Neil Manthorp’s report has arrived, so I’m going to wrap up. Thanks for your company and emails – goodnight!
South Africa’s captain Temba Bavuma speaks
We’re very happy with the series win. We came in under a lot of pressure, because of the points we needed for the World Cup, and I think we’ve done ourselves justice. The series win against a tough side like England … we want to challenge ourselves, and we can take a lot of confidence from the way we’ve gone about our business.
We want guys to out and express themselves, always look to be positive – almost similar to how England go about their cricket. That’s what we kept speaking about.
[Where are you mentally?] Winning the series is the main thing. I’m super happy for the team. I think I’m hitting the ball quite nicely, finding the gaps again. I’m in good rhythm, and in a selfish way I’d like that to carry on and flow into all the other formats. I’m a happy captain standing here.
The player of the match, and of the series, is Jos Buttler
It’s nice to finish with a win. Apart from the last 10-15 overs of the first ODI I think we’ve played some brilliant cricket. It’s been a hard-fought series; congratulations to South Africa on their series win.
I’m pleased with the hard work we did early on. Both teams wanted to bowl first and it wasn’t straightforward at the start. For us to go on and post 340 is a fantastic effort.
[On his partnership with Dawid Malan] We felt that we’d be able to catch up – it’s a small ground - so we just wanted to extend the partnership as long as possible.
[On the plusses from the series] Guys going on to make hundreds is excellent, that’s something we didn’t do in the summer, and some of the bowling has been brilliant.
Jofra Archer’s performance tonight was fantastic and he probably deserved the player of the match award. To come back and take the wicket of Heinrich Klaasen when the match was in the balance… that broke the game open again for us.
The schedule is something we have to work with. We’ve got some guys going to New Zealand, some going back to Dubai and a few staying here for the remainder of the SA20. It’s been great to be back together as a group, even if it was only for a week.
That was no dead rubber for South Africa, who need every point they can get if they are to qualify automatically for the World Cup. It’s out of their hands now, though they are still favourites to pip West Indies.
A beaming Jofra Archer leads the team off, ball raised a little shyly to the fans. South Africa win the series, deservedly so. But if two weeks ago you had offered England a 2-1 defeat and an Archer six-for, they wouldn’t have bothered getting on the plane.
We shouldn’t get carried away, because elbow and back injuries can recur at any time, but what we can say without fear of contradiction is that when he is fit, Jofra Archer has emphatically still got it.
ENGLAND WIN BY 59 RUNS
WICKET! South Africa 287 all out (Shamsi b Archer 1) That’ll do. Jofra Archer is too fast, too straight, too much for Tabraiz Shamsi, and he finishes with his best figures in international cricket: 9.1-1-40-6.
43rd over: South Africa 287-9 (Ngidi 5, Shamsi 1) Ngidi clouts Topley for four, and why not.
“It’s just great to see him smiling…” says Dean Kinsella.
It really is. I suspect us non-elite folk have no idea how tough it is to deal with long-term injuries, and especially recurring setbacks.
42nd over: South Africa 281-9 (Ngidi 0, Shamsi 0) A wicket maiden from Archer, who now has figures of 9-1-40-5. The other thing I meant to say was imagINE BAZBALL, IN THE ASHES, WITH A FIT BLOODY JOFRA ARCHER AND MAYBE MARK WOOD TOO AND HOW THE HELL DO YOU PERM THREE FROM ANDERSON, BROAD, ROBINSON, ARCHER, WOOD, POTTS, WOAKES, STONE AND THE REST.
FIVE WICKETS FOR JOFRA ARCHER!
WICKET! South Africa 281-9 (Parnell b Archer 33) Parnell misses, Archer hits, and that’s his five-for! He punches the air with a mixture of delight, relief and much else besides I’m sure. It’s his first five-for in ODIs, and his first in any form of international cricket since 28 December 2019, a time when the world was a very different place.
Archer has been through a whole lotta pain in the intervening 1131 days. On many levels – as an England fan, as a sports fan, as a human being – it’s just a joy to have him back. His teammates are thrilled for him.
41st over: South Africa 281-8 (Parnell 33) Rashid ends an expensive but important spell with figures of 10-0-68-3.
WICKET! South Africa 281-8 (Magala c Buttler b Rashid 2)
Adil Rashid strikes with the last ball of his spell. Sisanda Magala tries to slap one through the off side and gets a thin edge through to Buttler.
Buttler’s appeal was slightly delayed, but Moeen went up immediately at slip and the rest followed.
MAGALA IS NOT OUT! Inside edge? He missed it by a mile! But the ball turned sufficiently that it would have missed leg stump, so England lose a review.
ENGLAND REVIEW! 40.2 overs: South Africa 279-7 (Parnell 32, Magala 1) Magala survives a big LBW appeal after pushing outside a googly from Rashid. I think he got an inside-edge, but England have decided to review.
40th over: South Africa 279-7 (Parnell 32, Magala 1) Archer, on a five-for, almost slips one through the new batter Magala, who is grateful to inside-edge his first ball for a single. Archer has the best figures of his short ODI career, 8-0-40-4.
WICKET! South Africa 278-7 (Klaasen c Duckett b Archer 80)
Jofra Archer is too good. England couldn’t wait any longer to bring him back, because they had to break this partnership, and it took Archer just four balls. Klaasen hoicked a slower short ball down to deep backward square, where Duckett swooped forward to take a good low catch.
Klaasen goes for a spectacular 62-ball 80, and now England are favourites again.
39th over: South Africa 274-6 (Klaasen 77, Parnell 32) Rashid returns, with a wicket in mind – but Klaasen has been brutal against spin all night and he monsters a short ball over midwicket for six before holding the pose. Parnell makes it a mighty over for South Africa – 17 from it - by driving the last ball down the ground for six more!
