By Will Macpherson, at Diamond Oval, Kimberley
No sight could cheer followers of English fans like that of Jofra Archer walking from the field, wearing a beaming grin, with the ball in raised right hand, celebrating his match-winning, hair-raising and career-best ODI haul of six wickets for 40 runs.
After magnificent centuries for Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan, Archer ensured England’s five-match losing streak did not extend to six.
The pace bowler had taken just one game to hit his straps after 22 months of stress fractures of the elbow and back. On Friday in Bloemfontein, coming to a 50-over match on the back of just five T20s, Archer recorded his most expensive ODI figures. He did not bowl as badly as that analysis suggested, but was clearly operating within himself.
Rested on Sunday, he looked a different bowler here: the handbrake was off, and he slipped through the gears. The result was his best international figures, six for 40, in a 59-run win. For much of South Africa’s pursuit of 347, an England win did not appear certain. In fact, it only felt certain when Archer had the ball in his hand. Every time Buttler turned to him, he found the vital wicket. It was almost like 2019 all over again, just with a new captain.
“Some days everything you touch turns to gold and today was mine,” said Archer. “I don’t think I bowled badly in the first game, they batted well. They batted well again today, even though they fell short.
“Being back after however long, it’s kind of surreal. You only get that feeling after you start playing. It’s definitely gone up a few notches.
“It's good being back, but this is just a long road, this is a small tick but I want to see how I am in April, June, July and September. This is just the start of the road."
At the start of the year that sees England defend the World Cup they won in 2019, would they, and especially Buttler, have accepted a 2-1 defeat in an entertaining series that saw Archer look so accomplished, so soon? Almost certainly. Especially as there were centuries for Jason Roy in the first game and Dawid Malan in the third, alongside Buttler’s own.
It had been a special effort from Malan and Buttler to keep England in this third match, having come together at 14 for three with Lungi Ngidi taking advantage of another helpful toss win from Temba Bavuma. They shared England’s highest fourth-wicket partnership in ODIs, 232 from 211 balls, to set up a remarkable recovery that Archer finished off.
This was the first time in Archer’s ODI career that he had not taken the new ball, with the slower, swingier Chris Woakes and Reece Topley sharing that honour. He instantly looked a different bowler, gliding in confidently. In his second over, he topped 90mph for the first time in the series, and in his third, he picked up Rassie van der Dussen, the metronomic ODI runscorer.
Two down! 2️⃣
Jofra Archer strikes and Rassie van der Dussen is out 💥 pic.twitter.com/Sor5ZFxVRq
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) February 1, 2023
As South Africa always have in this series, they simply found a partnership when they looked behind in the game. Archer was given a break but, in the middle overs, he was recalled. In his first over back, he dismissed Aiden Markram, and in his second David Miller, gutting South Africa’s hopes.
Once more, they rebuilt, with Heinrich Klaasen superb. Again, Buttler turned to Archer, with South Africa needing just 73 from 66 balls. Again, he delivered, with the wickets of Klaasen, his partner Wayne Parnell, and last man Tabraiz Shamsi.
“The overs I bowled in this game aren't the overs I usually bowl,” he said. "When you're bowling that role, it's similar to what [Liam] Plunkett used to do, I just bowl the same thing, I actually quite like it, forget about opening the bowling! It’s the first time I've done it, it's not a bad gig.”
When it was all done, Archer felt he could have bowled another 10 overs. “I knew I could do it,” he said. “It’s probably the medical team that were panicking! I did all the work I needed to do off the field so I never had any doubts on the field.”
There had been no smiles when Buttler wandered to the crease just 5.4 overs into the match. Only once has he come to the crease earlier in an ODI (and he made a duck then), and never has he faced more balls, 131, in the format. He spent 13 balls on nought and remained the picture of orthodoxy, eschewing his ramps and scoops. He left the fancy stuff to Moeen Ali, who looked rather silly when failing to connect with a one-handed reverse-swipe in a handy cameo at the death.
Buttler and Malan are England’s only two men’s cricketers to make a century in all three international formats, and their range was on full display here. Malan’s was a more lop-sided innings, carefully scratchy in reaching a 79-ball 50, before the foot hit the floor. He finished with six sixes, all of them handsome and beautifully timed.
To reach 346, England had to accelerate in spectacular fashion. They had 20 runs on the board after 10 overs, and 129 after 30. With Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and who knows who else to come into this side before the World Cup, they will threaten – not least if Archer and Buttler perform like this.
South Africa vs England, third ODI: as it happened
Jos Buttler speaks
Nice for us to finish with a win today. Bar 10 or 15 overs in the first game we played some brilliant cricket in a hard-fought series. Congratulations to South Africa. We both wanted to bowl first and it wasn't straightforward at the top of the innings, so it was a fantastic effort. We spoke about building a partnership, knowing it would get easier.
We've made some really good strides. Guys making hundreds is excellent, Jofra Archer's performance tonight was excellent and deserving of this man of the match award [given to Buttler]. He broke the game open with the wicket of Klaasen. We have a strong squad bar recent results and [I'm confident] we're building nicely.
England win by 59 runs
They may have been reliant on their three superstar players – Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Adil Rashid – but there was an excellent contribution from Dawid Malan and Moeen Ali upped the ante with the bat. But the seam bowling is still a concern. Nonetheless, stopping the rot after five straight defeats and with the prospect of Bairstow, Root, Wood, Livingstone and, hopefully, Stokes, to come, they can go to the World Cup with confidence despite recent results.
Shamsi b Archer 1 Fast and straight. Too good for No11. Archer knocks back off stump and ends the match with career best 9.1-1-40-6. England win by 59 runs.
OVER 43: SA 287/9 (Ngidi 5 Shamsi 1) chasing 347
Topley returns for a third spell and concedes two singles and a four. The thing about Topley is you know he'll work his socks off to find his rhythm and once he does he will be the formidable bowler he always has been in an England shirt rather than this version, the one Ngidi slogs to cow corner.
OVER 42: SA 281/9 (Ngidi 0 Shamsi 0) chasing 347
Archer dismisses Parnell with his first ball and completes a wicket maiden to Shamsi who blocks the straight, full ones and swishes at the wider ones.
Archer has figures of 9-1-40-5.
Rashid ended with 10-0-68-3.
Archer b Parnell 34 He's back! With a maiden ODI five-for. Cramping the right-hander from round the wicket he demolishes off and middle when Parnell tried to give it the old heave-ho to cow corner. FOW 281/8
OVER 41: SA 281/8 (Parnell 34 Ngidi 0) chasing 347
Rashid joins Archer as England's bowling enforcers by tying up Magala and then nicking him off with one tossed above his eyes.
Magala c Buttler b Rashid 2 Tried to swipe the leg break over midwicket and nicks off to Buttler. FOW 281/8
Did too much. Missing leg stump though it pitched on off.
Magala lbw b Rashid Pinned by the googly. Looked good to me.
OVER 40: SA 279/7 (Parnell 33 Magala 1) chasing 347
Archer comes back and completes the mission his captain delegated to him, taking a fourth wicket for the first time in ODIs,ending the partnership at 85 off 53. Archer ends that over with 8-0-40-4
Klaasen c Duckett b Archer 80 Jofra does the job for his captain, tempting Klaasen with a slower bouncer and enticing him to take on the longest boundary. And he holes out. Another good catch. FOW 278/7
OVER 39: SA 274/6 (Klaasen 77 Parnell 32) chasing 347
Buttler turns to Rashid, not Archer and, after two dot balls, turns a leg-stump leg-break past Parnell's pads for three wides. He is bowling well on a helpful surface but Klaasen is irrepressible, stepping across to slog a leg-break over midwicket for six. He played late, having waited for it.
Time for an England conference. Klaasen necks a brown drink while they find a replacement ball.
Klaasen cuts a single down to the cover sweepere and then Parnell ends the over with a skip down and lofted drive for another six! South Africa have well and truly seized the initiative.
Right ... here's Archer.
OVER 38: SA 257/6 (Klaasen 70 Parnell 25) chasing 347
Another nipper is unfolding here. Curran keeps coming round the wicket to Klaasen, trying to bang the ball in at shoulder height and he gets away with conceding five singles but then goes for the yorker, doesn't land it and Klaasen rifles a drive for four.
OVER 37: SA 248/6 (Klaasen 64 Parnell 22) chasing 347
Moeen replaces Woakes. Klaasen chips it down the ground. Curran drags it back from the foam toblerone behind the bowler but it has juts kissed it.
Bringing back Moeen backfires when Klaasen slog sweeps for four more then backs away to swat six over long off. Moeen ends the over with two dots but his figures are 2-0-29-0.
SA need 99 off 82. England desperately need a wicket. Give Jofra a one-over spell. Don't worry about the death overs just yet. You might not get there.
OVER 36: SA 234/6 (Klaasen 50 Parnell 22) chasing 347
Curran returns and shows off his smarts as the most valuable overseas IPL player with cutters and that back of a length line from round the wicker. Three of the five singles are gleaned by Klaasen to take him to a 48-ball fifty.
SA need 113 from 84.
OVER 35: SA 229/6 (Klaasen 47 Parnell 20) chasing 347
Parnell carves two twice in four balls down to third man and Woakes and Buttler move the fielder a bit squarer. The next ball kisses the edge and scoots for four, giving Archer no chance to save it in his new position. Woakes curses his lousy luck.
The first drinks break brought England a vital wicket. The second presaged 31 runs off 18 balls for SA.
Will Macpherson on England's brightest spark
It is fantastic to see Archer bowl like this. He got through on Friday, but this is at least two gears up. He's also taken three very big wickets: Rassie, Markram, and Miller. Priceless.
OVER 34: SA 220/6 (Klaasen 47 Parnell 12) chasing 347
Parnell lined up Topley in that over before the drinks and hangs back for the short ball, pulling it with a butcher's severity for four. After exchanging singles, Parnell does it again. Apart from Rashid, Archer and an over or two from Woakes and Curran, England's bowling hasn't been up to snuff tonight. Chuck Olly Stone into the positive side of the ledger and that would sum up the series.
OVER 33: SA 209/6 (Klaasen 44 Parnell 3) chasing 347
Klaasen greets Woakes' return with an assault when England's venerable white-ball opening bowler drags his length back. Klaasen pulls them contemptuously with blistering power for a pair of fours. The crowd, or some of it, breaks out into the South African national anthem.
OVER 32: SA 198/6 (Klaasen 34 Parnell 2) chasing 347
Topley, who has taken a lot of tap, is smuggled back for a spell and repays his captain's faith with a much tighter line and a shorter length, conceding merely three singles and a leg-bye. On come the last drinks of the series.
SA need 149 off 108 balls.
OVER 31: SA 194/6 (Klaasen 32 Parnell 1) chasing 347
If England are to defend their world title belt, they are going to need Archer and Rashid, their two best bowlers, at their best. And both are contributing something approaching their best today.
Jansen c Buttler b Rashid 12 Jansen has been walking across the stumps to sweep and the ball before he underedged it between Buttler's legs for four. So Rashid tossed a leg-break higher and wider. Jansen went for the same shot and cue-ended it to the keeper. Just the faintest of edges underneath the toe. But enough. Smart catch. FOW 193/6
OVER 30: SA 188/5 (Klaasen 31 Jansen 8) chasing 347
Archer looks as smooth as he did at his 2019 peak, gliding in, the arm speed keeping the ball in the low nineties, the bouncer too fast for Klaasen's pull. Klaasen cuffs a single behind square on the legside and another down to third man, the same spot as Jansen found to score his solitary run of the over.
OVER 29: SA 185/5 (Klaasen 29 Jansen 7) chasing 347
Duckett slides to claw a ball back from the boundary but his momentum and an unfortunate bounce off his arm means it touches the line as he slides past it. Four runs then, off Jansens reverse sweep. Earlier in the over the returning Rashid had been collared for two by the same batsman with the same stroke but then twice beats him with the googly.
OVER 28: SA 176/5 (Klaasen 28 Jansen 1) chasing 347
Archer is bowling like the wind now and, after dismissing Miller, ought to have bagged Jansen second ball with a 92mph lifter. Jansen leans out of the way then fences at it. The ball loops towards slip. Moeen drops to his right to gather but can't get his hands under it. The ball dipped but it was catchable.
What a terrific over, Genuine encouraging sings that Archer can scale the summit again in white-ball cricket.
Miller c Buttler b Archer 13 Fantastic bowling, back of a length, 90mph, veering in from round the wicket to the left hander who tried to tuck it round the corner but feathers an edge through to the keeper. FOW 174/5
OVER 27: SA 174/4 (Klaasen 27 Miller 13) chasing 347
Moeen is brought on in a calculated gamble against Miller and the left-hander breaks the bank with a glorious cover drive from under his nose and a stonking six, eased with impeccable timing back over the bowler's head for six.
OVER 26: SA 159/4 (Klaasen 24 Miller 1) chasing 347
Double change: Archer returns and breaks the stand. Markram had stepped away to try to collar it. KP reckons it was 3cm away from being smashed out of the ground ... but that's the virtue of Archer's pace who flashes us the broadest smile of his comeback to date.
Markram c Moeen b Archer 39 Good take but Markram gives it away after a good start again, toeing a midwicket heave straight up. The ball swirls in the setting sun and Moeen completes a very good catch with so much glare in his eyes. FOW 158/4
🗣️ "That's going to take some catching"
Moeen Ali 👏 pic.twitter.com/hO5TSMZEaN
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) February 1, 2023
OVER 25: SA 156/3 (Markram 38 Klaasen 23) chasing 347
Reece Topley, who needs overs in his legs and some rhythm after his injury at the World T20 in October, reappears and disappears for six over long on when Markram clears the left leg to give a length ball some T20 humpty. The rest of the over is respectable enough but southern hemisphere pitches are notoriously unforgiving to errors.
OVER 24: SA 147/3 (Markram 30 Klaasen 22) chasing 347
As the sun sets, South Africa deal in singles off Curran until Klaasen picks the slower ball bouncer delivered from the back of the hand, waits for it and clobbers it through midwicket for four.
Not gonna get excited yet, cause we’re a long way out, but if our boys chase this down tonight I might have to celebrate appropriately!
— AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17) February 1, 2023
OVER 23: SA 139/3 (Markram 28 Klaasen 17) chasing 347
Markram drives Rashid for two, bending the back knee and looking a million dollars. Rashid then tempts him to sweep with flight but beats him with the dip and the ball burrows beneath the bat as he whipped it round. Four singles are also added to the score. Rashid has 6-0-34-1. Can't risk Moeen on here, one fears, even to a left-hander ... when the left-hander is Miller.
OVER 22: SA 133/3 (Markram 24 Klaasen 15) chasing 347
Curran takes the pace off his bouncer twice this over. Klaasen cuts one of them for two but Curran gets the second one all wrong and it balloons wide. The right-handers ease a couple of drives for singles through mid-off and Klaasen ends the over swiping a single down to long on.
OVER 21: SA 127/3 (Markram 23 Klaasen 11) chasing 347
Rashid is ripping it but Klaasen is a good player of spin, slog sweeping him for four, cutting for two with the turn and slicing a single. Markram isn't such a good reader and is beaten by the googly but his hoick lands safe.
OVER 20: SA 118/3 (Markram 22 Klaasen 3) chasing 347
Curran comes round the wicket to Klaasen, ratcheting his pace up and down within the 70-80mph bracket. Klaases pulls for a single and jams out the yorker for another. Markram commits to the drive but doesn't find the meat, skewering it off a thickish edge through mid-on.
OVER 19: SA 115/3 (Markram 21 Klaasen 1) chasing 347
Rashid works his magic once again ... as does the drinks break.
Hendricks b Rashid 52 Talk about a fluke. Well, maybe not a fluke as he gave it a rip but a very unusual dismissal. A big leg-break but pitching outside leg, it turned back towards the stumps, partially nutmegged Hendricks, crashed into his left knee and careered into leg stump. FOW 113/3
"Somehow that has found it's way onto the stumps" 🤯 pic.twitter.com/dqswVcamvi
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) February 1, 2023
Will Macpherson reports from Kimberley
Buttler's been in attacking mood in the field, getting Rashid into the attack early. They have struggled to take early wickets in this series, and this is his solution. Needs it to come good soon, as Reeza Hendricks is playing nicely now in his home town.
OVER 18: SA 110/2 (Hendricks 51 Markram 18) chasing 347
Curran slants the outswinger across Hendricks except it doesn't shape back in and the right-hander reaches over to square drive it for four behind point. Having nurdled a single into the inside ring to bring up his fifty, Hendricks watches from the other end as Markram pivots to pull the Sidenottom slow bouncer for six! Curran is a bit of a honey badger when he's been hit. Sparks ahoy!
Time for drinks.
OVER 17: SA 96/2 (Hendricks 45 Markram 10) chasing 347
Hendricks fiddles a single past the bowler off the back foot. Markram takes on the big leg-break and scuffs it over cover without getting hold of it for one and then they hare two to the cover sweeper, laughing uproariously when beating the throw. It was tighter than either had anticipated.
OVER 16: SA 92/2 (Hendricks 42 Markram 9) chasing 347
Sam Curran replaces Archer, scurrying in and varying his pace and lengths, harrying the batsmen, threatening the splice and the outside edge with outswingers. They take advantage of the gaps in the infield to angle five singles out to the sweepers.
OVER 15: SA 87/2 (Hendricks 39 Markram 7) chasing 347
Excellent start from Rashid but one was a bit too loopy and Hendricks launches it over cover for four. A touch overpitched too. But he gets one to grip and rip again and Hendrick nicks it just wide of the sprawling Moeen at slip for a well-run two.
