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Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

England win one-day series in South Africa

Fifth one-day international, Durban:
Match abandoned because of rain

Andrew Strauss with the series trophy
Strauss lauded the collective effort of his team

England became only the third team to beat South Africa in a home one-day series after the final match in Durban was abandoned because of rain.

With the 1230 GMT start delayed, a 1300 pitch inspection was called off after the onset of another heavy downpour.

With rain still falling, the umpires called off the match at 1500, handing the five-game series to England 2-1.

The tourists have two warm-up matches before the start of the four-match Test series on 16 December in Centurion.

With the series set for an enthralling climax after England's seven-wicket win on Sunday, the weather once again intervened with England captain Andrew Strauss poised to mark his 100th one-day international cap with a series victory against the third best one-day side in the world.

Only Australia have beaten South Africa on home soil in a bilateral series, while West Indies won a triangular series involving the Proteas in 1993.

I've enjoyed the number four position, it's given me a new lease of life

Paul Collingwood

England's victory ends a run of 15 successive one-day home series wins for the hosts, much to the delight of Strauss.

Boosted by the return of Kevin Pietersen, the consistency of Paul Collingwood and James Anderson, as well as the emergence of Jonathan Trott, Strauss believes England have the nucleus of a team with real potential for the 2011 World Cup.

"It's a big step forward for the group," said the 32-year-old.

"We have a great group of players who can continue improving over the coming months and with the World Cup not a million miles away, it's important we keep that group together for as long as possible.

"I think the guys have enjoyed having the shackles taken off them to a certain extent. A lot of our one-day cricket over the last few years has been played like men under a lot of pressure.

"A lot of the players were under pressure, playing for their places and because the results weren't very good."

Collingwood was named man of the series for his all-round performances, scoring 275 runs and claiming five wickets in an impressive international renaissance.

Sept 2009: Lost 6-1 to Australia
May 2009: Won 2-0 West Indies
Mar/Apr 2009: Won 3-2 West Indies
Nov 2008: Lost 5-0 India
Aug/Sept 2008: Won 4-0 South Africa

"I enjoy the wickets here, there's a little bit of bounce and a little more off the back foot," said England's most capped one-day player.

"I've enjoyed the number four position, it's given me a new lease of life. I feel really confident and in good nick - hopefully that will continue into the Test series."

South Africa captain Graeme Smith admitted his side had been outplayed in significant parts of the series.

"They deserve credit for the way they have played cricket," said the 28-year-old.

"If we can learn lessons from this it can be an important stepping stone for us looking ahead to the next 12 months."

The five-match series began on a damp note when the first match in Johannesburg was abandoned because of rain while England clinched the second international by a convincing seven-wicket margin.

However, they were comprehensively beaten in the third match, a 112-run victory in Cape Town.

If anything they will have a point to prove now they have lost this one-day series

Andrew Strauss on South Africa

Persistent rain had forced both teams to train indoors all week, with weather forecasts painting gloomy predictions for Friday's finale.

Patches of green were interspersed by huge puddles across the sodden Kingsmead outfield as ground staff worked frantically to clear water in time for a delayed start.

However, just as umpires Rod Tucker and Marais Erasmus were about to assess the pitch at 1300, another heavy downpour forced the inspection to be delayed.

With overhead conditions rapidly deteriorating, both officials eventually decided to abandon the match some two-and-a-half hours after the scheduled start, much to the disappointment of the hosts.

However, Smith offered a brighter forecast for the start of the Test series, which starts at Centurion Park in 12 days.

"We've got a few new faces to show up in the Test squad," said Smith, whose side are currently top of the ICC world Test rankings.

"There's a fair break now. The last two years have been a great period for us in Test cricket and we want to carry that on."

Chesterwurzel here

And Strauss stressed the one-day series result will have little effect on the outcome of the Test series.

"If anything they will have a point to prove now they have lost this one-day series," he told BBC Sport.

"From our point of view, we can't take our foot of the gas and must switch our attentions to Test match cricket.

"We don't have a huge amount of time to do that, so this week coming up is important."

Smith also indicated fast bowler Dale Steyn, who was rested for the final one-dayer because of a hamstring injury, should be fit to take his place in the Test team.

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see also
South Africa poised to rest Steyn
01 Dec 09 |  England
Anderson leads England to victory
29 Nov 09 |  England
England fall to crushing defeat
27 Nov 09 |  England
Strauss sees signs of improvement
27 Nov 09 |  England
Collingwood inspires England win
22 Nov 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England

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