South Africa, who looked dead and buried when Jansen was dismissed, are now probably favourites. They need 73 from 66 balls.
38th over: South Africa 257-6 (Klaasen 70, Parnell 25) England’s two best bowlers today, Archer and Rashid, have three and two overs remaining respectively. Curran is in T20 mode, varying everything from pace to line to length to bowling-face grimace, but a good over – five singles from five balls – is tarnished when Klaasen clatters a low full toss between extra cover and mid off for four.
SMIYTYHTOB, but England need a wicket.
37th over: South Africa 248-6 (Klaasen 64, Parnell 22) This is a brave/interesting call from Buttler. Moeen Ali, whose only over went for 15, has been brought back into the attack.
Wrong! The second over was almost as expensive as the first, disappearing for 14. Klaasen dumped the first ball back over Moeen’s head for four, helped the third round the corner for another and then launched a big six over long-off to bring up the fifty partnership from only 36 balls.
36th over: South Africa 234-6 (Klaasen 50, Parnell 22) Sam Curran replaces Topley, who has been a peedie bit expensive (6-0-42-0). Mind you, every bowlsman has gone for at least five an over today. He restores a bit of order with an over that yields just five singles, the last of which takes Klaasen to a purposeful, muscular fifty from 48 balls. Well played.
35th over: South Africa 229-6 (Klaasen 47, Parnell 20) This seventh-wicket pair are rattling along. Parnell edges Woakes through the vacant slip cordon for four, the highlight of a nine-run over. South Africa need 118 from 90 balls.
“You’re getting a bit rattled at the prospect of an England win,” says John Starbuck. “The quiet over where the overall score didn’t move but the batters scored, and the batter who bowled at himself and took his own wicket. Such are the perils of even the most experienced OBO scribe.”
I’m surprised we don’t make more mistakes to be honest. Okay, I’m surprised I don’t.
34th over: South Africa 220-6 (Klaasen 46, Parnell 12) Parnell gets his first boundary, welting a short one from Topley through midwicket, and he repeats the stroke later in the over. I may have been premature in announcing that England were going to win an ODI. The run-rate certainly isn’t an issue; at this stage England were 181 for three.
33rd over: South Africa 209-6 (Klaasen 44, Parnell 3) Heinrich Klaasen hasn’t given this up. He goes after the new bowler Woakes, cudgelling two boundaries off the first three balls, and the usual singles make it 11 from the over.
32nd over: South Africa 198-6 (Klaasen 34, Parnell 2) Reece Topley replaces Jofra Archer, whose figures of 7-0-35-3 reflect a brilliant second day back at the office. A slower bouncer hits Parnell on the arm, and after another boundaryless over, the required rate jumps to 8.27 per over.
“I’m not sure I share your positive assessment of KP’s analytical abilities,” says Christian Miners. “He’s been warming up with some commentary on the SA20, and I found him even more irritating than Mike Haysman and Danny Morrison. At one point, a batter stepped away to leg, and carved the ball through point - off the line of middle stump. KP blamed the bowler for giving the batsman room outside off.”
I think he’s a mixture of the, a-hem, eccentric and the insightful. He can be so good when he gets into the nuts and bolts of batting – at heart he’s a big geek - and the book he did in 2015 is just fantastic. No batter has altered my mind as much as Pietersen, though, so I might be biased.
31st over: South Africa 194-6 (Klaasen 32, Parnell 1) “Totally understand the Woakes comments,” says Will Juba, “but my thoughts are that Curran gives you the six-hitting potential and ability to smash 40 from 25, which if coming in at No8 (as he is in my side) is more useful than a longer, innings with a lower strike-rate.
“Agree he’s a better new-ball bowler, but I’d go with Stokes to open assuming he’ll be tempted out of retirement (as in the T20 World Cup) where he can maximise any early swing, with Archer. And also think Curran can offer more at the end of the innings with the ball than Woakes. All this said, I love Woakes and always feel he’s been massively underrated in all formats. And here I am underrating him!”
I take your points, and Curran is certainly a lot better at the death than Woakes, but I think opening the bowling for one or two overs in T20 is a lot different to doing it in ODIs. Stokes has never taken the new ball in 105 ODIs.
One thing England need to eventually decide is what role players like Curran, Woakes and also Moeen Ali are going to play. Is Curran a 7 or an 8? What about Woakes, who ended up at 7 at the back end of the last World Cup? And is Moeen a 6 or a 7? I’m not sure Moeen bowls enough anymore to be a No7.
A lot depends on whether Stokes plays and therefore how many bowling options they have. My instinct is that they will end up with Curran at 7 and Moeen or Livingstone at 6, though it might vary depending on conditions. That might mean a slightly longish tail, but then the lower order did very little in 2019 anyway.
Fitness permitting, the team could be something like:
Brook (or Stokes)
Topley/Woakes (at No8 if he plays)
WICKET! South Africa 193-6 (Jansen c Buttler b Rashid 12)
Jansen has a wild slog-sweep at Rashid and gets a gossamer-thin edge through to Buttler. England are going to win a game of 50-over cricket.
30th over: South Africa 188-5 (Klaasen 31, Jansen 8) A quiet* over from Archer, four from it.
* Yes that is a euphemism.
29th over: South Africa 184-5 (Klaasen 29, Jansen 8) Jos Buttler goes in for the kill, bringing Rashid back into the attack. Jansen pings two breezy reverse sweeps for two and four, then inside-edges a slider onto the pads. That could easily have gone straight through him. South Africa need 162 from 126 balls. The run-rate isn’t a problem; the wickets might be.
