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Centuries from Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock help South Africa seal record chase

South Africa maintained their faint hopes of winning the series alive thanks to centuries from Amla and de Kock.

de Kock and Amla
Centuries from both openers helped the Proteas keep the ODI series alive

Centuries from both openers, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock set up a comfortable victory for South Africa in the third ODI against England and kept their hopes of winning the series alive. Joe Root’s highest ODI score left South Africa with a record chase but a 239-run opening partnership meant it wasn’t a difficult chase for the Proteas.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, England put on 318/8 thanks to Root’s century, which was the highest ODI score made by an England batsman against South Africa. Despite losing Jason Roy early, Root and Alex Hales ensured England got off to a good start.

Both players got to their fifties and the pair added 125 runs for the second wicket before Hales departed for 65. The dangerous Jos Buttler was gone for a duck and captain Eoin Morgan also departed early and out of nowhere, the visitors had lost three wickets for just 26 runs.

Just when the Proteas thought they were going to bowl them out cheaply, their nemesis of the tour, Ben Stokes joined Root in a fifth-wicket stand, which added 82 in eight overs and took England to a position of comfort on a two-paced wicket that challenged batsmen with uneven bounce.

Root, who looked fluent on the way to his career-best ODI score, only gave one chance, to de Kock, when he was on 44, but otherwise looked at his fluent best. With two set batsmen and six wickets in hand, the last seven and a bit overs, looked like it might cost the Proteas dear.

After Root was run out following a mix-up with Stokes, England had a mini-collapse and only ended with 318, when something close to 350 looked on the cards.

Still, no side has chased over 300 in Centurion but Amla and de Kock gave an opening masterclass and ensured the Proteas remained alive in the series. de Kock, who got to his 10th ODI hundred and was the youngest batsman to do so, beating Virat Koli’s record. De Kock also became the fastest to reach 10 ODI hundreds as he reached the milestone in just 55 innings, beating his teammate, Amla's record of 57 innings.

He looked set for his highest ODI but holed out just short. But Amla continued after he left and got to his 21st ODI century and brought the hosts ever closer to that elusive ODI win. Although he got out before the end, Faf du Plessis saw the Proteas home.

The opening partnership meant the hosts completed the highest successful run chase in an ODI at Centurion, beating West Indies’ 300 for 3, scored in 2004 and maintained their faint hopes of winning this series alive.

Brief Scores: South Africa 319/3 in 46.2 overs (de Kock 135, Amla 127) beat England 318/8 (Root 125, Hales 65) by seven wickets.

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