Cricket: England win but Ndima exposes bowling attack

England 274-5 Gauteng Invitation XI 236-9 England win by 38 runs: Tudor and Swann still struggle to master South African pitches but Maddy gives encouraging performance as opener

MISSIONARY WORK in Africa was always a dangerous vocation, and England's visit to the cricketing backwater of Lenasia was not without its cassock ruffling. Pitted against a Gauteng Invitation XI that included five non-whites, England won by 38 runs but only after Solly Ndima, who made a quickfire 52, and Zander de Bruyn, with 82, had given them a scare.

It was Ndima's first real exposure to cricket above club level and he took his chance with relish. Uncowed by either reputation or occasion he took the attack to England after his side had been reduced to 83 for 4 by Chris Silverwood, who removed both Sven Koenig and Geoffrey Toyana in the space of four balls.

Announcing his intentions with a six off Michael Vaughan, after a brief period of playing himself in, Ndima, who plays for the Soweto Cricket Club, continued his assault with a brace of cover-drive fours after Graeme Swann had drifted wide outside off stump.

His savagery caught England cold and when the acting captain, Alec Stewart, brought back Darren Gough, the now confident Ndima climbed into him with relish, including one boundary through mid-on that hit pad then bat.

Before people get the impression that Ndima was simply discovered one day knocking up with some mates in a dusty corner of Soweto, it should be pointed out that the township programmes of mini-cricket begun by Dr Ali Bacher are now 14 years old.

Ndima, now 22, is a product of that, though his obvious talent was given further opportunity to bloom when he won a cricket scholarship to Parktown Boys High, a prestigious school in Johannesburg.

As part of ongoing development programmes now in place, he was also given Dean Laing, a Gauteng stalwart, as a mentor to receive one-to-one coaching. It has clearly worked and coming in after Darren Maddy's brilliant stop and throw had run out Laing for nought, the pupil showed the teacher how it should be done.

It might have been full marks too had not a rush of blood intervened. Just as he and De Bruyn had got England doubting themselves, a wild hoick at Andy Flintoff splayed his stumps.

His departure was not a mortal blow and De Bruyn, a talented all-rounder took up the challenge with a series of lofted fours. With 45 needed from 32 balls, De Bruyn would still have had the match in his sights, but a slower ball from Gough, who finished with 3 for 52, deceived him and his fine effort ended in Flintoff's hands at deep midwicket.

Considering this was a weakened Gauteng side, England's performance was not without its problems and Gough, Silverwood and Flintoff apart, the bowling did not shine. On slow flat pitches, you have to bowl at the stumps, a tactic most chose to ignore.

On surfaces like that, batsmen tend to dominate and England's, led by Flintoff and Maddy, were rarely troubled. But if Flintoff was top scorer with an unbeaten 79, it was Maddy who played the better knock.

Opening the innings, after England had been put in to bat, the Leicestershire player showed little sign that he had become atrophied on a diet of nets and 12th man duties. Timing the ball sweetly on the placid pitch, Maddy outscored his partner Mark Butcher, striking a memorable straight six off Clive Eksteen, as the pair added 117 for the first wicket.

It is a stroke one rarely associates with Maddy and its audacity probably surprised even him. It probably contributed to his downfall too, and his dismissal, a brilliant catch by Johnson Mafa at long off, was surely a case of too much adrenalin. Not long after, Butcher followed him for 47, a wicket that allowed Chris Adams, who eventually made 37, to join the hulking Flintoff.

Mistiming his early efforts, it was not long before Flintoff was entertaining a noisy crowd, the largest so far outside the Test match, with his colourful hitting. Indeed of those who got to the crease, only Swann failed, though there was barely an over left, when he was lbw to his first ball.

Lenasia does not often get to see touring teams, and Pakistan were the only previous side to play here. Apparently the name means land of the Asians, a moniker coined after whole communities were forced to move here from central Johannesburg following the notorious Group Areas Act of the 1970s.

If the place now resembles a middle-class Indian suburb in any mid-sized town in Africa, back then it was little more than scrubland. Indeed, the curiously named but thriving Tasmanians cricket club, where England played yesterday, has only been here 10 years.

It may not sound long, but with the pace of change here quickening, it appears to be long enough for the best to get noticed. Just ask Solly Ndima.

Gauteng Invitation XI won toss

ENGLAND

M A Butcher c Street b De Bruyn 47

D L Maddy c Mafa b De Bruyn 60

A Flintoff not out 79

C J Adams b Hall 37

*A J Stewart b Hall 21

G P Swann lbw b Hall 0

C M W Read not out 7

Extras (lb9, w8, nb6) 23

Total (for 5, 50 overs) 274

Fall: 1-117, 2-121, 3-204, 4-258, 5-258.

Did not bat: M P Vaughan, A J Tudor, C E W Silverwood, D Gough.

Bowling: Masimula 8-0-45-0; Mafa 4-0-26-0; Eksteen 10-2-33-0; Hall 8- 0-35-3; De Bruyn 8-0-50-2; Abowath 8-0-39-0; Laing 4-0-37-0.

GAUTENG INVITATION XI

S G Koenig c Read b Silverwood 10

A J Hall c Read b Tudor 48

G Toyana lbw b Silverwood 0

Z de Bruyn c Flintoff b Gough 82

D R Laing run out 0

S Ndima b Flintoff 52

M Street c Read b Silverwood 8

*C E Eksteen c Adams b Gough 6

A Abowath c Read b Gough 5

W B Masimula not out 4

J T Mafa not out 2

Extras (b2, lb3, w1, nb13) 19

Total (for 9, 50 overs) 236

Fall: 1-31, 2-31, 3-80, 4-83, 5-177, 6-210, 7-220, 8-230, 9-230.

Bowling: Gough 10-0-48-3; Silverwood 10-2-45-3; Tudor 10-0-46-1; Swann 10-0-49-0; Vaughan 2-0-10-0; Flintoff 6-1-18-1; Maddy 2-0-15-0.

Umpires: Satish Javan and Goolam Matwadia.

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