CRICKET : Paul Collingwood marked his record-breaking 171st one-day international cap with some typically telling brilliance in the field – and the big wicket of Hashim Amla too.
Paul Collingwood marked his record-breaking 171st one-day international cap with some typically telling brilliance in the field – and the big wicket of Hashim Amla too.
The upshot was a South Africa 30-over total of 138 for four, after England captain Andrew Strauss had chosen to bowl first in sunny conditions but on a Centurion pitch under cover for much of the past week because of unseasonal rain.
England struck early blows to leave their hosts 38 for two in the ninth over, but Amla (57) shared a stand of 73 with JP Duminy as the hosts set their sights on a challenging target in this second fixture of a five-match ODI series.
Collingwood, going past Alec Stewart’s all-time England benchmark for appearances in this format, was at his best in his gully/backward-point home – and for good measure, got rid of Amla with his first over of medium-pace cutters on a sluggish surface.
Whether Collingwood’s first piece of the action was indirectly responsible for a wicket is perhaps conjecture.
But his diving stop from a fierce square-cut by Graeme Smith at Tim Bresnan definitely saved four and might conceivably have contributed to the home captain’s nibble on the back foot next ball – edged to slip, where Strauss took the regulation catch.
There could be no argument that Collingwood pretty much single-handedly saw off number three AB de Villiers.
His supremely athletic dive to his left intercepted what looked another certain four off Jimmy Anderson, and more importantly gave England their second wicket.
Yet Amla – replacing the injured Jacques Kallis at the top of the order – continued to profit from a mixture of fine timing and some handily directed edges.
He was joined by Duminy – and as Sajid Mahmood took over from Anderson at the Hennops River end, the third-wicket pair began to find the boundary with increasing ease.