28th over: South Africa 176-5 (Klaasen 28, Jansen 1) Almost another for Jofra Archer! Jansen fences his first ball low to slip, where Moeen Ali puts down a tricky low chance. Archer’s pace is consistently above 90mph now, and English cricket has a big hopeful smile on its face. Welcome back.
“I tried to ‘like’ your linked Twitter link that I lolled at,” says Ian Copestake, “but ended up having to sign in first and agree to a mortgage.”
Can I like that email? Why do you need the three digits on the back of my card?
WICKET! South Africa 174-5 (Miller c Buttler b Archer 13)
Jofra Archer has blown the bloody doors off! David Miller has gone, inside-edging a sharp, length delivery through to Buttler, and now England are strong favourites.
27th over: South Africa 174-4 (Klaasen 27, Miller 13) With the left-handed Miller at the crease, Moeen Ali comes into the attack with a slip in place. Miller accepts the challenge, scrunching the first ball through extra cover for four and then walloping a huge straight six. He’s in seriously good form at the moment.
26th over: South Africa 159-4 (Klaasen 24, Miller 1) The new batter is the master finisher, David Miller. He averages 79 in successful ODI chases, with a strike-rate of 118.
Archer’s figures are excellent in the context of such a high-scoring game: 5-0-30-2.
WICKET! South Africa 158-4 (Markram c Ali b Archer 39)
As if to order, Jofra Archer takes the wicket England needed. Markram clouts a length delivery miles in the air, and Moeen Ali steadies himself to make an awkward catch look easy.
25th over: South Africa 156-3 (Markram 38, Klaasen 23) Markram smacks the new bowler Topley back over his head for a majestic six. England really need a wicket, so here comes Jofra Archer.
“If you’ve got a first XI for the next World Cup without Woakes in it then you haven’t picked the best XI,” says Mike Daniels. “Woakes is the best new-ball bowler for England as well as being a good batter and excellent fielder. If you have Curran in before Woakes you’re weakening the team.”
My concern with Woakes is that he’ll be 34, with a dodgy knee. I suspect it’ll be decided by performances in the next few months. But I agree with you about the balance of the team – not sure Curran is that comfortable with the new ball in ODIs. I suspect it’s between Woakes and Topley rather than Woakes and Curran.
24th over: South Africa 147-3 (Markram 30, Klaasen 22) Klaasen heaves a pull for four, the first boundary Curran has conceded in three overs. He looks dangerous and has sped to 22 from 20 balls. South Africa are right in this game.
In other news, India have just walloped New Zealand by 168 runs – in a T20.
“Can’t help but feel that England with a patched-up side going into this series have suffered, in terms of results by a lack of warm-up games,” says Peter Rowntree. “As so often happens now in modern international series the tourists go into their games with no match practice before.
“Having said that I respect that this was a revised schedule series due to Covid and schedules are very busy these days. However, even a seasoned international pro like ‘Smudger’ has signed on for a few games with Sussex before the upcoming Ashes series, and I respect him for that.”
I suspect 99.94 per cent of cricket fans would agree with you, but warm-up games, like empathy and 174-ball half-centuries, belong to a quaint past.
23rd over: South Africa 139-3 (Markram 28, Klaasen 17) Markram is beaten trying to sweep a lovely delivery, but South Africa score off every other delivery. They have played Rashid well, scoring at six an over without taking many big risks; his figures are 6-0-34-1.
22nd over: South Africa 133-3 (Markram 24, Klaasen 15) Klaasen looks full of intent, bat raised like Graham Gooch in his no-nonsense pomp. Curran beats him with a short slower ball, and it’s a boundaryless over – six from it.
21st over: South Africa 127-3 (Markram 23, Klaasen 11) Excellent stuff from Klaasen, who belts consecutively deliveries from Rashid over midwicket for four and then two.
“Surely the England line-up for the World Cup,” begins Ian Copestake, “will feature one or two Chelsea players?”
20th over: South Africa 118-3 (Markram 22, Klaasen 3) South Africa are miles ahead on the comparison, such was England’s difficult start. Curran goes away the wicket to the new batter Heinrich Klaasen, who cuffs a pull that is half stopped by the sprawling Moeen at midwicket. That saved at least one run, maybe three, and there are only three singles from the over. South Africa need 229 from 180 balls.
Talking of Curran, here’s a lovely piece about two other white ball-leaning brothers who played for England and Surrey.
19th over: South Africa 115-3 (Markram 21, Klaasen 1) Though that was a fortunate wicket, Rashid has been England’s most threatening bowler. Later in the over Markram is surprised by a delivery that pops from the pitch and hits high on the bat.
WICKET! South Africa 112-3 (Hendricks b Rashid 52)
What an odd dismissal. Hendricks, moving outside leg stump, misses a routine work to leg at a ball that hits the inside of his left knee before deflecting between his legs and onto the stumps.
18th over: South Africa 110-2 (Hendricks 51, Markram 18) Sam Curran bustles in, his bowling face resembling that of an affronted gremlin, and it doesn’t improve any when Hendricks times a boundary through backward point. A single off the next ball takes him to a calm, well-placed fifty from 58 balls. He’s scored 36 from his 28 deliveries.
A decent over from South Africa becomes a terrific one when Markram lifts Curran high over midwicket for six. Fourteen from the over, and that’s drinks.
17th over: South Africa 92-2 (Hendricks 45, Markram 10) South Africa are taking few risks against Rashid at this stage, and he’s able to hurry through another over at a cost of just four. The required rate has moved up to 7.6 per over; nothing to worry about yet.
