50 overs England 318 for 8 (Root 125, Hales 65, Stokes 53) v South Africa
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Joe Root’s highest ODI score has left South Africa requiring a record chase if they are to avoid conceding a series-deciding defeat at the hands of England.
Root made 125, the highest ODI score made by an England batsman against South Africa, and that means the hosts need to make the highest successful run chase in an ODI at Centurion. West Indies’ 300 for 3, scored in 2004, is the record to date.
In these days of great expectations of ODI scores, England’s total of 318 for 8 may not seem particularly extravagant. But on a cracked, two-paced pitch that challenges batsmen with uneven bounce, it is likely to prove a challenging target.
South Africa lost the first two ODIs of the five-match series and are in danger of conceding defeat in the Test and ODI series to the same opposition during a home tour for the first time in 14 years.
By the time South Africa struck for the fourth time, they could have been quietly satisfied with their work. Jos Buttler, again promoted to No. 4 to build upon the strong start from England’s top order, had fallen first ball clipping to an intriguingly placed leg gully, while Eoin Morgan had laboured for 24 deliveries over his eight runs.
But then Ben Stokes joined Root in a fifth-wicket stand of 82 in eight overs that took England’s total from the average to the strong.
More to follow…
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo