London: A century opening partnership between Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook set England on the way to a six-wicket win on the fifth day of the fourth and final Test against South Africa at the Oval Monday.
Strauss (58) and Cook (67) put on 123 to take England a long way towards their target of 197.
Four wickets fell cheaply but after such a start there was never any real doubt that Kevin Pietersen's first match as captain would end with a win, although South Africa took the series 2-1.
Cook was the senior partner as he and Strauss laid the foundation for their team after a cautious start.
Only 11 runs were scored in the first 11 overs as Makhaya Ntini bowled accurately and Morne Morkel erratically.
When the total was on nine a plan to dismiss Strauss almost worked. Ashwell Prince was moved to leg slip, with Morkel bowling around the wicket.
Strauss, on four, obliged by glancing the ball straight to Prince but umpire Aleem Dar called no-ball because Morkel had over-stepped.
The scoring rate picked up in the 12th over when Cook off-drove and pulled Ntini for boundaries.
Left-arm spinner Paul Harris came on as first change and Cook on 16 jabbed him close to Hashim Amla at short leg. But after that the batsmen looked comfortable until Ntini came back into the attack after lunch and had Cook caught at first slip by South African captain Graeme Smith.
Ian Bell was bowled by Ntini when he went across his stumps and left his leg stump exposed and he was followed two balls later by Strauss, caught at leg slip by Smith off bat and pad.
Pietersen and Paul Collingwood took England within 15 runs of the target but Pietersen, who made a century in the first innings, was denied the satisfaction of being at the crease when the winning runs were scored.
The England captain was caught off bat and pad at short leg by Neil McKenzie off Harris for 13. Andrew Flintoff joined Collingwood and ended the match with a straight six off Harris.