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Strauss hits form as England evens series

ENGLAND romped to a nine-wicket victory in the fourth one-day international against the West Indies in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Sunday thanks to a belligerent innings from skipper Andrew Strauss.

In a rain-affected match, England was set a revised target of 135 to win in 20 overs and it was always ahead of the run rate with Strauss finishing undefeated on 79.

Strauss dabbed his ninth four in the penultimate over to level the series at 2-2 with one match to play.

It was a rare moment of satisfaction for England on a difficult tour which resulted in defeat in the test series and a humiliating hammering in the third ODI last Friday when it was bowled out for 117 on the same ground.

Dwayne Bravo top-scored with 69 as the for the West Indies posted 239 for nine in their 50 overs before a long rain delay meant a re-calculation using the Duckworth-Lewis system.

Strauss set about the modest-looking target with a flurry of boundaries. He cut loose in the third over, hitting four consecutive boundaries off Lionel Baker.

With Ravi Bopara supporting well, England reached 50 in 5.2 overs before Strauss had a stroke of luck when the third umpire deemed that his edge off of Kieron Pollard had not carried to keeper Denesh Ramdin. Television replays were inconclusive.

Pollard finally had Bopara caught on the boundary for 35 but with Strauss reveling under the lights the result was a foregone conclusion.

Earlier, West Indies skipper Chris Gayle had given his side a great start, smashing five sixes in a quick 47.

Umpire Steve Bucknor was given a standing ovation at the end after officiating in the final match of a career that has spanned two decades and included 128 tests and 181 ODIs.

In Pretoria, South Africa beat Australia for the third game in a row when it won the second Twenty20 international by 17 runs on Sunday.

After clinching the test series by winning the first two matches, Australia lost the third test in Cape Town by an innings and the opening Twenty20 match by four wickets.

Chasing 157 for victory on Sunday, Australia was derailed by off-spinner Johan Botha, who claimed two for 16 in four overs as the visitors crashed to 103 for five after 15 overs having been 63 for two at the halfway mark.

Earlier, debutante Roelof van der Merwe lifted South Africa to a respectable 156 for five with a lively 48 off 30 balls.

Van der Merwe, playing on his home ground, then picked up the key wicket of David Hussey for 27 as South Africa's spinners took control, restricting Australia to 139 for eight.

Australia will hope for a prompt return to form when the five-match ODI series gets under way on Friday.


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