the pitch to Morne Morkel’s first ball, he rocks back to a shorter delivery and pulls confidently for four. He is already on to 30 and looks to be in wonderful nick.
5:43pm - It is not often that Hashim Amla looks anything other than elegant. However, the centurion has just endured a rather embarrassing moment down at third man. In looking to field an aerial shot from Jonathan Trott, Amla slipped and watched the ball bounce past him for four, much to the crowd’s amusement.
5:38pm - McLaren cannot afford to drop short at his pace. When he does so, Bell pulls powerfully for four. Tsotsobe is then despatched to the point fence on two occasions and it looks as though Bell is once again enjoying conditions at the Ageas Bowl. England are 29 for one after five overs.
5:28pm - DROPPED CHANCE - Somewhat surprisingly, it is medium-pacer Ryan McLaren who shares the new ball with Tsotsobe. The latter almost claims a second scalp, but a leaping AB de Villiers can only parry a top-edge from Bell to the boundary.
5:18pm - WICKET! Cook b Tsotsobe 0; Eng 0/1 - Oh dear - this is not the start England wanted! Cook plays around a full ball from Lonwabo Tsotsobe to be bowled.
5:13pm – Ian Bell and Alastair Cook walk out to begin England’s chase. As I mentioned prior to the start of this match, Bell has scored each of his two ODI centuries at this ground. Now would be a good time for him to reach three figures again.
South Africa Innings
4:29pm - END OF INNINGS - SA 287/5; Amla 150 - Amla's wonderful knock comes to an end as he picks out short third man off Finn immediately after reaching 150. South Africa finish on 287 for five and will be happy with their work.
4:23pm - Amla moves past his previous ODI best of 140 and looks set to carry his bat. England will require a batsman of their own to go big when their chase gets under way.
4:15pm - Amla continues to prosper and demonstrates great skill in guiding Bresnan down to third man for four with a wristy flick. With three overs to come the Proteas have 262 on the board.
4:05pm - Amla has moved beyond 3,000 ODI runs quicker than any batsman in history. Sir Viv Richards previously held the record, having reached the landmark in 69 innings. This is only Amla’s 57th knock.
3:59pm - WICKET! De Villiers b Swann 28; SA 230/4 - That is a very useful wicket for England. De Villiers plays all around a full ball and has not made the most of his good fortune.
3:57pm - Both batsmen are on the attack now. South Africa are 226 for three with seven overs to come and will want to get as close to 300 as possible.
3:49pm - England are amazed as de Villiers, attempting a reverse-sweep against Swann, pops up a simple catch for Kieswetter, only for umpire Simon Taufel to turn down the appeal. There was a thick bottom edge, but the fielding side have already used up their review.
3:46pm - CENTURY! Amla (96b 10x4 0x6) - Having survived two let-offs, Amla brings up his 10th ODI hundred with a single down to long-on. He is some player.
3:42pm - DROPPED CHANCE - Amla gets another life and this time Kieswetter will feel he should certainly have clung on as he moved to his left in a bid to take a leg-glance.
3:40pm - Amla moves into the nineties with a flamboyant lofted stroke over mid-off. Bresnan and wicketkeeper Kieswetter appeal for a catch down the leg side next ball, but umpire Rob Bailey remains unmoved. I’m pretty sure that just brushed the batsman’s thigh.
3:32pm - The batting powerplay is enforced and de Villiers duly produces one of the shots of the day - a flowing straight drive off Finn. We are certainly going to see more aggression now. Patel is lofted over cow corner for four by Amla, who now has 86 to his name.
3:22pm - DROPPED CHANCE - It almost seems cruel to call this a chance as Kieswetter, diving to his right, gets his fingertips to a thick outside edge from AB de Villiers off Bresnan. The resulting single takes South Africa’s captain to 5,000 ODI runs.
3:16pm - WICKET! Elgar b Swann 15; SA 165/3 - Lovely stuff from Swann, who takes the pace off one and beats Elgar all ends up.
3:12pm - Elgar takes the aerial route against Swann and clears mid-on to pick up two. Amla is looking increasingly comfortable and drives Bresnan through the off side for four before collecting three more with a neat dab off the back foot.
3:04pm - Elgar cashes in on a short ball from Bopara with a pull that runs down to fine-leg for four. Amla then slog-sweeps the next delivery, from Swann, over the infield before stealing a tight single to short fine-leg. A direct hit from Anderson would have sent the batsman packing.
2:57pm - South Africa are dealing predominantly in singles just now, with Ravi Bopara having been brought on to operate in tandem with Swann. Elgar has made a cautious start and is bound to have a few nerves on his debut.
2:48pm - WICKET! Duminy run out (Anderson) 14; SA 121/2 - Swann is reintroduced and England claim a second scalp. The bowler is not responsible, however, as Duminy is run out, having been called through by Amla for a single to midwicket that was never there. Elgar comes to the crease.
2:43pm - FIFTY! Amla (54b 5x4 0x6) - Duminy finds the cover boundary with a sweetly timed drive off Anderson, before the impressive Patel beats Amla outside off stump. The opener moves to 50 from the next delivery and will hope to succeed where Smith failed by going on to three figures.