OVER 14: SA 79/2 (Hendricks 32 Markram 6) chasing 347
Couple of cracking strokes from Hendricks off Archer, the first off the knuckle ball, which he picked and pummelled back past the bowler on the drive, the second off the bumper, pulled witheringly in front of square.
OVER 13: SA 68/2 (Hendricks 22 Markram 5) chasing 347
Rashid comes on and turns his leg-break square. bringing slip into play. Twice the ball drops short of the catcher and twice more it rips past the edge. Looks like he's setting the right-handers up for the googly but holds it back for now.
OVER 12: SA 66/2 (Hendricks 21 Markram 4) chasing 347
After bagging the wicket of Van der Dussen, Archer cranks it up to 91mph and bangs it in, striking the ducking Markram on the shoulder. But the classy right-hander then plays a glorious, Ponting-esque on-drive for four, the ball after being shaken by the bouncer. Proper stones.
Van der Dussen c Roy b Archer 5 The quick uses width to invite that forcing back foot shot that is fraught with risk off a bowler of Archer's pace and nip. As the ball seams away it takes the edge and flies low to Roy at backward point and he takes a good catch diving forward and low. FOW 62/2
OVER 11: SA 60/1 (Hendricks 20 Van der Dussen 4) chasing 347
Woakes has found his rhythm now, running in and hitting that inbetween length and disguising his slower ball well to muck with their timing. Van der Dussen works three singles, Hendricks two.
OVER 10: SA 55/1 (Hendricks 18 Van der Dussen 1) chasing 347
Just two singles off Archer's first five balls as he probes away with a fuller length than the previous over, Van der Dussen getting off the mark with a pat to mid-off. But as soon as Archer loses his line and hangs one outside off Hendricks slugs it through point for four.
OVER 9: SA 49/1 (Hendricks 13 Van der Dussen 0) chasing 347
Good work from Woakes, making this critics eat his words. He adds some nip and bounce when he gets into his rhythm and it earns him his reward.
Bavuma c Topley b Woakes 35 Ha! Bakes me a cake. After a very good over, hitting the pitch hard and trying to hit the top of off, Woakes slides his fingers down one side of the ball to take the pace off and Bavuma spoons it to mid-off. FOW 49/1
OVER 8: SA 45/0 (Bavuma 32 Hendricks 12) chasing 347
No doubt South Africa have had the better of the bowling conditions after winning all three tosses but England's opening bowlers look as if they would be pretty pat-a-cake on any pitch even with a bit of juice in it after their long lay-offs.
Here's Archer, who has never played Bakerman. Hendricks pulls him for two and then plinks a pull short of square leg for a single.
The Mo of invention
OVER 7: SA 41/0 (Bavuma 31 Hendricks 9) chasing 347
Hendricks rams a back-foot drive for four through cover off Woakes. After stealing a single to mid-on, Bavuma gets on strike and gorges on Woakes' mistake when he overpitches his slower ball and screws it through cover for four. Bavuma is having a dream series. Reminds me of George Bailey in that England think they've got the measure of him, perhaps don't rate him and yet he keeps scoring against them.
OVER 6: SA 32/0 (Bavuma 27 Hendricks 4) chasing 347
Bavuma dabs a single to third man as does Hendricks, the latter after flipping Topley for two off his toes. Topley slants one across Bavuma who gets his nose over it and creams it for four through cover. He's in sublime nick and looks as if his lack of inches will mitigate Archer giving him a working over.
OVER 5: SA 24/0 (Bavuma 22 Hendricks 1) chasing 347
Woakes drags it back with a maiden to Hendricks who is a fine player but only juts back in the side after being unjustly dropped. He may well think he has to make the most of this rare chance and consequently might take some time to get going.
OVER 4: SA 24/0 (Bavuma 22 Hendricks 1) chasing 347
Hendricks gets off the mark with a flick off his bootlaces for a single and Bavuma hits his third boundary by lacing Topley's good length ball through cover for four. Striving for the yorker, Topley serves up a low fill toss and Bavuma harpoons it through mid-off for four. What an innings this has been for the SA captain.
OVER 3: SA 15/0 (Bavuma 14 Hendricks 0) chasing 347
After three dot balls from Woakes in the corridor, probing and interrogating Bavuma's edge, he drops short and the Saffer skipper rocks back to pull it for six over midwicket, up and over. Woakes overcorrects with a half-volley pie on Bavuma's toes which he cuffs with a twist of the wrist all along the ground for four through midwicket.
OVER 2: SA 5/0 (Bavuma 4 Hendricks 0) chasing 347
Reece Topley takes t'other new ball and he looks far more fluent in his second game back from injury, understandably. Fast, full and encouraging inswing to the right-handers. A single and a wide are the only blemishes.
Jofra Archer diving full length head first over the boundary to save a single. No thank you.
— Dave Tickner (@tickerscricket) February 1, 2023
OVER 1: SA 3/0 (Bavuma 3 Hendricks 0) chasing 347
Bavuma eases forward to drive three through mid-off. Archer claws it back from the rope and takes a heavy fall, mercifully without injury as he lands on his right arm. Woakes beats Hendricks twice outside off with some shape away from the right-hander who gets bat on his fourth ball, blocking it back up the pitch.
The teams are out
Chris Woakes has the new ball.
What a remarkable comeback from England from 14 for three. Two superb innings from Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler who played with patience and diligence to build a platform from which they could explode into attack with customary panache and power. Great cameo from Moeen and useful team-first contributions from Nos 7, 8 and 9 too.
We'll return for SA's reply, chasing 347 to win, in about 15 minutes.
OVER 50: ENG 346/7 (Woakes 9 Rashid 11)
Rashid starts the last over with England's 19th six, helping the attempted cutter that squirted out of his hand for six round the corner. Should have been called no-ball and England awarded a free-hit but Marais Erasmus deems it legal. Rashid works a low full toss through midwicket for a single and Woakes drags two to the midwicket boundary.
Woakes chisels out Magala's yorker for a hard-run two and they sprint a bye off the penultimate ball when Woakes swings and misses.
Rashid rounds off the innings with two to midwicket after a fumble from Klaasen when going for an easy run out.
OVER 49: ENG 332/7 (Woakes 5 Rashid 2)
Ngidi trims the tramlines and England trade singles off each of the first four balls, Rashid and Woakes using their wrists. Taking the pace off earns Ngidi a dot ball before Woakes works two off his legs to end Ngidi's stint with 10-0-62-4.
OVER 48: ENG 326/7 (Woakes 1 Rashid 0)
Woakes gets off the mark with a tight single to Bavuma at mid-off, beating the throw. Curran hauls the cutter over mid-off for six, smites two twos then loses his off-stump to leave Jansen with 10-0-53-2.
Curran b Jansen 11 Fast and straight. Curran stepped away to le to open up the area behind point but couldn't get his bat down in time to clip it. FOW 326/7
Buttler c Markram b Moeen 131 The yorker reaps dividends again. Buttler did his best by breaking his wrsits on his hockey swing to get under it but couldn't quite manage it and ladled it to long-on. FOW 315/5
OVER 47: ENG 315/5 (Buttler 131 Curran 1)
Yorkers are still the best death weapon as Nigidi belatedly shows after losing his shape but pulling back from the brink after leaking 14 off his first three balls. Moeen departs with a 23-ball 41. He's more a flayer than a finisher.
Moeen b Ngidi 41 Ngidi falls apart with a couple of no balls, the first of which Moeen sent soaring over midwicket for six. Next up Moeen pulls the free-hit for another. After the second no-ball, Moeen is bowled by the second free hit and then Ngidi brings it all back with a yorker that cleans him up. FOW 313/5
OVER 46: ENG 299/4 (Buttler 130 Moeen 29)
Buttler rides his luck and piles more anguish on the South Africa fielders when he top edges a pull that bisects midwicket and square leg. They sprint like billy-o but can't get there and Buttler smiles as he completes a single. But it's a good over all the same from Jansen, only four coming from it.
OVER 45: ENG 295/4 (Buttler 128 Moeen 27)
Amusingly Parnell screams 'Catch!, Catch! Catch! Pleeeease!' when Buttler chips a drive off his bowling well short of long off and runs a single. How they would love to see the back of him. But not yet ... nor Moeen when Parnell ends the over with a full toss and Moeen pans it over deep backward square for six.
They've still got five overs left, having been 40 for three after 16.
OVER 44: ENG 285/4 (Buttler 127 Moeen 19)
Bavuma's gamble on Shamsi backfires. Buttler deposits the drag-down over square leg for six then drills a single. Moeen tries a one-handed slog reverse/switch sweep when his top hand is taken off the bat, the type of one-handed stroke not seen since Malcolm Marshall at Headingley 1984, but fails, unsurprisingly, to get hold of it.
He does collar the next one, though, sending a back-foot slog over midwicket for six.
Will Macpherson reports from Kimberley
Real statement innings from Malan. England are look for left-handers at the World Cup, and he has put his hand up for a position anywhere in the top three. With Curran and Woakes to come, we are at the "everything must go" phase of the innings.
OVER 43: ENG 269/4 (Buttler 120 Moeen 11)
Parnell goes too full to Buttler and he clears the left leg to lance it over mid-on for six. The left-armer digs the next one in, hitting Buttler in the rubs as he shaped to pull. That hurt but he still hobbles a leg-bye. Parnell serves Moeen up a good length ball on his pads and the left-hander wristily whips it square for four.
OVER 42: ENG 255/4 (Buttler 112 Moeen 6)
Poor old Reeza Hendricks spills another hard chance when Shamsi comes back into the attack. Moeen tried to cut but shovelled it in front of square. Hendricks backpedalled, leapt but the ball smacked into his palm as he started falling backwards and fell to earth. Decent over from Shamsi, though, with good turn.
OVER 41: ENG 250/4 (Buttler 110 Moeen 4)
As KP says, Buttler has a couple of shots that look like a golfer driving and he unfurls one of them here, thumping Magala over long on for six! When Malan holes out, the stand, which began at 14 for three ends after putting on 232 with grit, skill and, later, adventure.
Enter Moeen and he uses the width to flash at his first ball, nicking it semi-deliberately for four through second slip.
Malan c Klaasen b Magala 118 Went for midwicket again with one in the slot but it was the slower ball and he was on to it too early. It cloths off a leading edge to short third and the keeper ran round to pouch it. FOW 246/4
OVER 40: ENG 239/3 (Malan 118 Buttler 103)
Ngidi drops short and Malan pans a pull over long on for six. After a no-ball Malan misses out on the free hit, taking only a single to long on but following two more singles and a wide, Malan tees off again, whacking one out of the slot for six more over midwicket, scattering the denizens of the beer tents. The ball smashes off the canopy. After a long chat with his captain, Ngidi who had three for eight off his first four, holds them down to two singles.
OVER 39: ENG 221/3 (Malan 104 Buttler 101)
Whose century first? Both go to 99 with singles, Malan's to long-on off Magala, Buttler's, to bring up the double-century partnership through mid-off.
And then Malan chops a short ball with a vertical bat for four to bring up his hundred! That's three hundreds in his 15 ODIs.
Malan gives Buttler the stroke with a tuck off his hips and then Buttler joins him on three figures with a flick through midwicket for two.
OVER 38: ENG 212/3 (Malan 98 Buttler 98)
Malan dabs a single down to third man, Buttler joins him on 96 in the nip and tuck race for three figures, with a carve behind point for two. Buttler steers a ramp down to third for a single and Malan joins him on 97 with another back-foot glide off Ngidi for a single.
Buttler pulls an offside bumper but it comes off the bottom edge for a single and Malan nicks the strike with a midwicket flick. Ninety-eight each.
Will Macpherson writes
England really on the charge – a superb fightback. However, South Africa have burgled their way through their spinners' 10 overs on a small ground with a howling gale. Might be tougher again from here.
OVER 37: ENG 205/3 (Malan 95 Buttler 94)
Magala returns and adds some slower cutters to his repertoire as well as yorkers, forcing England to susbsist on singles for five balls as he gives them no opportunity to use their upper-arm strength. After that good start, his third legside wide gives Buttler an extra ball and he goes for the yorker, doesn't pitch it and Buttler flays the low full toss through cover for four.
OVER 36: ENG 195/3 (Malan 92 Buttler 88)
Jansen whistles one past the shoulder of Buttler's bat when he tries to force a drive through cover but the England captain connects with his next attempt lacing it for two more. Malan times the pants off a cover drive but it brings him only a single after a terrific stop.
OVER 35: ENG 190/3 (Malan 90 Buttler 85)
Markram continues and does pretty well for five deliveries then drags the last ball short and Buttler, a proverbial rat up a drainpipe, pivots and pulls it for four. South Africa has lost control. Buttler and Malan show the benefit of their diligent and patient batting for the first 15 overs of their partnership.
OVER 34: ENG 181/3 (Malan 88 Buttler 78)
Malan hangs back for Jansen and pulls him for six over midwicket. The next ball bounces higher and is thumped on the pull for four. The third ball in this sequence is back of a length outside off and Malan carts it to cow corner for six more. 6-4-6. Malan has 40 off the last 14 balls he's faced.
OVER 33: ENG 163/3 (Malan 71 Buttler 77)
Big turn for Markram from round the wicket to Buttler, the ball spitting off a length and copping the England captain in the midriff when he shaped to pull the massive off-break. After Buttler works a single Malan walks down to the offie and slaps a cut straight through cover for four straight through the gap Bavuma had juts created by moving himself squarer for Malan.
OVER 32: ENG 157/3 (Malan 66 Buttler 76)
Popeye the sailor Malan has had a can of spinach at drinks and opens his stance to plonk Shamsi over long on with a steepling six. That went miles. Malan works a tight single off his legs and Buttler joins the (Watney's) party six with a screaming lofted drive wide of long on for another maximum. Shamsi needs to bowl it into the pitch rather than flight it so much.
OVER 31: ENG 141/3 (Malan 58 Buttler 68)
Having been reprieved by Shamsi, Malan fillets Parnell, sweeping his first ball for six over deep backward square and then, after a couple of singles, slaps a cut with a bat halfway between horizontal and vertical, the little hand at about half past four on the dial, for four.
More drinkies, as Jim Hacker liked to call them.
OVER 30: ENG 129/3 (Malan 47 Buttler 67)
Malan is given a life when Shamsi spills a return catch. Malan misread the leg-break for the googly, closed the face and popped it back towards the bowler who should have held on.
OVER 29: ENG 127/3 (Malan 46 Buttler 66)
Parnell is bowling well to Buttler, angling it across him on a good length and targeting both edges. Malan, too, as the final ball shows when the tall lefty Harrow drives for four jammily. Parnell screeches his grievances.
OVER 28: ENG 120/3 (Malan 41 Buttler 64)
After three singles, Jos Buttler brings up the hundred partnership for the fourth wicket with a monster of a six over wide long on, bringing the bat through the arc so effortlessly that it looked like an old flicker batting manual. Not that those shots were in the manual.
OVER 27: ENG 110/3 (Malan 39 Buttler 56)
Parnell returns and keeps applying the squeeze as Malan continues to labour with his offside strokes. He takes two singles, Buttler one to take the partnership to 96.
Hadn't realised, as MCJ Nicholas points out, that you can't run a buzzer for a direct hit on the stumps in the SA20. If the wicket is broken and the batsman has made his ground, he can't take an overthrow for the diversion to encourage more attempts at run outs. I'm all for it. It's a batsman's game, why not give a carrot to fielders?
OVER 26: ENG 107/3 (Malan 37 Buttler 55)
Shamsi gets his line wrong and lets Buttler hang on the back foot to tickle four fine off his pads, using the scalpel rather than his blunderbuss. What's so impressive about this innings was the way he started, far more Collingwood than KP in his approach. A man for all seasons.
OVER 25: ENG 102/3 (Malan 36 Buttler 51)
KP is a great analyst of batting and a generally perceptive commentator. But the golf talk strays too close to Warne territory, like MP Vaughan and the football club flags. Three singles and a wide leave Magala's figures at 5-0-33-0.
OVER 24: ENG 98/3 (Malan 34 Buttler 50)
Fifty for Jos Buttler, waiting for the left-arm wrist-spinner's orthodox delivery on the back foot and cuffing round the corner for a single. It's his 24th ODI fifty to go with his 10 centuries. Shamsi gets one to rag the other way to the left-handed Malan and misses the shoulder of the bat by a gnat's but Malan is not frustrated and calmly presses the next ball out to point for a single. Earlier in the innings he berated himself when beaten by one.
5️⃣0️⃣ for Jos Buttler
A 24th ODI half-century ✅✨ pic.twitter.com/JiwmuQDTbv
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) February 1, 2023
OVER 23: ENG 95/3 (Malan 32 Buttler 49)
Lovely shot from Buttler, whisking a good length ball off middle through midwicket for four with perfect timing. He can be a brutal executioner, sometimes surgical and clinical but also delicate and elegant. Magala is driven for a single, Malan steers one off the back foot down to third man and Buttler uses Magala's angle from wide on the crease to work two more down to midwicket. Two more singles complete the over. After a spluttering start, the engine is running smoothly now.
OVER 22: ENG 85/3 (Malan 30 Buttler 40)
Shamsi replaces Markram and elicits a chance when Malan pulls a shortish ball turning away from him. Hendricks dives at shortish midwicket and it bursts through his fingers. They run two off the drop but one can feel sympathy for Hendricks as he has to go off because it stung. Either split webbing or a problem with the top knuckle probably.
OVER 21: ENG 81/3 (Malan 27 Buttler 39)
Malan has got himself going now and presses four through cover off Magala, finding the skiddy style of the right-arm bustler easier to time than Ngidi's bounce and nibble and Jansen's bounce and shape. Buttler started the over with a top edge for two as he tried to dink a sweep fine plus a single flicked through midwicket.
