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The Pink ODI

South Africa 256 – 7 (50.0 overs)
England 257 – 8 (43.2 overs)

The pink day at the final ODI in Johannesburg saw England needing victory to avoid losing their first series since January 2017. Morgan won the toss and elected to field having announced he had bolstered the eleven with some World Cup winning players in Ali and Rashid.

The start of the South African innings was a frustrating one for the hosts as most of the top order made starts and then got out. Hendricks, Bavuma and Smuts all made scores between 11 and 31 as their innings began to stutter at 155-5.

There was a curious moment when Bavuma reviewed an LBW decision which was upheld due to UltraEdge failing to work although there did appear to be a clear gap between bat and ball. This confusion spilled over into Van der Dussen’s wicket moments later as he was about to head up the tunnel before being told South Africa had in fact maintained that review thought to be lost by Bavuma.

Dussen marched back to the middle much to the distain of Morgan and his team as replays showed the ball to be sliding past the leg stump. This slight hiccup in England’s bowling performance was soon rectified however as Moeen Ali on his return to England colours managed to get one to slide on and bowl Van der Dussen for five.

Some big lusty blows late on from the ever impressive Miller who finished up on 69 left South Africa on 256-7 from their 50 overs, a target England would have fancied chasing down.

Roy and Bairstow got England off to a fast start as they often do with the Yorkshiremen Bairstow in particular taking a fancy to the generous Wanderers bounce. The pair put on 60 in the first six overs and it looked like England may stroll to victory on a leisurely Sunday afternoon.

England’s batsmen contributed to the chase equally throughout and a strong sixth wicket partnership between Denly and Banton looked like they were going to take England to victory. Once Denly had reached his second fifty of the series he began to cut loose with some impressive ball striking, but in the end it was one shot too many.

England collapsed after Denly was caught from 232-4 to 252-8 which left a nervous last few overs for Moeen Ali to negotiate as wickets fell at the other end. A shame for the half of the capacity crowd which had already given up hope and gone as the final few minutes of the contest was the closest cricket of the series.

In the end Ali got his team over the line and England’s unbeaten run in the 50 over form was maintained. Starting on Friday both teams will commence battle again in three 20 over matches as the build up to the World T20 continues.        

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