At East London, February 9, 2005 (day/night). South Africa won by seven runs. Toss: South Africa.
Comic-book baddie to a partisan crowd but an awesome presence to his team-mates, Pietersen completed the fastest hundred by an England player in a one-day international (69 deliveries) when he hit the last ball for his fourth six. Never before had England scored as many as 304 in a losing chase, and if Pietersen had engineered more of the strike late on he might have completed an extraordinary story. Giles and Ali also hit sixes and there was a moment when South Africa began to look alarmed. But Nel and Ntini exercised just enough control in the final overs to win the game, if not to stop Pietersen's personal triumph. Ultimately, poor bowling sent England to a defeat which meant South Africa could not lose the series. The England attack conceded 111 in the last ten overs, and Kemp, whose 80 came from 50 balls with seven sixes, was allowed to hit through his preferred leg side at will. Smith batted through the innings for 115 off 131 balls, moving from 50 to 100 without a boundary. Indeed, South Africa milked runs under little pressure in the middle stages after Kallis, with five fours from Ali's first over, contributed to a forceful start. The total was the highest in a one-day international at East London, and victory would have been more emphatic but for a missed stumping chance with Pietersen on 16.
Man of the Match: J. M. Kemp.