|Second Women’s ODI, The 1st Central County Ground, Hove|
|England 331-6 (50 overs): Taylor 118, Beaumont 101, Kapp 2-48|
|South Africa 262-9 (50 overs): Lee 117, Tryon 44, Ecclestone 3-54|
|England win by 69 runs|
Centuries from Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor helped England’s women beat South Africa by 69 runs and level the three-match series at 1-1.
Opener Beaumont made 101 and wicketkeeper Taylor struck 118 as the hosts posted 331-6 at Hove.
Only Lizelle Lee, who made 117 from 107 deliveries, was able to put England’s bowlers under sustained pressure.
Despite a quickfire 44 from Chloe Tryon, South Africa could not build partnerships and slipped to defeat.
It was a much improved batting performance by the hosts, who lost the opening game of the three-match series by seven wickets.
Taylor’s 156-run stand with Beaumont, who brought up her fourth one-day century with three successive fours, helped England to a decent total.
However, Lee showed some superb power hitting, striking 13 fours and five sixes to become the first South African woman to make a century against England.
The rest of the visitors batting faltered, with players struggling to find the boundary, and wickets fell regularly following Lee’s dismissal.
The final match of the series takes place on Friday at Canterbury from 14:00 BST.
From 64-6 to 227-1 – the top order succeeds
England’s batting was in stark contrast to that in the opening game in Worcester when too many of their top order were dismissed playing across the line, and the world champions stumbled to 64-6 before Katherine Brunt – the only player to pass 20 – led a partial recovery with an unbeaten 72.
This time, the top order did their job. England’s opening berths are among the most fiercely contested in the team, with Danielle Wyatt back in the middle order despite two Twenty20 centuries as opener during the winter, while Lauren Winfield has been recalled to the squad but is awaiting another chance in the side.
The main beneficiary of Wyatt’s demotion has been Amy Jones, who again provided impetus at the top of the order as South Africa struggled with the conditions early on, although Jones will be disappointed that 29 remains her highest score in this format on home soil.
Looking to play straighter than they did at Worcester, Beaumont showed the form which won her the player of the tournament award at the World Cup, while Taylor’s class with the bat has never been in doubt and she relished the chance to play on her home ground, having missed spells of cricket in the last couple of years while dealing with anxiety issues.
A score of 350 or more looked possible while Taylor and Beaumont took the hosts to 227-1 with 13 overs remaining, but Taylor was able to shepherd them past 300 to leave South Africa needing to complete the highest successful run chase in women’s ODI cricket.
The Proteas bowlers toiled as Shabnim Ismail was taken off after an uncomfortable first over up the hill, seamer Ayabonga Khaka struggled to find the impressive line and length she managed at Worcester, the spinners were expensive and only Marizanne Kapp was able to bowl with variations which troubled England in the final overs.
More to follow.