A stabilising 66 from Joe Denly saw England stumble across the line to a two wicket victory, in the third ODI against South Africa to draw the series.
Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to field with a very much rotated England team. Shaqib Mahmood put himself in contention to take the vacant seamer spot, after Liam Plunkett was not offered another central contract by the ECB. Mahmood hit the pitch hard and returned figures of 1-17 from 5 overs.
Quinton De Kock was a thorn in England’s side at the top of the order, with 69 from 85 balls. However, once he fell to wrist-spinner Adil Rashid wickets continued to fall. This was until hard hitting David Miller came to the crease at 140-4. He managed to catapult the Proteas to 256-7 with a quickfire 69 from 53 balls.
Rashid was the pick of the bowlers as he took 3-51 from his 10 overs. At the interval it seemed the away team were very much in pole position to win the game. Jason Roy (21) and Jonny Bairstow (43) cemented this fact as they helped race England to 61-0. Once they fell in quick concession to a very young South African bowling attack, the alarm bells started to ring in the England camp at 86-3. But the test skipper Joe Root steadied the ship with a near run a ball 49.
Root was joined by Kent batsman Joe Denly at the crease as they put a 76 run stand on to see Chris Silverwood’s team to 162-3. Root fell, but Denly and the young Tom Banton (32) put England within touching distance of the home side’s 256.
There was to be another twist in this Johannesburg tale as England slumped from 232-4 to 241-7. With another England collapse looming, the returning Moeen Ali (17) helped the team home with 2 wickets remaining.
This result sees the series tied, in what has been a very experimental three games for both sides. The squad depth shown by England will be a positive for Silverwood and the selectors. Whilst South Africa has a young team coming through that looked a lot better than their dismal display at the World Cup last year. The Twenty20 internationals kick off in East London on Wednesday. Keep up to date with this game on the ParkLife Sport live blog here.