“Is it too early to discuss World Cup line ups for the first game in India?” says Will Juba. “Assuming not (why have a game that lasts so long if not so you can pontificate from so far out), here’s my proposal:
Malan (despite Roy’s century the other day, I think he’s lost some of his magic and, even though he’s always been ‘hit and miss’ I think his hits are in severe decline)
Bairstow (if recovered - Jacks as a bolter if not, partly for his spin option)
Buttler (c +)
Stokes (assuming he comes out of retirement - he will, won’t he?! If not Livingstone)
Curran (feels harsh on Woakes - whom I love - but he’s not quite as strong as Archer, lacks Wood’s pace, and doesn’t quite have the ‘something about him’ magic of Curran)
“You’ve then got Roy, Duckett (who you’d think would be ideal for Indian surfaces), Woakes, Topley and … Dawson (he’ll be reserve option until 2078 I’d have thought) as your backup squad members. Thoughts?”
I agree with most of that. I’m not sure about Malan in India, though he continues to confound us all and I’d have him slightly ahead of Roy at this stage. My main concern with your XI is that there aren’t enough new-ball bowlers. I’d say the only near-certainties for the team are Bairstow, Root, Buttler, Livingstone, Rashid and Wood.
If Stokes does come out of retirement, and I don’t think he will, I suspect he’ll be in competition with Brook rather than Livingstone. But Stokes aside I think your squad is about right, with maybe Jacks for one of the openers depending on how the next few months go. That said, a million things will change between now and then.
16th over: South Africa 92-2 (Hendricks 42, Markram 9) A quiet first over from Sam Curran, five singles from it. I say ‘quiet’, I didn’t see a ball as I was trying to prepare an email for the next over. But the commentators didn’t raise their voice, and that’s good enough for me.
15th over: South Africa 87-2 (Hendricks 39, Markram 7) Hendricks creams a flighted delivery from Rashid over extra cover for four, then edges just wide of the diving Moeen at slip for two. Rashid looks a threat.
14th over: South Africa 79-2 (Hendricks 32, Markram 6) There’s plenty of batting to come, not least the marvellous David Miller, but England will be thrilled to have removed South Africa’s two centurions in this series.
That said, Hendricks is playing well after a cautious start. He crunches a full ball from Archer whence it came for four, then smokes a pull stroke to the fence at midwicket.
Incidentally, we’ve just seen a graphic that says Archer’s average speed today is around 86.5mph. In the circumstances – two years out of international cricket, serious elbow and back injuries – that’s pretty good.
13th over: South Africa 68-2 (Hendricks 22, Markram 5) Adil Rashid is into the attack. His second ball is a perfect legspinner – perfect, I tell you – that rips past Hendricks’ tenative defensive stroke. Markram edges short of slip later in the over, so that’s a pretty encouraging start for Rashid. Two from the over.
12th over: South Africa 66-2 (Hendricks 21, Markram 4) This is Jofra Archer! Markram’s first ball is a zippy bouncer that rams into the shoulder as Markram takes evasive action.
Markram’s response is pretty glorious, though, a textbook on-drive for four next ball. Shot! “Goodness he’s got an opportunity here to get a hundred,” says KP, which is either a) an absurd comment about a man who has faced two balls or b) an insight into the mind of a ravenous genius. I’m going with b).
WICKET! South Africa 62-2 (van der Dussen c Roy b Archer 5)
We haven’t seen a speedgun reading, but Archer’s pace looks to be around mid-to-high 80s mph. That feeling is reinforced by the relative comfort with which Hendricks can sway out of the way of a very accurate bouncer.
Whatever Archer’s pace, he has just taken a vital wicket! Van der Dussen slices a drive to backward point, where Roy swoops to his left to take a terrific two-handed catch.
11th over: South Africa 60-1 (Hendricks 20, van der Dussen 4) Woakes continues. His length has been more consistent in the last few overs, and he’s bowling plenty of slower balls. Five singles from the over.
10th over: South Africa 55-1 (Hendricks 18, van der Dussen 1) The new batter Rassie van der Dussen, whose ODI average has dropped to 69.75 in recent times. Dropped to 69.75, I ask you. He gets off the mark with a single off Archer, who bowls five good balls… and then drops short and is clubbed through the covers for four by Hendricks.
9th over: South Africa 49-1 (Hendricks 12, van der Dussen 0) That was a good over from Woakes – four runs and a very welcome wicket.
WICKET! South Africa 49-1 (Bavuma c Topley b Woakes 35)
A really important wicket for England. The dangerous Bavuma is duped by a slower ball from Woakes and loops a drive to mid-off. He goes for 35 from 27 balls.
8th over: South Africa 45-0 (Bavuma 32, Hendricks 12) Jofra Archer replaces Reece Topley, whose opening spell of 3-0-19-0 has just been dismissed as “throwdowns” by Kevin Pietersen on Sky Sports.
Hendricks slugs a short ball for two, then swivel-pulls just short of the fielder at long leg. A decent start for Archer, albeit without much zing off the pitch.
7th over: South Africa 41-0 (Bavuma 31, Hendricks 9) Now Hendricks gets his first boundary, pinging Woakes through extra cover. This looks like hard yakka for England, with the early movement (and there wasn’t much of that) long gone. It’ll be interesting to see what Jofra can do when he comes on.
Bavuma ends another good over for South Africa by walloping Woakes’s slower ball to the cover fence. Not sure I’ve ever seen Bavuma back with such destructive certainty as he has in this series.
6th over: South Africa 32-0 (Bavuma 27, Hendricks 4) Bavuma continues to eat into the target with another high-class boundary, timed through the covers off Topley. He has 27 from 19 balls, Hendricks 4 from 17.
“Most wickets since 2019,” says Will Juba. “Is it David Wiley, sure he had some good figures in the series against Ireland and as he was described by one of the OBOers this series, he’s England’s ’great survivor’.”
