Hard to justify how England can keep picking Bopara
by Asher Wilson
DateLine: 9th September 2012
England vs South Africa
The Proteas are one-up in their T20 International series against England as the two sides head next to Manchester for the second contest in the three-match series.
South Africa pretty much controlled the opening match of this series at Durham on Saturday from start to finish. After winning the toss and electing to field, the South Africans' restricted England to 118/7 in 20 overs. Dale Steyn picked up the Man of the Match award for his bowling figures of 1/13 whilst Johan Botha chipped in with 2/19.
In reply, South Africa a wobbled at first as Levi, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers all gave away their wickets easily but Kallis (48 not out) and Duminy (47 not out) steered the visitors through in relative comfort.
It is hard to predict how England can keep picking Bopara at the moment. Consistent failures are only dragging him off the cards. Selecting Wright, till Bopara regains form, has had a terrific season for Sussex and would also ensure Stuart Broad still has an extra bowler, if needed. They will be tempted to bring in Briggs, the left-arm spinner. England needs to uplift their game to stand a chance of bouncing back in the next match and keep the series open for 'last match fireworks'.
Even without Amla in the side, England's struggle against the Proteas filtered through to the shortest format of the game but we shouldn't rule out the hosts squaring things up as they have proven in the past that they learn well from their mistakes. Most surprisingly, Stuart Broad showed plenty of spirit, unbeaten with 18 runs to drag England's total into three figures and he will be trying his utmost to convert his form with bat and ball into a match winning performance as they head to the second game tomorrow.
As South Africa, a much more balanced side, have fewer areas of concern, another win here would see the series bagged ahead of Wednesday's final match of this tour at Birmingham. Just for the record, England have not lost a T20 at Old Trafford.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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