CRICKET : South Africa posted an ominous 15-over total of 83 for none against England in Friday’s third one-day international at Newlands.
South Africa posted an ominous 15-over total of 83 for none against England in Friday’s third one-day international at Newlands.
Statistics overwhelmingly dictate that batting first in day-night cricket is a recipe for success here, meaning Graeme Smith (43 not out) had perhaps done the hardest work before start of play – by winning the toss.
Under cloudless skies, he and his opening partner Hashim Amla set about converting that advantage on a true pitch of good pace.
England, 1-0 up and needing to win to reach an unbeatable position in this five-match series, were soon in an awkward spot during the opening powerplay.
After setting two slips for the first two overs, the mandatory catching fielders were quickly moved in front of the wicket – Andrew Strauss apparently giving up already on any sideways movement.
Stuart Broad, back after his shoulder injury, took the new ball alongside James Anderson and saw his first ball timed past cover by Amla off the back foot for four.
He hit back, striking the opener on the elbow as Amla played no stroke to the final ball of the over.
That, though, was the only discomfort England managed to impose on their hosts in the first hour.
Amla’s timing and placement allowed him to almost keep pace with his captain Smith, who was soon pulling and driving boundaries off Broad and then in a solitary over from first change Tim Bresnan.
England decided against their fielding powerplay after the first 10 overs. But the prospect of taking a wicket was not an obvious one as South Africa’s openers rotated the strike at will and maintained a near run-a-ball scoring rate.