You betcha – 32 wickets at 23, including a five-for against Ireland.
5th over: South Africa 24-0 (Bavuma 22, Hendricks 1) A maiden from Woakes to Hendricks, who is taking his time in an attempt to make the most of this rare opportunity.
The ball is coming on to the bat nicely, and - as on Sunday – this was a handy toss to win for South Africa. At this stage England were 12 for two, and they were about to be 14 for three.
4th over: South Africa 24-0 (Bavuma 22, Hendricks 1) Hendricks gets off the mark from his eighth delivery, clipping Topley for a single. He doesn’t need to hurry because Bavuma is batting like a dream. A sweetly timed push through point brings him four more, and then he punches a low full toss to the extra cover boundary. Bavuma has 22 from 16 balls; England need to remove the asterisk against his name quicksmart.
3rd over: South Africa 15-0 (Bavuma 14, Hendricks 0) Woakes drops a fraction short, and Bavuma flattens him over midwicket for six. That made such a sweet sound off the bat, a 7.3 on the Pontingometer. Bavuma gets four more off the last ball, flicking some leg-stump nonsense through midwicket.
“Adil Rashid?” says John Starbuck, responding to the question about who has most ODI wickets for England since the last World Cup. “On the grounds of not the most likely but usually in the side.”
Stephen Brown also suggested Rashid. The logic is sound, as only Moeen Ali and Jason Roy have played more ODIs in that period. But Rashid is second on the list with 29 wickets at an average of 40.
2nd over: South Africa 5-0 (Bavuma 4, Hendricks 0) Reece Topley shares the new ball. He had a brilliant 2022 in ODI cricket – 13 wickets at 16, including England’s best ODI figures – but started this year by going for 74 from nine overs at Bloemfontein.
His first over here is promising, with a hint of inswinging to the right-handers. Hendricks digs out a yorker, and there are only two runs – one off the bat, one for a leg-side wide.
1st over: South Africa 3-0 (Bavuma 3, Hendricks 0) A decent start from Woakes. Bavuma gets going with a cover drive for three off the second delivery – it would have been four but for some fine fielding by Archer – but then the recalled Reeza Hendricks is beaten by a beauty first ball.
Right, the players are back out on the field. Temba Bavuma has a bat, Chris Woakes has a ball. What happens next?
Quiz question (no cheating) Who has taken the most ODI wickets for England since the 2019 World Cup? The first person to email the correct answer wins an ephemeral and arguably misplaced surge of pride.
“Do you have any idea of England’s best bowling line-up?” asks Brendan Large. “I feel like the one today isn’t far off; whatever, they definitely need to start backing up the batters. I didn’t see the game on Sunday but seemed like a pretty weak defence of that total.”
If the first game of the World Cup was tomorrow, I think the attack would be something like: Archer, Topley, Wood, Rashid, Moeen or Curran and then Livingstone and the other occasional spinners. But I haven’t really thought about it, never mind looked at the data. And so much will change between now and October, not least because the three main quick bowlers all have injury issues.
Thanks Tanya, afternoon everyone. The good news for England is that, in 52 years of ODI cricket, they have only once failed to defend a target of 347; the bad news is that South Africa scored 347 (chasing 342) at Bloemfontein on Sunday. We’ll see. No point pretending any of us have a clue what’s going to happen. Nobody’s fooling anybody.
An awesome haul-back by England, after a sticky start on a tricky surface. Pitch perfect batting from Malan and Buttler, who didn’t panic, just worked through the difficult stuff then put their feet down. Excellent bowling by South Africa in the first ten ..
Thoughts from Dawid Malan in the break: “I felt so far behind the game I chanced my arm slightly early and got away with a few. Got a bit of momentum and then when Jos gets going it’s hard to stop him.”
The masterly Rob Smyth will take you through South Africa’s chase, thanks for all the messages. Bye!
England 346-7 (having been 20-3 off the first ten)
50th over: England 346-7 (Woakes 9, Adil Rashid 11) Magala is handed the final six balls. A full toss is rightfully wanged round the corner by Rashid for six onto the roof. No more boundaries but 14 pocketed from the over – including a non existent two off the final ball which is helped along by some sloppy fielding. Amazing acceleration there by England after a tricky first 15 where they trudged about in quicksand.
49th over: England 332-7 (Woakes 2, Adil Rashid 5) Ngidi at last gets some light relief, bowling at the new boys. Took a bit of welly in the second half of his spell, but was outstanding with the new ball. 4-62 from his ten.
48th over: England 328-7 (Woakes 2, Adil Rashid 1) Can the two new batters take England up to 350?
WICKET! S Curran b Jansen 11 (England 326-7)
A double wicket over for Jansen as he sends Curran on his way, crashing into his off stump.
WICKET! Buttler c Markram b Jansen 131 (England 315-6)
Taken down on his knees at long on by Markram after a welly too many, to the delight of some little boys in the crowd. The end of a sensational innings.
47th over: England 315-5 (Buttler 130, Sam Curran 1) Six off a no-ball and six off a free hit. Another MASSIVE no ball, another free hit which bowls Moeen. Ngidi finally gets his man but there is no celebration, just steam from his ears.
“Did you really write ‘reverse cowboy’ for Moeen?” asks John Starbuck. “You do know what kind of position that really is, I hope? Pretty difficult in a cricket match, though undoubtedly entertaining.” Google has now enlightened me. Please be assured this was NOT what I was trying to describe in my haste.
WICKET! Moeen Ali b Ngidi 41 (England 313-5)
A beauty of a yorker wriggles through Moeen’s legs and into leg stump. Off he marches, after serving up just what the doctor ordered.
