Centuries by openers Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla kept South Africa alive in the one-day series against England as the host won the third game by seven wickets on Tuesday.
Chasing England’s formidable 318-8, De Kock made 135 and Amla 127 as South Africa cruised to 319-3 at SuperSport Park, the highest second-innings score in one-dayers at the ground.
South Africa won with more than three overs to spare and without needing captain AB de Villiers, the leading batsman in one-day cricket. De Villiers was there at the end, but was not out after facing just one ball with the work already done for South Africa. Faf du Plessis was 33 not out to apply the finishing touches to a victory set up by De Kock and Amla.
De Kock made his second century of the series, and Amla batted nearly all the way through the innings to send South Africa home in the day/night game. He fell in the over before victory was confirmed when he nicked behind off Chris Jordan.
De Kock’s century was already the 10th of the 23-year-old wicketkeeper batsman’s short ODI career. Amla’s was his 22nd and emphasized a return to form that began in the second part of the recent test series.
Joe Root earlier made 125 for England, his best ODI score, and the tourists set another challenging total after getting a 300-plus score for the second time in three games.
Opener Alex Hales contributed 65 and Ben Stokes was typically brutal down the order with his 53 from 37 balls.
Root’s fine innings was cut short when he was run out after a mix-up with Stokes. Root hit a straight drive that rebounded back off the stumps at the bowler’s end. Root and Stokes then ended up in the middle of the pitch, undecided over whether to go for the single, and bowler David Wiese whipped the ball across to De Kock to run out Root.
De Kock and Amla were sublime for South Africa with their 239-run opening stand. De Kock finally fell to a lofted drive to Root at cover off Adil Rashid (1-45) after thumping 16 fours and four sixes.
The only failure for South Africa was the big-hitting allrounder Wiese, who was promoted to No. 3 in an effort to get the game done quickly. Wiese hit a big six back down the ground off spinner Moeen Ali, but was bowled trying a reverse sweep next ball.
But with Amla in charge, South Africa handled the pressure of a must-win game, and chasing more than 300, to pull the series back to 2-1.
The fourth game is on Friday in Johannesburg.