South Africa made light work of England in the second one-day international in Southampton on Tuesday, defeating the hosts by 80 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series after being set up by Hashim Amla’s 150.
England were set a target of 288 to win following Amla’s stellar innings after the Proteas, who now top the world rankings in all three forms of the game, won the toss and elected to bat.
The hosts would have loved to have mirrored outcast Kevin Pietersen’s innings on the same day, after he thrashed a quick-fire 163 for Surrey in the County Championship match against Somerset, but it was not to be as England’s run chase got off to a horrible start before they were bowled out for 207.
In just the second ball of the innings captain Alastair Cook was clean bowled for a duck by left arm opener Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell put on 64 runs to steady the hosts, but the promising partnership came to an end after Trott departed for 23 courtesy of Dean Elgar’s delightful catch in the deep off the bowling of Morne Morkel.
As he approached his half-century, Bell was next to fall for 45, bowled by deceptive spinner Robin Peterson to leave England in the awkward position of 77 for three.
South Africa began to take control of the match when Peterson struck for a second time in his next over, Ravi Bopara was claimed for 16 as he struck a back-foot drive direct to Faf du Plessis at extra cover. England lasted 40.4 overs.
Earlier Amla scored a magnificent 150 to lead South Africa to an imposing total of 287 for five.
Graeme Smith and Amla shared a fluent opening partnership of 89, seeing off the early threat of James Anderson and Steven Finn with ease.
Smith struck five crisp fours in his 52 before skying a catch to wicketkeeper Kieswetter off Tim Bresnan but Amla continued his rich vein of form.
The bearded right-hander lost JP Duminy for 14, run out by Anderson after a mix-up, while Elgar was bowled by Graeme Swann for 15 on his debut.
But Amla, who scored 482 runs in the recent test series win against England including a triple century, moved serenely on, striking 16 fours in his highest one-day international innings.
The first match of the series was washed out. England can reclaim their spot at the top of the ODI world rankings if they beat South Africa in the next match at The Oval on Friday.