Amla leads South Africa to share of England series

By Julian Guyer
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By Julian Guyer

9/5/2012 10:20:01 PM -

NOTTINGHAM, England (AFP) - Hashim Amla piled on the runs once again as he led South Africa to a series-levelling seven-wicket win in the fifth and final one-day international against England at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.

South Africa, chasing a seemingly modest 183 for victory, collapsed to 14 for three inside five overs under the floodlights in this day/night fixture.

But opener Amla responded with a superb 97 not out and, together with Proteas captain AB de Villiers (75 not out) he shared an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 172.

Victory, with more than 15 overs to spare, saw South Africa share the series at 2-2.

Amla, who made a brilliant 150 in South Africa's 80-run win in the second ODI in Southampton, was named man of the series for a tally of 335 runs in four innings at an average of more than 111.

That followed on from his corresponding award in the Proteas' 2-0 Test series win over England where he scored a South Africa record 311 not out at The Oval.

Amla's combined tally for both series was a colossal 817 runs at 116.71.

One consolation for England was that, despite this defeat, they remained top of the 50-over world rankings having won 12 of their last 14 completed matches.

Amla could only watch as the Proteas slumped at the start of their reply.

Left-hander Graeme Smith fell when he edged Jade Dernbach and James Tredwell held on at the second attempt.

International novices Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar then both nicked excellent James Anderson deliveries to wicket-keeper Craig Kieswetter.

But de Villiers then pulled two successive short balls from South Africa-born seamer Dernbach for four.

Amla eased paceman Chris Woakes, in for Steven Finn who had a back problem, off the backfoot for a typically stylish four through the covers.

And when Woakes carelessly dropped short, de Villiers pulled him for four.

Amla then went advanced to drive left-arm spinner Samit Patel through the covers for four.

He completed a 63 ball-fifty, with de Villiers taking just 54 balls to get to the landmark.

Amla drove off-spinner Tredwell over extra-cover for six and ended the match with a wristily flicked boundary off Dernbach.

In all he faced 107 balls with a six and nine fours.

Earlier, left-arm spinner Robin Peterson took three for 37 after enterprisingly being given the new ball by de Villiers as England, without injured top-order mainstay Jonathan Trott and the still exiled Kevin Pietersen, were bowled out for just 182.

Fast bowler Dale Steyn, a more familiar new-ball operator, took two for 24.

Only England captain Alastair Cook (51), Kieswetter (33) and Woakes, with a career-best 33 not out, got past 30.

Peterson had in-form opener Ian Bell lbw for 10 before removing tailenders Tredwell and Anderson with successive deliveries.

Ravi Bopara, promoted up the order in Trott's absence despite a run of low scores, and Eoin Morgan both exited for ducks.

England's low total was built upon a third-wicket partnership of 55 between Cook and Jonathan Bairstow.

Cook completed a 69-ball fifty with six fours.

But the left-handed opener fell meekly when he chipped a return catch to spinner du Plessis.

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