South Africa became the first side to top the ICC rankings in all three formats, after Hashim Amla's stellar 150 propelled them to an 80-run win over England in the second one-day international at the Ageas Bowl.
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On a day when the exiled Kevin Pietersen made 163 for Surrey, England were all out for 207, surrendering top spot in the ODI table just as they gave up their place at the Test summit earlier this month.
Amla began that Test series with an unbeaten triple century and he was on match-winning form again in Southampton, hitting 16 fours in a 124-ball knock that saw his side to a winning score of 287 for five.
The 29-year-old did need some luck, dropped by Craig Kieswetter on 42 and 92, but his 10th one-day hundred made him the fastest man to pass 3,000 runs in the format and it was an innings worthy of the status.
England, though, will be sorely disappointed with their reply - with scores of 45 from Samit Patel and Ian Bell the best they managed.
South Africa, having won the toss, had initially looked unlikely to fashion a large total.
In the first five overs Graeme Smith and Amla managed just 11 runs, with James Anderson and Steven Finn enjoying a number of early successes with the two new balls.
But 38 runs came from the next five, Smith doing most of the damage with a mixture of authentic strokes and lucky edges.
Amla had less of the strike but aside from one streaky inside edge, went about scoring his runs steadily and without risk.
Smith's half-century came from 70 balls, with five boundaries, but he added only two more before he top-edged Tim Bresnan to the sprinting Kieswetter.
Patel took Amla's edge in the 21st over but Kieswetter fumbled and the opener responded by continuing to coast at a run-a-ball.
Amla's call saw JP Duminy run out for 14 and Dean Elgar, playing his first ODI innings, made an uncomfortable 15 before having his off stump toppled by Graeme Swann.
England lost their only review with a misguided lbw appeal against Amla, whose 50 arrived with his 54th ball.
AB de Villiers should have been given caught behind on 22 but only cashed in to the tune of six runs before being bowled by Swann.
Amla and De Villiers took 38 off the batting powerplay, Amla moving serenely within sight of his hundred until Kieswetter put down a leg-side chance to deny Finn.
An upper-cut for four and a pair of singles brought up his century in 96 deliveries and the 29-year-old celebrated in typically understated fashion.
He opened his arms thereafter, picking up six more boundaries as he targeted Bresnan and Anderson in their final spells. He fell immediately after bringing up his 150, steering Finn to backward point with just two balls left in the innings.
Having watched Amla's masterclass the hosts made a terrible start to their reply, Alastair Cook losing his off stump to Lonwabo Tsotsobe off the second ball of the innings.
Bell soon found his rhythm, threading the left-armer for two off-side boundaries in the fifth over.
Jonathan Trott contented himself with a supporting role but Bell pulled his fourth boundary off Morne Morkel and steered his side to a promising 54 for one after 10 overs.
It took something special to hand Morkel South Africa's second wicket, Elgar clinging on to a stunning over-the-shoulder catch at fine-leg to see off Trott for 23.
The dismissal did not disrupt Bell's steady scoring and he was going nicely on 45 when Robin Peterson got one to straighten past the bat and into off stump.
Peterson struck again in his next over, Ravi Bopara (16) planting a nothing ball straight to short cover to leave England rocking at 90 for four.
Kieswetter offered some relief by hoisting Duminy for the first six of the day in the 21st over but he did not last long.
Elgar struck with his third ball in international cricket, Graeme Smith holding on at slip via a heavy deflection off De Villiers' gloves.
Eoin Morgan and Patel arrested the slide with a studious sixth-wicket stand of 41 before the Irishman fell to Duminy for 27.
Wayne Parnell removed Bresnan and Swann for ducks in the space of three balls and while Patel excited the fans with three fours and two sixes at the end, it was not enough to take England close.