CRICKET : England were dealt two major blows in pursuit of a tough 280 target against South Africa A at Potchefstroom.
England were dealt two major blows in pursuit of a tough 280 target against South Africa A at Potchefstroom.
The tourists lost Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen in the space of six overs to reach the 30-over mark at 142 for three.
In-form captain Strauss, who has already made a half-century and unbeaten 117 on tour thus far, looked fluent throughout his 71-ball 65, but Pietersen, playing only his second game since returning from injury, made only four. That left another South African-born player, Jonathan Trott (41 not out), trying to consolidate alongside Eoin Morgan (four).
Strauss helped his side to a good start and, after a boundary-free first over, four came from the bat of the captain in the next four overs as England raced to 31 after five overs.
His partner, Joe Denly, was handed a lifeline on 12 when he mistimed a lofted shot off Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Morne Morkel dropped a difficult chance running back from mid-on – the same shot taking England beyond 50 in the ninth over.
But the Kent opener then tossed away his wicket for 23, offering captain Hashim Amla an easy catch off Rory Kleinveldt at mid-off.
Strauss continued to look solid, raising his 50 from 52 balls, before the 100 was up in only the 19th over.
England’s progress suffered a major setback three overs later, though, when Strauss’ attempted cut shot off CJ de Villiers was easily taken by wicketkeeper Heino Kuhn.
Pietersen looked uncomfortable during his stay and was out not long after when his attempted drive over the top was hit straight to Amla at mid-off.
Earlier, two wickets each for Luke Wright and the fit-again Graham Onions helped injury-hit England fight back after the home side had raced away to 77 for none and then 122 for one.