x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Anderson wreaks havoc at St George's Park

Decision to bat first by South African captain Graeme Smith backfires as fast bowler's five wickets has hosts hurtling to lowest total at home.

James Anderson wrecked South Africa's batting order with a career-best performance as England won the fourth One-Day International by seven wickets at St George's Park on Sunday. The fast bowler took five wickets for 23 as South Africa were bowled out for 119, their lowest total in a one-day game in their own country. "Jimmy Anderson was outstanding in the way he created pressure but then bowled wicket-taking deliveries as well," said England captain Andrew Strauss.

Jonathan Trott and Strauss put on 74 for England's first wicket. The tourists suffered a wobble when three wickets fell for nine runs but cruised to victory with 18.4 overs to spare. Trott finished with 52 not out. It was a remarkable turnaround for England, who conceded 354 runs when they lost the third international by 112 runs in Cape Town two days earlier. The win gave England an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the series. The final match will be played in Durban on Friday.

South African captain Graeme Smith was dismissed by Stuart Broad off the eighth ball of the match and his side were unable to recover. Smith gambled by batting first in overcast conditions on a pitch with slightly more grass than usual and the early loss of their leading batsman exposed a lengthy tail. "It was probably a good toss to lose," admitted Strauss. "But I was very pleased with the way the bowlers adapted to those conditions. We were very accurate today."

Strauss said that after Friday's heavy defeat the team had "a good chat". He said: "We wanted to clarify our plans against their batsmen, which we got pretty much spot on." Anderson bowled superbly in two spells and benefited from bold captaincy by Strauss. After a first spell of 2-17 in six overs, Strauss brought back his strike bowler in the 21st over to press home his side's advantage. Anderson responded by taking three more wickets and completed his stint by the end of the 27th over. By then, South Africa had lost seven wickets for 85 runs.

Tim Bresnan provided excellent support for Anderson, taking one for 15 in an unbroken spell of eight overs. He took the key wicket of AB de Villiers, who made a century in Cape Town and was looking in good form until he was leg before to Bresnan for 22. Alviro Petersen, the least experienced of the South African top order, was the only batsman to shine, making 51 off 79 balls before he was the last man out. It was Petersen's third successive half-century in the series.

"We didn't assess conditions well enough this morning," said Smith. "If we had got 220 or 240 it would have been a really good target to defend. It was a disappointing performance." * AFP