Series on the line for Proteas

IT'S a case of last-chance-saloon when the Proteas take on England in the fifth and final one-day international at Kingsmead Stadium today.

IT'S a case of last-chance-saloon when the Proteas take on England in the fifth and final one-day international at Kingsmead Stadium today.

Coming in to the series as clear favourites, South Africa now find themselves 2-1 down and facing the prospect of losing a home series for the first time since 2007's defeat by Australia.

Following their capitulation in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, captain Graham Smith and coach Mickey Arthur will be feeling the pressure as their team continues to display indifferent form with both bat and ball.

In the England dressing room, it must be the complete opposite; particularly for their South African-born players Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior and Jonathan Trott.

Nothing would give them greater pleasure than wrapping up the one-dayers against their former homeland before getting down to the serious business of the Test series, which starts on December 16 at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

There can be no arguing that the absence of Jacques Kallis as the result of a rib injury has left a huge void in the Proteas side but it is up to his teammates to dig deep and produce the goods.

While middle-order batsman AB de Villiers produced a polished knock of 121 at Newlands last Friday, those around him seem to be short of confidence and, more importantly, runs. Hashim Amla and JP Duminy have had reasonable starts but their failure to push on must be a worry for Arthur.

England will know the Proteas are hurting from their recent losses and will be expecting them to come out guns blazing. But with fast bowler Jimmy Anderson picking up five wickets on his last outing and medium pacer Stuart Broad growing in stature with each game, captain Strauss knows that one more big effort will win them the series.

l The game starts at 2pm and will be televised live on SuperSport 2 and SABC2.

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