CRICKET : England lost two of their most likely match-winners cheaply as they set out in pursuit of South Africa’s 250 for nine at Centurion.
England lost two of their most likely match-winners cheaply as they set out in pursuit of South Africa’s 250 for nine at Centurion.
In-form captain Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen were both gone by the time the tourists reached the 15-over mark on 56 for two in sunny conditions.
Strauss, opening with a new partner in Jonathan Trott, fell in the eighth over when he aimed to clip Charl Langeveldt to leg but instead looped a simple catch to point off a leading edge.
That brought Pietersen to the crease to a predictably mixed reception in front of a partisan crowd in the country of his birth.
He got under way with a trademark whipped drive through straight midwicket off Langeveldt but was unable to add to that boundary before trying the same trick against Albie Morkel and getting a thin inside edge onto his leg stump.
England were not in for a straightforward chase on a pitch of slightly uneven and mostly sluggish pace which has played to the strengths of the seamers throughout.
Record-breaker Paul Collingwood was one of the likeliest to prosper in such conditions and his team were looking to him to augment the gains he had earlier made in the field.
Marking his 171st ODI cap – beating Alec Stewart’s previous England record – Collingwood was in the thick of it as England restricted the home batsmen.
Among five dropped catches, Strauss missed three – including two dollies – but Collingwood made up for others’ mistakes, and one of his own, with some breathtaking fielding and two wickets.
He was rarely out of the action in an innings propped up by half-centuries from Hashim Amla (57) and Alviro Petersen (64).