|Ground:||Kennington Oval, Kennington|
|Scorecard:||England v South Africa|
|Event:||South Africa in England 2012|
DateLine: 3rd September 2012
England v South Africa, 3rd ODI
By courtesy of NatWest.
All the talk of the ‘new era’ of England cricket with Alastair Cook having taken over the captaincy of the Test side in addition to the one-dayers, has at last seen a first England win, by four wickets, against South Africa on this tour. With the win they go back to their No. 1 One-Day International (ODI) ranking although it could change again if the tourists win the fourth match today, as bizarrely the ICC adjust the rankings after each match.
Leading them to their target of 212 was the top scorer Eoin Morgan with a belligerent innings of 73 from just 67 balls. He came to the crease with England on 64 for three in eighteen overs and took command straightaway, combining with Jonathan Trott in a 108 run partnership which proved enough for England to be eventually home with the comfort of two overs to spare.
England lost the first wicket in only the third over after Ian Bell had made an explosive start to his innings taking three fours in the first over he faced. The first boundary was beautifully struck to point off the back foot and after edging the next between gully and point he stepped out of his crease to pull Lonwabo Tsetsobe powerfully to mid-wicket. But his aggressive start wasn’t to last for long as Dale Steyn, in the next over trapped him lbw with a straight ball which Bell tried to play across to.
Just when it seemed that a good partnership between Cook and Jonathan Trott was consolidating the innings with a stand of 47, South Africa struck with a bowling change. Left arm spinner Robin Peterson was brought on and Cook, on 20, pulled his fourth ball into the hands of wide mid-wicket. Three runs later England lost the third wicket. Ravi Bopara was unfortunate to be given out caught behind when replay showed he hadn’t played the ball and there was no ‘hot spot’ either.
But Trott and Morgan combined to take control of the match. While Trott held the innings together, albeit with a slow rate of scoring, Morgan was the only batsman whose stroke-play was not affected by the slowness of the pitch. He began his innings with fluent strokes and maintained the aggressive manner of his batting throughout his knock showing why he is considered one of the best ODI batsmen. None of the six bowlers used by the opposition caused him much of a concern and his free strokes brought him two of the three sixes in the England innings and seven fours.
In going for another big hit, he top edged his slog/sweep shot and skied a return catch to Peterson but on 172 for four he had put England well on track for a win. Craig Kieswetter was run out seventeen runs later and finally Trott’s long innings of 71 from 125 balls of which he hit only two boundaries, came to an end with a catch behind the stumps. England were almost home by then on 207 for six.
Earlier South Africa found scoring more difficult on the slow pitch and could manage only 211 before being dismissed in 46.4 overs. Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith put on fifty for the opening stand of which Amla had 31. But Smith didn’t last for long, on 18, he went for a big hit, with a cross-bat shot to a straight ball from James Anderson and the first wicket had fallen in the ninth over.
But the big was claimed by Jade Dernbach, playing for the first time in this series. He accounted for Amla who was back playing on the ground on which, only last month, he registered that monumental record triple century in the first Test. With the total on 73 and Amla on 43 from 51 balls, Dernbach was brought back for a second spell and with his first ball he sent Amla’s leg stump cartwheeling. Amla attempted a straight drive but was beaten by a ball that came in and kept a shade low.
Amla had displayed some attractive strokes for the benefit of a full house. He took two consecutive fours off Anderson, a lovely cover drive, which he plays in fine style, and then a whip to backward square leg.. Later two fours in one over from Steve Finn took him to his final score which turned out to be the top score of the South Africa innings.
James Tredwell , having replaced off spinner Graeme Swann for this match accounted for the next two wickets. He first hah AB de Villiers held at deep mid-on for 28 and two runs later South Africa were reduced to 122 for four with Bopara bowling Faf du Plessis around his leg. The two wickets had fallen in a space of seven balls. South Africa struggled to raise the run rate and Dean Elgar and Wayne Parnell were both dismissed within two overs.
Meanwhile Dernbach had accounted for Elgar’s wicket. It was a slower ball that came into the left hander and hit the top of off stump. Much depended on JP Duminy the last of the recognised batsman. He too found boundaries hard to come by and faced 26 balls before striking the first of his two fours. Having put on 40 for the seventh wicket with Peterson he lofted Tredwell to deep mid-on where he was held for 33.
Anderson mopped up the innings with the last three wickets. South Africa’s last four had fallen for sixteen runs. Anderson finished with four wickets and Dernbach had three with both conceding 44 runs.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Andy Jalil)