Will Macpherson reports, pooh-poohing jinxing conventions
Starting to feel like a comeback from England, with Malan and Buttler sharing fifty. They have all the time in the world, and are playing nicely. The pitch isn't that straightforward but feels like it will only get easier from here. There is talk of storms in a couple of hours.
OVER 20: ENG 73/3 (Malan 23 Buttler 36)
In his last over Markram overpitched and Buttler smacked him for six. When he does so again Buttler skelps with that hockey stroke of his a skimming drive that could have decapitated the umpire for four. They milk three singles then Malan, off his 48th delivery, strikes his first four with a crisp reverse sweep.
OVER 19: ENG 61/3 (Malan 17 Buttler 30)
Magala hasn't found the right line yet and sprays another wide down the legside. Malan thick edges down to third man for a single and takes the same reward off a better shot, a smearing cover drive that was stopped from hitting the fence by a very good diving save. Buttler pushes one short of the onside ring.
OVER 18: ENG 57/3 (Malan 15 Buttler 29)
Bavuma turns to spin, the finger variety, bringing on Markram ahead of Shamsi. Malan drives a single down to long off to bring up England's fifty off 97 balls. Buttler defends a couple then takes his left leg out of the way and launches the off-spinner back over his head for a towering six.
OVER 17: ENG 49/3 (Malan 14 Buttler 23)
Shaun Pollock or 'Pawn Shollock', as he says he is know to some of his older friends, points out that this is Buttler's slowest ever ODI innings (of 30 balls or more). A leg glance for two and another, whipped finer off his calves for four, give him 21 off 38. That boundary actually ruins 'Pawn's' statbomb. As does his back-foot punch for two at the end of the over through cover.
Tose two runs take him to sixth in the all-time list of ENgland's ODI runscorers, overtaking KP. Stewart, Collingwood, Bell, Root and Morgan lie ahead.
OVER 16: ENG 40/3 (Malan 14 Buttler 15)
Sky points out the Buttler wiggle of the shoulder after drinks, his 'tell' for teeing off. But he is not given the opportunity by Parnell who constricts him with a tight line, conceding merely a single. Malan fares no better off the final two balls.
Magala is coming on. Love a bustling bowler.
OVER 15: ENG 40/3 (Malan 14 Buttler 14)
Buttler plays tip and run off Ngidi to point for a single, Malan runs a short ball off the horizontal face down to third man for another and Buttler ends the over fetching a wide one and dabbing a cut to the cover point sweeper.
Time for drinks. SA have been dominant so far but England are now, at least, at last, digging in.
OVER 14: ENG 37/3 (Malan 13 Buttler 12)
Buttler almost explodes the foundations of the rebuild he has only just begun by taking on the last man you should take on, Miller at deep square leg running towards the umpire. The fielder runs in to scoop it up and releases it on the dive. Buttler gets home by a centimetre before Klaasen breaks the stumps. They run two and flick/poke/tuck three further singles into the onside.
OVER 13: ENG 32/3 (Malan 12 Buttler 8)
Ngidi comes back after a two-over blow. Buttler belts him off the back foot for singles through cover, Malan rides the bounce to cuff one through midwicket and cuts for two more. Softly, softly ...
OVER 12: ENG 28/3 (Malan 10 Buttler 6)
Singles bookend Parnell's second over but Malan is exasperated by playing and missing with a back-foot punch, so much so that Buttler has to come down and have a word. This is no time for the noggin to go. Keep calm and tarry on. The opportunities to score will come if you stay in.
OVER 11: ENG 26/3 (Malan 9 Buttler 5)
Malan works Hansen off his bootstraps through midwicket and Buttler, after keeping out 13 dot balls, climbs into Jansen's shorter ball, standing legside to crash a cut in front of point for four. The captain is showing there are many ways to skin the proverbial moggy and control pulls a single to end the over, England's most productive of the innings.
OVER 10: ENG 20/3 (Malan 8 Buttler 0)
Wayne Parnell relieves Lungi Ngidi who goes for a breather with 4-0-8-3. He starts with five dot balls to Malan, whose wicket he took in the last match. Malan works a single off the knee roll through square leg to farm the strike. Not thrilling batting from Malan. But shrewd and mature so far on this pitch.
OVER 9: ENG 19/3 (Malan 7 Buttler 0)
Excellent over from Jansen to Malan, testing him outside off stump and teasing one past his gloves as it whistled down the corridor. At last Jansen pitches one up and Malan drills a drive between cover and mid-off for three.
OVER 8: ENG 16/3 (Malan 4 Buttler 0)
For the first time in the match England survive a Ngidi over unscathed. Malan plonks a single off the splice when trying to pull between square leg and fine leg. Buttler drives bit can't beat mid-off, leaves a couple and blocks a third. If Roy's renaissance in the first match is a case of 'one swallow', I'd argue that Buttler should open in the autumn. Let Jonny keep wicket if you can't combine opening, skippering and keeping in this format.
OVER 7: ENG 15/3 (Malan 3 Buttler 0)
Buttler shows better judgment with a couple of leaves and a couple of defensives after Malan whisked a single off the first ball through square leg.
OVER 6: ENG 14/3 (Malan 2 Buttler 0)
'It's the way England play.' It is but they have plenty of overs to play with and trying to force shots off Lungi Ngidi when he's zipping it about in the first Powerplay is hardly clever cricket. At Bloemfontein he was world XI in his first spell, Ilford Seconds later on when the ball got soft. Roy, Duckett and Brook don't do circumspect, nor should they. But they should give themselves, and England, more of a chance by eliminating forcing shots against the moving, bouncing ball.
Brook c Klaasen b Ngidi 6 Captain, you ship is sinking. Ngidi has used the scramble seam judiciously throughout and it earns him a third wicket as Brook has a swish at one outside off and feathers it through to the locum keeper. FOW 14/3
🗣️ "Brook is a BIG, BIG wicket" 🤯
Ngidi has 3-7! 👏 pic.twitter.com/1C9epWw6S2
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) February 1, 2023
OVER 5: ENG 12/2 (Malan 2 Brook 4)
Jansen's natural length and height largely takes leg-before out of the equation so he is trying to push it further up towards the batsmen. It's a bit more floaty and lacks control when he does that and he sprays a wide past Malan's legs who also adds two to the score and gets off the mark with a drive for two that comes more off the toe than the middle.
