LEEDS, England (AP) Captain Eoin Morgan notched his first limited-overs century against South Africa as England swept to a convincing 72-run victory over the world’s top-ranked team in one-day international cricket at Headingley on Wednesday.
Morgan hit 107 off 93 balls and Moeen Ali propelled England’s total to 339-6 with a brisk 77 after AB de Villiers had won the toss and opted to field at the start of the three-match series.
Hashim Amla (73) and Faf du Plessis (67) kept South Africa in contention but both perished midway through the innings and the visitors were bowled out for 267 in 45 overs.
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”Very pleasing, pretty good day at the office for us,” Morgan said. ”The partnerships we built, gave us the best opportunity to get a par score and beyond.”
Chris Woakes took 4-38 as South Africa chase fell apart after Amla and du Plessis’ century-stand was broken by seamer Mark Wood. The tourists lost their last nine wickets for 122 runs.
”England played phenomenally well with the bat, credit to Morgs for the hundred,” de Villiers said. ”They dominated the bowling and manipulated us, probably 20-30 above par and we didn’t bat well enough.”
Amla and du Plessis put on 112 runs off 109 balls before Wood broke through and trapped Amla lbw in the 25th over after England went for a successful television referral.
Du Plessis followed Amla in the next over, off Liam Plunkett, giving wicketkeeper Jos Buttler one of his four catches.
De Villiers was kept at bay by England’s bowlers as the wickets continued to fall at the other end, before the South African captain also holed out in the deep off Ali’s off-spin.
Woakes, who had earlier bowled two steady spells and taken the wickets of Quinton de Kock and David Miller, finished off the tail by claiming the last two wickets off successive deliveries.
Earlier, Morgan had hit seven fours and five sixes in his 11th ODI century, his first hundred against South Africa.
Ali needed only 51 balls to reach 77, hitting five fours and as many sixes as he lifted England’s total with a 117-run seventh-wicket stand with Morgan.
Alex Hales made 61 and Joe Root (37) looked good until he top-edged a bouncer from seamer Andile Phehlukwayo (2-59).
Morgan completed his century off 91 balls when he hooked fast bowler Kagiso Rabada for a six over long leg, before being caught in the covers in the 48th over.
Ali provided the innings with an ideal finish by lofting Chris Morris (2-61) over backward square leg for six as England scored 102 runs in the last 10 overs.
Players from both teams wore black armbands and observed a minute of silence before the start of the match in memory of those who died during Monday’s attack in Manchester.
The second match of the series, which is an ideal tune-up for both teams ahead of Champions Trophy, will be played at Southampton on Saturday.