Hashim Amla's class punishes England's inept batting as one-day series is drawn

England 182 South Africa 186-3 (South Africa win by seven wickets)

England are clearly not to be trusted in the absence of their coach. No sooner had Andy Flower gone to spend some time with his family than his charges turned in the most feckless of batting exhibitions yesterday.

It ensured they lost the fifth one-day international against South Africa in the NatWest Series, which left matters level at 2-2. There were 93 balls left when South Africa crossed the line by seven wickets, led there by Hashim Amla, man of the series, man of the summer. He made an unbeaten 97 from 107 balls, managing the recovery after South Africa began to make a mess of the chase.

But it was never the most challenging of missions. England's miscreant behaviour was that of teenagers who are entrusted by their parents to mind the house and immediately have a party which leaves the place trashed. Flower can barely have finished the school return run when England's innings was trashed largely by their own hand.

A total of around 280 on a trustworthy pitch under benevolent late summer sunshine would have been competitive; one of 300 should have been eminently possible. England managed 182 all out in 45.2 overs, producing a litany of careless strokes.

The tourists gratefully accepted what came their way and the measure of their dominance was embodied by the shape of their fifth bowler, actually composed of three part-time practitioners, who yielded only 39 runs in their combined 10 overs. For most of the series the first-innings batting of both sides has been poor, perhaps affected by the use of two new balls from the start of the innings under the new ICC regulations.

But that alone did not explain England's failings last night. South Africa could hardly fail to chase down the target, although they had a wretched start that demonstrated their batting frailties in losing three wickets for 14. But Amla then took control yet again. Few players have had such a constant impact on a tour of England and there are still the Twenty20 matches to come. He has made a total of 817 runs at 116.71 (335 in the one-dayers) in internationals this summer.

All Amla needed to do last night was caress his team to victory. And this time, for once, England did not drop him since he hardly made a mistake. He was accompanied in an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 172 by the tourists' captain, A B De Villiers, making his first international fifty of the tour. It was a case of the senior men allaying worry, being perfectly clear-eyed about their objective.

Although South Africa deserved their win, it has been a dull old series. Not all one-day matches need to be close to make the format enthralling but it does not half help if some go to the wire.

There was no suspicion of what was to come when Alastair Cook and Ian Bell began assertively for England, each striking boundaries to ease into the twenties by the fourth over. At that stage it seemed that they would meet the requirements of the pitch. But the place was too soon littered with inexplicable lapses. Bell started the rot by propping forward to his 11th ball and somehow missing it. If that was a mystery so was his decision to use England's only referral to review the decision. The ball was cannoning into the leg stump.

De Villiers' decision to open with Peterson's slow stuff was a sound ploy. It meant not only that Bell had no pace to work with early on but also brought the keeper up to the stumps so that the batsman could not charge down the pitch as Bell has been wont to do since he resumed opening the innings.

Three balls later England were two down, the hapless Ravi Bopara poking at a ball from the excellent Dale Steyn outside the off-stump. Bopara was promoted to No 3 in the order in place of the injured Jonathan Trott, whose injured hand will keep him out for the rest of the season. Yet Bopara's form is so obviously poor that it was a huge gamble destined to fail. It did not prevent England launching a partial recovery. Cook and Jonny Bairstow played neatly and confidently.

But Bairstow flicked to deep mid-wicket to end the stand on 55 and when Eoin Morgan holed out second ball it was Cook or nothing. It was the latter as Cook tamely chipped back Faf du Plessis's second ball of the series, a low full toss.

Although Chris Woakes, replacing Steve Finn, played sensibly no one else did. England had already ensured they could not lose the series by winning at Lord's on Sunday and will retain their mysterious No 1 spot in the ICC world rankings until January at least. This performance made the bestowal of that status more befuddling. Flower may never dare leave his charges alone again.

Trent Bridge scoreboard

Fifth One-Day International, Trent Bridge: South Africa beat England by seven wickets; England won toss

England

Runs/6s/4s/Bls/Min

*A N Cook c & b du Plessis 51/0/6/72/108

I R Bell lbw b Peterson 10/0/2/11/15

R S Bopara c de Villiers b Steyn 0/0/0/2/0

J M Bairstow c Ontong b Morkel 29/0/4/52/61

E J G Morgan c Amla b Duminy 0/0/0/2/0

†C Kieswetter c Amla b Morkel 33/0/3/53/74

S R Patel c de Villiers b Steyn 9/0/1/13/22

C R Woakes not out 33/0/3/44/63

J C Tredwell b Peterson 6/0/0/19/21

J M Anderson c Morkel b Peterson 0/0/0/1/0

J W Dernbach c de Villiers b Parnell 2/0/0/6/8

Extras (lb3 w3 nb3) 9

Total (45.2 overs) 182

Fall 1-23, 2-24, 3-79, 4-82, 5-99, 6-124, 7-156, 8-175, 9-175.

Bowling D W Steyn 9-2-24-2, R J Peterson 10-0-37-3, M Morkel 8-0-41-2, W D Parnell 8.2-0-38-1, D Elgar 4-0-20-0, J P Duminy 4-0-11-1, F du Plessis 2-0-8-1.

South Africa

Runs/6s/4s/Bls/Min

H M Amla not out 97/1/9/107/123

G C Smith c Tredwell b Dernbach 1/0/0/6/0

F du Plessis c Kieswetter b Anderson 3/0/0/5/3

D Elgar c Kieswetter b Anderson 1/0/0/10/1

*†A B de Villiers not out 75/0/10/79/115

Extras (lb1 w8) 9

Total (for 3, 34.3 overs) 186

Fall 1-8, 2-11, 3-14.

Did not bat J P Duminy, W D Parnell, J L Ontong, R J Peterson, D W Steyn, M Morkel.

Bowling J M Anderson 9-2-41-2, J W Dernbach 7.3-0-56-1, C R Woakes 6-0-35-0, J C Tredwell 6-0-30-0, S R Patel 2-0-11-0, R S Bopara 4-0-12-0.

Umpires H D P K Dharmasena (S Lanka) and R K Illingworth.

Five-match series was drawn 2-2.

Series in figures

23 Number of boundaries hit by Ian Bell in the series.

181 Runs by Ian Bell, the most for an Englishman.

5.50 Ravi Bopara's batting average for the series, hitting 22 runs.

51 Captain Alastair Cook's highest score of the series.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments