FIRST ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL, Headingley: England 275-4 (50 overs) bt South Africa 255 (49.4 overs) by 20 runs
By Andrew McKenzie
Pietersen and Flintoff (right) helped England set a competitive target
Captain Kevin Pietersen led England to a hard-fought 20-run victory over South Africa in the opening day-night international at Headingley.
Pietersen (90) put on 158 in 21.1 overs with Andrew Flintoff (78) as England overcame a slow start to make 275-4.
South Africa began well but Pietersen's off-spin and the recalled Steve Harmison's pace struck back.
Flintoff also took two wickets and the tourists were all out for 255 in a match which went to the final over.
After the disappointment of the recent Test series defeat to South Africa, England will no doubt take great confidence from handing them a first defeat in 10 one-day matches.
Pietersen had earlier promised England would be more aggressive under his leadership and he played a captain's role, not only with the bat but with the ball and in the field.
However, there was little evidence of such positive cricket early on in their innings after he had won the toss and elected to bat.
Ian Bell and Matt Prior got them off to a tentative start as they were happy to play the ball around a slow outfield for ones and twos and protect their wickets, while failing to take advantage of the powerplays.
Prior was the more aggressive but had a let off in the 11th over when he chipped straight down the throat of Vernon Philander, who put down the easiest of chances off the bowling of Andre Nel.
Frustration started to kick in as the England pair went 10 overs without a boundary and the scoring rate dropped below four an over.
Bell tried to up the ante but only succeeded in flashing at a ball from Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers held on to a spectacular diving catch at backward point.
The opener failed to hit one boundary in his innings of 35 runs from 69 balls.
Prior managed to clear the rope when he got hold of a Kallis delivery to bring the crowd to life.
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