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Rain ruins Cardiff climax

Luke Wright & Andrew Flintoff

Rain forces the players off after just three overs as the series ends on a damp note

England's hopes of inflicting a whitewash on South Africa disappeared in the Cardiff rain as today's final NatWest Series match was abandoned, with only three overs possible.

Kevin Pietersen's team would have taken England up to an all-time high of second in the International Cricket Council one-day rankings if they had been able to complete a 5-0 clean sweep.

Instead, they must settle for 4-0 and third in the table – behind Australia and South Africa.

On a day of blustery showers and with rain always threatening, the match at the SWALEC Stadium was called off at 6.50pm.

In the limited play possible, South Africa – put in to bat – lost Herschelle Gibbs to a splendid catch behind by Matt Prior off Stuart Broad in reaching six for one.

That came after a start delayed by two hours due to a wet outfield and intermittent rain, and preceded the first of the many downpours which were eventually to bring the abandonment.