Will Macpherson writes
Desperate start for England at the hands of Ngidi, then, with Duckett now gone for a duck. Great bounce.
OVER 4: ENG 9/2 (Malan 0 Brook 4)
Brook shoulders arms at the hat-trick ball, flicks and misses at one on his pads. Ngidi chances his arms with an appeal for leg-before but that would have missed another set of stumps. Brook blocks a couple then absolutely hammers a cover drive for four when Ngidi overpitches.
Duckett c Klaasen b Nigidi 0 Tried to force it by dropping his wrists and fiddling at it but the ball climbed higher than he thought it would. Given the lift, a cut would have been the less risky shot but a shirt man playing with a bat between the vertical and horizontal made him susceptible to nicking off. Nigidi's on a hat-trick. FOW 5/2
OVER 3: ENG 5/1 (Malan 0 Duckett 0)
Jansen's height allows England to glean a couple of leg-byes off the hip and thigh-pad and gives up a wide to boot by spraying one past Duckett's pads. Tidy over the extras apart.
OVER 2: ENG 2/1 (Malan 0 Duckett 0)
Ngidi shares the new ball, wearing line green boots. He starts with a hooping outswinger that does too much. Wide! Not the same carry as Bloemfontein but there is far more movement through the air on the border of the Highveld.
Roy cannot pierce the infield with a couple of positive blocks but then is beaten comprehensively by a beauty that angles in and nips away. Roy lurches and whooshes a drive at a wider one then loses his wicket tamely, as if surprised by the bounce. I think it just sat up a bit and Roy, who had walked towards it, didn't get close enough to the pitch.
Roy c Bavuma b Ngidi 1 After scratching around for five balls he lunges forward and plays a check drive but the ball hits higher up the bat than he anticipated and he ended up popping a catch straight to mid-off. FOW 2/1
🗣️ "They've got rid of a danger man" ⚡
A strong start for South Africa 👏 pic.twitter.com/orXgsMm62y
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) February 1, 2023
Will Macpherson reports
Poor from Roy, who hasn't built on that century in the first game. The ball was clearly stopping in the pitch, but he's had two big swipes and missed, then planted one straight into the hands of mid-off.
OVER 1: ENG 1/0 (Roy 1 Malan 0)
Jason Roy gets off the mark first ball, using Marco Jansen's shape from over the wicket to flick the left-armer off his toes for a single. Inswing to the right-hander and good testing outswing to the left-hander, drawing Malan to play and miss outside off, bringing his two slips into play.
Jansen doesn't get the length quite right for the rest of the over, dropping a couple of centimetres too short for three of them but it allows him to rack up five successive dot balls.
Will Macpherson on conditions
There are some big wet patches on the outfield after all that rain last night. They've tried to cover it with a bit of sawdust but I'm not convinced. Bit of a slow outfield early doors?
The playing area is pretty small, and there's a breeze, too. Should be runs today if the pitch plays the way it looks.
Pure Harry Brook
I spoke to his boyhood coaches back in December and both of them outlined precisely how down to earth and funny he is.
🗣️ "I don't know how I'm going to deal with this" 🤣
Harry Brook's discusses his maiden ODI fifty in Sunday's game and is struggling with the heat 😅 pic.twitter.com/WJY4NF20ap
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) February 1, 2023
Will on England's XI
Shame to see Olly Stone sit out – especially after he spoke beautifully to the travelling press yesterday! – but probably right to look after him ahead of the Test tour of New Zealand. Great to see Archer back in.
South Africa Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma (capt), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Marco Jansen, Sisanda Magala, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi.
England Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler (capt & wk), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer Reece Topley.
South AFrica have won the toss
And put England in to bat.
Will Macpherson reports from Kimberley
Welcome to Diamond Oval, Kimberley. This is the first international here since September 2018, and it might well have tired a little bit in that time. There have been awful thunderstorms both days since England arrived; if we get a repeat this afternoon, a result will be difficult. The sun is shining right now, though.
Expecting one change for England, with Jofra Archer back in. They could really do with a win and, for that reason, Phil Salt sits out. Matthew Mott had said everyone would get a game, but expediency has kicked in.
Good morning and welcome to live coverage of the third one-day international between South Africa and England which starts with the hosts having picked up two victories – with three more in succession required – to keep them on the path to automatic qualification for the World Cup via a Super League top eight finish.
England, by contrast, have now won only two of 11 ODI matches following Eoin Morgan's retirement and while back-to-back series whitewashes are always a stain, few England captains could point more mitigating factors than Jos Buttler should that fate befall him following their 3-0 defeat by Australia with a scratch side.
The biggest factor in their defence of all is the lack of availability of his most experienced players and whatever happens today will have very little bearing on their first World Cup match should they be able to send out an XI looking roughly like: Bairstow, Roy, Root, Stokes, Buttler, Livingstone, Moeen, Curran, Rashid, Archer, Wood. If Stokes is resolute about remaining retired rather than answering the call after a decent rest in August and September, there are still good options in Harry Brook, Will Jacks and Phil Salt but Dawid Malan's left-handedness might give him an advantage. Olly Stone, Brydon Carse, Reece Topley and Rehan Ahmed would bolster the bowling options.
The most striking thing about the series has been the opposition. South Africa, because of the hard-nosed decisions of the home board, have looked like a dead man walking in international cricket. Toothless in the face of franchise cricket's attraction for their players, they have taken on the behemoth in a way that offends traditionalists but strikes some sort of compromise with the SA20 that allows their best players, which they continue to develop on a prodigious scale, big exposure at the height of the home summer and keeps them loyal to the idea of international cricket.
They may need three more wins to book their place in India by the seat of their pants for the autumn but the talent they have, especially in the bowling, plus Dewald Brevis to come, would make them a very good shout for the last four.