46th over: England 299-4 (Buttler 130, Moeen Ali 29) Moeen tries tip and run, but is sent back as Jansen reaches down from the heavens in his follow through. A sedate four from the over.
45th over: England 295-4 (Buttler 127, Moeen Ali 27) It was all going rather well for Parnell this over until an unfortunate leg stump full toss is dispatched first class by Moeen Ali over square leg.
44th over: England 285-4 (Buttler 127, Moeen Ali 19) Er, runs, lots of them, splattered, around the grand hall: a hoik over deep midwicket for six by Moeen, six up and over like a crane on fast forward by Buttler and an incidental one-handed reverse lap by Moeen for naught.
43rd over: England 269-4 (Buttler 120, Moeen Ali 11) Fourteen off Parnell’s eight: a blousy, arty four from Moeen and a muscled six from Universe Jos.
42nd over: England 255-4 (Buttler 112, Moeen Ali 6) Moeen has the wildest of swings with the upper body, with stagnant boots, and misses. Survives a leaping Hendricks at cover who gets a palm to his cut, but can’t hold on.
That Malan-Buttler partership was worth 232 – the highest fourth-wicket stand for England in ODIs, and the fourth of all time behind Hales-Roy (256, 2016); Strauss-Trott (250, 2010) and Hales-Root (248, 2016).
41st over: England 250-4 (Buttler 110, Moeen Ali 4) An eventful over from Magala. Butler steps square and smears a slower ball for six. Malan’s classy innings closes on 118 – a textbook acceleration -before Moeen glides his first ball down to the rope.
WICKET! Malan c Klaasen b Magala 118 (England 246-4)
A swing too many, as Malan lays into a slower ball, sending it perpendicular, Klaasen calls for it and holds on as it dies into his gloves.
40th over: England 239-3 ( Malan 118, Buttler 103) The Butler-Malan express screams past the previous England record against South Africa held by Vikram Solanki and Marcus Trescothick. Bang! goes Malan as Ngidi disappears over the rope. A no ball isn’t the response Bavuma would have hoped for, though Malan can’t get hold of the free hit. Six more follow as Malan crashes square
Hundreds for Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler!
39th over: England 221-3 ( Malan 101, Buttler 104) A double century over – first Malan, whose first fifty runs came off 79 balls, and second fifty off 27, then Buttler. Both men remove their helmets – characteristically undemonstratively – though perhaps Buttler’s grin is slightly wider. And I seem to have gained an over from somewhere -apologies about that. Still, a bonus double 39th over.
39th over: England 214-3 ( Malan 99, Buttler 99) Magala The 200 partnership comes up, at less than a run a ball, and both men enter the final ten on 99 off 105 balls.
38th over: England 212-3 ( Malan 98, Buttler 98) A race to three figures: Buttler draws level with a cut off Ngidi, but loses the strike after a limbo dancing ramp. Malan hands the strike back, Butler returns the favour, and a slower ball finishes off the over. And very jolly the England pair look too.
37th over: England 205-3 ( Malan 95, Buttler 94) Magala holds the line – as the England 200 ticks over – until letting fly a wide off his final ball, followed by a full toss which Buttler pingos to the fence.
36th over: England 192-3 ( Malan 92, Buttler 88) A brief change of mood as Jansen sends two outside Buttler’s outside edge, and stops the boundary charge temporarily. A peanut butter and cinnamon sandwich arrives – I’m extremely grateful if not totally convinced by the combination.
35th over: England 190-3 ( Malan 90, Buttler 85) Buttler sticks out his backside and rounds on Markram’s last ball, panning it up and square and soaring over the ropes.
34th over: England 181-3 ( Malan 88, Buttler 78) 1! 6! 4! 6! 1! dot! Malan overtakes Buttler with an injection of aggression that leaves South Africa floundering.
33rd over: England 164-3 ( Malan 66, Buttler 76) Malan advances and flat-bat charges Markram’s final ball, ruining his otherwise miserly over.
32nd over: England 157-3 ( Malan 66, Buttler 76) Shamsi, suddenly leaking runs like an old bucket. Malan clubs six into the ozone layer and over long-on. Buttler, flatter, crepes another over midwicket, all brutal calm. In between they clatter up four quick singles. Operation acceleration has advanced the run rate to just under five.
Fifty for Dawid Malan!
31st over: England 141-3 ( Malan 58, Buttler 68) Wham, Bam, Malan – a kneeled welly of a whooping six to bring up his half century and four more through backward point. A hard working fifty, with bonus points for timely acceleration. And on they come with the freezer bags for drinks.
30th over: England 129-3 ( Malan 47, Buttler 67) The commentators don’t think the pitch is going to be any easier to bat once South Africa get their turn. A leading edge – and put down – as Shamsi unfurls from his crabbed bowling action to dive to his right but can’t hold onto Malan’s flick.
29th over: England 127-3 ( Malan 46, Buttler 66) Parnell isn’t proving the easy pickings that England might have hoped for – though, as I type, Malan inside edges past the stumps, past the keeper and down to the rope.
28th over: England 119-3 ( Malan 41, Buttler 63) Buttler flambees Shamsi - over the top and out of the ground. Easy as you like.
27th over: England 110-3 ( Malan 39, Buttler 56) Is Parnell going to be the milking man? Not this over – just three singles – but Buttler and Malan look perfectly at ease. The beauty of their dominance over the recent years – excluding the last six months – is that you always assume they have something up their sleeve.
26th over: England 108-3 ( Malan 38, Buttler 55) Shamsi is shuffled off the pads by Buttler to the rope.
25th over: England 102-3 ( Malan 36, Buttler 51) Tighter from Magala, after sending down a wide first up. I think we’re just working through the stodgy part of that novel that you’d wouldn’t mind skipping over.
