England failed to clinch victory in their one-day series against South Africa despite a superb knock from Joe Root on 9 February. The Yorkshire batsman hit the highest one-day score of his career to date at Supersport Park in Centurion, smashing an impressive 125 that eclipsed his previous best effort recorded during the crushing 2015 World Cup defeat to Sri Lanka.
It did not prove enough, however, as the stylish Quinton de Kock continued his phenomenal record to become the youngest player to reach 10 ODI centuries. Experienced former Test captain Hashim Amla also struck 127 as the Proteas won by seven wickets to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, England reached 36 without loss before opener Jason Roy was run out for 20 after quick work from Morne Morkel and wicket-keeper De Kock. Alex Hales, who was removed just one run short of his century in Port Elizabeth last weekend, made 65 and formed a profitable partnership with Root before launching a delivery from Kagiso Rabada high and into the waiting hands of Morkel.
Jos Buttler, promoted up the order to bat at number four, then endured a swift innings to forget as he was caught brilliantly by JP Duminy at short leg off Rabada for a first-ball duck. Captain Eoin Morgan was similarly unimpressive, scoring just eight runs before guiding a delivery from David Wiese straight to Amla stationed at mid-wicket.
Root's masterful showing finally came to an end with seven overs remaining when an embarrassing mix-up with Ben Stokes led to the 25-year-old being easily run-out by De Kock. Stokes quickly brought up his 50 from 33 balls before Moeen Ali was caught by Amla for three.
Kyle Abbott claimed two wickets in consecutive deliveries when Stokes eventually picked out Farhaan Behardien just inside the boundary and Chris Jordan was caught by Duminy. Tailenders David Willey and Adil Rashid were both 13 not out as England closed on a healthy total of 318-8.
Beginning South Africa's chase against a backdrop of thunder and lightning that had many onlookers reaching for their Duckworth Lewis calculators, De Kock and Amla shared a sublime partnership of 239 that shattered the tourists' hopes of victory. The former's second ton of the series featured 16 fours and four sixes, only coming to an end when he lobbed a poor shot to Root at mid-off for an unbeaten 135.
Amla then secured his latest century and Wiese opened his own account with a big six before attempts to reverse-sweep a good ball from Ali predictably failed miserably.
Jordan claimed his only wicket of the day when he coaxed the otherwise impressive Amla into chopping at a delivery wide of off stump late on. South Africa's victory was never in doubt at that stage, however, and Faf du Plessis saw them over the line in confident style.