De Villiers' ton hands South Africa series win

Sports Sunday 14/February/2016 19:59 PM
By: Times News Service
De Villiers' ton hands South Africa series win

Cape Town, South Africa: South Africa captain AB de Villiers smashed an unbeaten 101 in his 200th one-day international to lead the hosts to a five-wicket victory over England and a 3-2 series win on Sunday.
England spluttered to 236 all out in 45 overs after being sent in to bat at Newlands despite a second ODI century of his career for opener Alex Hales.
South Africa slumped to 22-3 in reply but a magnificent fourth-wicket stand of 125 between De Villiers and Hashim Amla (59) steadied the ship and the captain was there at the end to finish it off as they reached their target with 36 balls left.
De Villiers' 24th ODI century came from 94 balls with 11 fours and a six.
"I've been a bit off my game in the last month or so, so it's nice to finish like that," De Villiers said at the post-match presentation.
"It's an integral part of being a captain, you've got to lead from the front, you can't just chip in with small performances."
The Proteas are the first team since Pakistan in 2005 to come back from 2-0 down in an ODI series and claim victory, and just the fourth in the history of the 50-over game.
"I didn't think we were that far off in the first two ODIs so the belief was still there, we just had to find a little bit of confidence and that's where things turned around," De Villiers said.
Admirable patience
Man of the Series Hales had scored half-centuries in each of the four previous matches but finally converted to three figures, to his obvious relief.
His 112 came from 128 balls and included 14 fours as he showed admirable patience.
The next highest score in the England innings was a brisk 29 from Ben Stokes as indifferent shot selection ensured the tourists lost wickets at regular intervals.
Hales put on 61 for the second wicket with Joe Root (27) and 70 for the fourth with Stokes, but there was little else of substance as captain Eoin Morgan (2) again failed to deliver.
"We were outplayed here today," Morgan said. "We did have chances in previous games to wrap up the series but we weren't good enough.
"The chances probably would have been taken if we had more experience, but we are growing and learning as a side."