“Hi Tanya,” Finbar Anslow, hello! “My wife has just philosophically remarked that you can’t have the kids happy, no unpaid bills, good weather and your cricket team going well, all at the same time. Apparently there’s some cosmic law preventing it.”
Does that mean there were a lot of unpaid phone bills in Australia in the 1990s-early 2000s?
Fifty for Jos Buttler!
24th over: England 98-3 ( Malan 34, Buttler 50) Buttler clocks up yet another fifty, yet another rescue job, and England’s position is suddenly looking a lot more healthy. Through the dressing room door we see next man in Moeen Ali, one leg folded on top of another, relaxed gum chewing.
23rd over: England 95-3 ( Malan 32, Buttler 49) Some smart fielding by Malan at extra-cover prevents a drive reaching the rope as Buttler eases into peak Buttler. Four through midwicket and suddenly it’s ten off Magala’s over – who is proving somewhat expensive.
Hello Simon Begley. “I wrote this An Ode To Eoin - The Full Toss for a mate’s blog a couple of years ago. I was a little surprised by his numbers when I researched it (March 2021). I think Morgan’s captaincy overshadows just how good a batsman he was.” So true.
“Before the 2015 World Cup, Morgan averaged 29.4 in T20s and 36.5 in ODIs. Since then? 31.3 and 43.6. He’s played 219 ODIs for England and scored 6,854 runs at 40. Only eight England players in history have a higher average. None have more appearances or runs. He’s played 100 T20s, scoring 2,306 runs at 30.3. Again, no England player has more appearances or runs. Of those who’ve played more than 25 games, only KP has a better average (37.9 in 37 games).”
22nd over: England 85-3 ( Malan 30, Buttler 41) Left arm wrist spin from Tabraiz Shamsi almost brings instant reward as Buttler pulls and Hendricks flies skyward but can only parry with his fingertips – instantly disappearing off the field for running repairs to the hand.
21st over: England 80-3 ( Malan 27 , Buttler 39) Seven ticked off Magala’s over, as the rebuild skips into fast forward. Malan, correct, watchful, careers four away through the covers.
20th over: England 73-3 ( Malan 23 , Buttler 36) Malan and Buttler have now plugged fully into the circuit. Four – ding a ling- over Markram’s head by Buttler, and Malan slides a reverse sweep through backward point.
19th over: England 61-3 ( Malan 15 , Buttler 29) Magala, built like a tank, keeps Buttler from building on the boundary momentum. A great stop by Bavuma cuts off a promising Malan drive.
18th over: England 57-3 ( Malan 15 , Buttler 29) I think Markram might be the marked man – Buttler lights the touch paper on an over pitched ball and launches it 90 plus metres over the rope.
17th over: England 49-3 ( Malan 14 , Buttler 23) A veritable boundary, as Buttler eyes up one fired on his pads and eases it away for four. Magala chews his gum back to his mark. And a tasty shot to finish, driven, with style, for a couple more. The current run rate is 2.88 an over.
16th over: England 40-3 ( Malan 14 , Buttler 15) The miserly Parnell continues, and drinks have neither provided England with any extra zip, nor made the pitch any more agreeable.
15th over: England 40-3 ( Malan 14 , Buttler 14) At last some proper crowd shots at what is apparently a sold-out Kimberley ground. Lots of Barmy army football flags, plenty of sun umbrellas protecting pasty northern-hermisphere winter skin from the lunchtime sun. Ngidi rolls through another smart over, in a divine pair of mint velcro cricket boots. DRINKS!
14th over: England 37-3 ( Malan 12 , Buttler 13) Some outstanding fielding at deep square leg by Miller nearly does for Buttler who charges back for the second and scrambles his bat down as Klaasen removes the bails. The third umpire slows the pictures down enough to grasp that the panting Buttler has just made his crease.
13th over: England 32-3 ( Malan 12 , Buttler 8) Ngidi switches ends, running towards the gorgeous trees this times. Four singles knocked off easily enough, nothing risky.
Ah, here you are, Simon Hughes was quick enough to take a screen-shot:
12th over: England 28-3 ( Malan 10 , Buttler 6) It’s all very sedate, a couple of singles off Parnell. Stone by stone, brick by brick.
Sky just put up a list of England’s leading ODI run-scorers and I’m blown away by the fact that Eoin Morgan is at the top. Is that just me?
11th over: England 26-3 ( Malan 9 , Buttler 5) Jansen continues into his sixth over, his long legs scooting over the turf. After 13 balls without scoring, Buttler at last shimmies one away through the covers and over the rope. Mark Nicholas tells KP that he has exactly the same strike-rate as Joe Root.
10th over: England 20-3 ( Malan 8, Buttler 0) Bavuma makes the first switch with Parnell replacing the dangerous Ngidi. Malan can’t do anything substantial with the over, wafts uneasily at his fifth, and picks up a single at the last. That’s the end of the power play, England’s position is sub-optimal.
9th over: England 19-3 ( Malan 7, Buttler 0) Still just the one boundary this morning, after a tidy drive from Malan is scooped up just inside the rope.
8th over: England 16-3 ( Malan 4, Buttler 0) Ngidi continues to make things tricky for England, fast and bouncy, on a wicket that the commentators are calling “tacky” – and certainly isn’t being kind to a batting line-up with things on their mind. Root and Bairstow will be waiting to slip back into this team come the English summer.
“A veritable carnival of farm animals in the England line-up,” writes Colum Fordham “featuring rabbits and the lesser spotted golden Duckett.”
7th over: England 15-3 ( Malan 3, Buttler 0) Spotlessly clean and on point by Jansen, who I imagine folds his clothes immaculately and puts them in a those vacumn packed bags for storage.