2:37pm - REVIEW - Patel completes his sixth over and probably deserves better figures than the 0-22 he has at present. Anderson is back into the attack from the other end and calls for a review after striking Duminy on the pad. Unfortunately for England, the delivery pitched outside leg.
2:28pm - DROPPED CHANCE - England are denied a second wicket in as many overs when wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter is unable to take a thin outside edge from Amla, who gets away with another false stroke later in Patel’s over. The left-arm spinner has bowled well thus far.
2:24pm - JP Duminy comes in at number three, so Dean Elgar will have to wait for his first innings as an international player. Amla guides Bresnan down to third man for his fifth four, moments after replays showed he was fortunate to survive an earlier lbw appeal from Patel.
2:20pm - WICKET! Smith c Kieswetter b Bresnan 52; SA 89/1 - England grab a much-needed breakthrough as Smith, advancing, top-edges a hook stroke and is pouched by Kieswetter, who had to run back towards the boundary rope.
2:12pm - FIFTY! Smith (70b 5x4 0x6) - Ah, now the bowling powerplay is taken. Bresnan returns and Smith moves to a half-century with a single into the off side from the final ball of the 18th over. South Africa’s Test captain is not pretty to watch, yet he is mightily effective.
2:08pm - England opt against enforcing the bowling powerplay immediately, which is perhaps no surprise given South Africa’s healthy progress thus far. Swann and Patel have at least slowed the run-rate somewhat, but the tourists will be delighted with their position.
2:02pm - Ravi Bopara pops off for some treatment, having made a diving stop at mid-off in the previous over. Smith, displaying minimal grace, plays an audacious reverse-sweep against Patel before falling over when attempting a more orthodox stroke.
1:55pm - Spin is introduced for the first time in the form of Graeme Swann. He needs just four more wickets to reach 100 in ODIs. Smith exhibits a desire to sweep regularly against the Nottinghamshire man, while Amla uses his feet to good effect in grabbing a couple of singles. Samit Patel then follows his county team-mate into the attack and is thrashed through cover by Amla before delivering a beauty that spins sharply past the outside edge and narrowly misses off stump.
1:48pm - Better from Finn, who concedes just two in his fifth set of six. South Africa end the mandatory powerplay on 49 without loss before collecting five more off Bresnan. England could do with a wicket.
1:39pm - Finn errs in length and is driven between mid-on and midwicket by Smith. A full-toss then disappears through the same region and South Africa are now building some momentum. Tim Bresnan replaces Anderson and sees both Smith and Amla edge wide of the solitary slip for boundaries in an over yielding 14.
1:30pm - Amla aims to punch Anderson through the covers off the back foot, but succeeds only in inside-edging past his stumps for a fortuitous four. His first shot of authority - a clip over midwicket - follows.
1:25pm - The first four of the game arrives as Smith, shuffling across his stumps for the umpteenth time, connects cleanly with a push to mid-off’s left. Finn then bumps into the stumps at the non-striker’s end, a common problem during the preceding Test series, but is not called for a dead ball on this occasion. South Africa are 15 without loss after six overs.
1:21pm - Smith is struggling to find his feet; he plays and misses again and is also struck on the pad during an excellent over from Finn. Anderson then sends another one past the bat. South Africa have yet to find the boundary.
1:13pm - Steven Finn is handed the other new ball and inconveniences Hashim Amla with a well-directed short ball towards the ribcage. Following a risky single to mid-off from Amla, who was grateful for Samit Patel’s slip, Anderson then beats Smith’s outside edge for the second time. A good start from England’s pacemen - just seven on the board after three overs.
1:05pm - Graeme Smith will not have enjoyed that first over from James Anderson, which yielded a solitary single. The left-hander found it tough to deal with the ball being pushed across him from over the wicket, but eventually got off the mark from an inswinger.
12:59pm - James Anderson has one of the two new balls and South Africa's Test captain, Graeme Smith, is on strike. Here we go!
12:51pm - Marvellous - the rain has ceased and the covers have been removed. We are set to start on time.
12:45pm - England skipper Alastair Cook confirmed it was a late decision to draft Patel into the team. Although there is a tinge of green in the surface, it appears a second spin option will prove useful given the lack of moisture. However, as I type that, light drizzle has begun to fall, forcing the groundstaff to cover the pitch. Hopefully it passes.
12:34pm - SOUTH AFRICA WIN THE TOSS AND BAT - AB de Villiers calls correctly and opts to make first use of a dry wicket that has prompted England to recall Samit Patel at the expense of Chris Woakes. South Africa are unchanged, having once again left out Dale Steyn.
12:20pm - Not long now until the toss, when we will find out whether either side has opted to make changes from the series-opener. Poor old Dean Elgar saw his international debut ruined by rain at the SWALEC Stadium and will be determined to make an impression today should he retain his place in South Africa’s top order.
12:10pm - One man who is likely to be delighted by England’s visit to Southampton is opening batsman Ian Bell. Both of the 30-year-old’s two ODI hundreds have come at this venue, the latter in a 114-run thrashing of West Indies earlier this summer. Bell’s average at the Ageas Bowl stands at a healthy 86.75.
12pm - Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of the second NatWest Series one-day international between England and South Africa. We are an hour away from the start of play at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl and the forecast is promising, which is a welcome boost following Friday’s abandonment in Cardiff.