6th over: England 14-3 ( Malan 2, Buttler 0) Dog’s breakfast of a start by England. Still, good to have a challenge. Ngidi now has three for seven in his back pocket and very happy he looks too.
WICKET! Brook c Klaasen b Ngidi 6 (England 14-3)
King, queen, jack! Brook joins Roy and Duckett back in the shady glade of the dugout after an ugly, iron booted jab, which goes nowhere but through to the grateful Klaasen. Three for seven for the very impressive Ngidi.
5th over: England 12-2 ( Malan 2, Brook 4) Not much room for manoeuvre from Jansen either, cruising in on the stumps. Malan nips off nought to his eleventh ball with a drive, and England are very grateful for another Jansen wide.
“When you said ‘rabbits’ this morning,” writes Andrew Cosgrove, “were you referring to England’s top order?”
4th over: England 9-2 ( Malan 0, Brook 4) Brook shoulders arms at the hat-trick ball then wobbles somewhat to the next which zooms in on the pads. But normal service is resumed as he eyes up the last , over-pitched and shining, and flays it through the covers for four.
WICKET! Duckett c Klassen b Ngidi 0 (England 5-2)
Ngidi on a hat-trick after Duckett sticks his bat out horizontally but without conviction and top edges through to Klaasen behind the stumps. Hmmm, not the ideal start.
3rd over: England 5-1 (Duckett 0, Malan 0) A couple of leg byes, a wonky wide and a decent lbw shout against Duckett. Jansen induces an inside edge with his last ball.
2nd over: England 2-1 (Duckett 0, Malan 0): Ngidi throws himself a few catches before powering in from the Samarai Road End. He squeals one past Jason Roy as he charges into a drive. Roy then has a fly at the next one as well, and fails to make contact. Third time feels somewhat inevitable.
Good morning, Tanya. John Starbuck!
Did you say ‘Rabbits’ today? It’s not supposed to work unless you say ‘Hares’ last thing on the night before.
“Anyway, I’m primed with coffee for today’s play which, although the series itself has gone, will hopefully allow England to break the losing game sequence. What can you recommend they do, apart from ‘play better cricket’?”
I did say “rabbits” but I didn’t know about “hares.”
WICKET! Roy c Bavuma b Ngidi (England 2-1)
Jason Roy gives himself a what looks like a foul- mouthed telling off after taking a cocksure stride and chipping Ngidi to cover. He’d been beaten by the previous two balls.
1st over: England 1-0 (Roy 1, Malan 0) Jansen with the new ball, blue skies, little fluffy clouds, two slips, moustached bowler, stubbly batter, five dots.
Here’s a fab piece (thanks to Rob for pointing it out) on how little England’s best ODI team have played together since the greatestTM match of all time.
A masterclass from Nasser on Harry Brook. “Look at his knees, he is much lower in his stance to a spinner than to a quick bowler.” Athers and Nasser dish up spoonfuls of praise, but Athers suggests that he might find it easier on the flat pitches of the subcontinent than on bouncier pitches – his record in the Big Bash isn’t as good as in the PSL.
Tom Curran steps back from red ball cricket
Surrey have announced that Sam Curran’s older brother Tom is going taking an indefinite break from red ball cricket to prioritise his mental and physical health after a run of injuries.
“The last couple of years have not been easy for me. I have had a lot of time and this isn’t a decision that I’ve taken lightly,” said Curran.
“Some choices in life I don’t think you will ever be 100% sure and this is definitely one of those. But where I find myself at this exact moment, I feel like it is the right decision for my body and for my mental health.
“I’m definitely not ruling out playing red ball cricket again in the future, and I feel like I have unfinished business in this format for both Surrey and England. But until I can feel 100% committed and confident in my body to be performing day in and day out for Surrey in the County Championship, I feel that putting all my time and focus into on our Vitality Blast campaign this year is the right thing to do.
“I know it is not ideal news for everyone at Surrey and our fans. But I wanted to say a truly heartfelt thank you to Alec Stewart for the support and understanding of my decision. Surrey has given me everything and is my home. I love it very much and my hope is everyone else will see and understand my decision as he has done.”
He made his maiden first-class century against Northants last summer.
Teams: South Africa – three changes!
South Africa XI: Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), David Miller, Marco Jansen, Wayne Parnell, Sisanda Magala, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi.
No De Kock. after his hand injury in the last game, Maharaj and Nortje also miss out. Hendricks, Shamsi and Magala return..
Teams: England - Jofra returns!
England XI: Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Ben Duckett, Harry Brook, Jos Buttler (c, wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, S Curran, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Reece Topley.
Olly Stone sits back on the bench.
South Africa win the toss and will bowl
More luck with the coin for Bavuma! Looks hot and sunny out there.
Good morning, farewell January and a very happy February 1 to you all. This mini-series between South Africa winds up in the shoulder pads and glitter of diamond-mining town Kimberley. South Africa hold a surprise 2-0 lead after following up their first win with a barnstorming run chase at Bloemfontein on Sunday, inspired by a hundred from Temba Bavuma.
Another win today would shuffle South Africa up to eighth in the World Cup Super League table, meaning they escape the ignominy of the World Cup playoffs in Zimbabwe. England, currently lying fourth, are in mid-winter slump – five losses in a row, their worst ODI run since 2014. There are mitigating factors – that losing run includes the ODI--series-no-one-wanted-to-play in December against Australia, plus all joint-honours players being away on Test duties – but Jos Buttler will want to garnish those two lonely wins England have notched up since he took over properly after the run-tastic trip to the Netherlands.
It should be fun – and the recovered Phil Salt and rested Jofra Archer are in the mix to play. It all starts at 11am GMT, hope you can make it.