Collingwood's grand day crushes spirit of Proteas

South Africa 250-9 England 252-3

The master and the apprentice carried England blissfully to victory yesterday. It was a stirring duet. Paul Collingwood, in his record-breaking 171st one-day match, and Jonathan Trott – in only his second, but playing as if it was his 171st – shared a third-wicket partnership of 162, which allowed England to take a 1-0 lead in this five-match series against South Africa.

Collingwood made an unbeaten 105 from 110 balls, his fifth one-day hundred, while Trott was caught on the boundary for 87 when a maiden limited-overs ton was there for the taking. England won by seven wickets with 24 balls remaining, dealing a crushing blow to South Africa, who might have thought their 250-9 gave them a chance.

It was entirely fitting that Collingwood played the most prominent role in the match which saw him surpass Alec Stewart to become England's most capped one-day player. He showed every single facet of the skills which have made him so prodigious. Before his typically adroit batting, he produced a tricky bowling spell, which brought two wickets and confounded the opposition, and a catch of stunning athleticism at backward point.

This was, astonishingly, considering the difference in rankings between the sides, England's sixth successive one-day defeat of South Africa, and their second at Centurion in a few weeks. It was Collingwood who helped propel them to an unexpected win on the last occasion, in the Champions Trophy, when he made 82 in a third-wicket stand of 163 with Owais Shah. Until its conclusion, his innings this time was not quite as exhilarating. But it was full of characteristic touches, prods and nurdles. On a pitch that was not completely to be trusted for most of the day, he struck his first boundary off his 40th ball. There were to be six more, as well as two sixes, as he accelerated in the latter stages.

Trott was as impressive. He too demonstrated his all-round credentials, bowling seven overs as England decided they must take the pace off the ball, and conceded only 21 runs. Then promoted to open the innings after Joe Denly had not produced the necessary form in the warm-up matches, he was measured and controlled. The early departures of Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen did not disturb him and, taking his lead from Collingwood, he set about accumulating. It was important at that stage that England did not shed wickets, which had been South Africa's big mistake.

Trott, as his wont, employed the bottom hand, but offered little or no chance until his 119th ball. Make no mistake, as a player born and brought up in South Africa, he will get up the opposition's pipes for the rest of this winter and, as if his runs yesterday were not enough, he was also given a warning by the umpires for time-wasting while batting.

It might have been caused by nerves (otherwise well-concealed), but his preparations at the crease did seem a touch elaborate. He will have to watch it: had he been warned again, England would have been docked five runs.

England would have been delighted to win the toss. The heavy rain in Pretoria left moisture in the pitch and the Sunday sunshine inevitably improved the surface as the day went on. There was also the incontrovertible fact that, in 25 previous day-time limited-overs match at Centurion, 17 had been won by the side batting second, including 12 of the last 13. It was not the match to risk trying to defend a total.

In the event, England did not bowl effectively early on, with their attack leader Jimmy Anderson having an uninspired day. However, Tim Bresnan snaffled Graeme Smith early, inducing him to open the face slightly at a ball outside off-stump to be comfortably caught by Andrew Strauss at second slip.

It was not otherwise a happy match for Strauss in the field, dropping three chances at short cover, two of them sitters. Collingwood, by contrast, took a lip-smacking catch at backward point, diving sharply to his left to hold on to a full-blooded cut from AB De Villiers.

Each time South Africa seemed as though they might be establishing a platform from which to launch an assault, they lost wickets. Both Hashim Amla – drafted in as opener for the injured Jacques Kallis, who will miss the series with a broken rib – and JP Duminy got out carelessly when well set.

The pitch was always likely to ease, but England have lost from many similar positions. Strauss again looked in resplendent form until he got himself into a tangle against Charl Langeveldt and was caught off a leading edge before Pietersen essayed an unfeasible hoick. It only cleared the way for Collingwood, who might have had plenty to reflect on, but never looked back.

South Africa v England: Centurion scoreboard

England won toss

SOUTH AFRICA

......... Runs......... 6s......... 4s......... Bls

H Amla c Strauss b Collingwood......... 57......... 0......... 6......... 72

*G Smith c Strauss b Bresnan......... 12......... 0......... 2......... 21

A de Villiers c Collingwood b Anderson......... 2......... 0......... 0......... 10

J Duminy c Prior b Wright......... 42......... 1......... 5......... 47

A Petersen b Bresnan......... 64......... 1......... 5......... 65

R McLaren c Prior b Anderson......... 5......... 0......... 0......... 13

A Morkel c Morgan b Collingwood......... 6......... 0......... 0......... 12

†M Boucher not out......... 30......... 0......... 2......... 37

R van der Merwe c Bresnan b Anderson......... 5......... 0......... 0......... 9

D Steyn c Trott b Mahmood......... 12......... 1......... 0......... 11

C Langeveldt not out......... 6......... 0......... 1......... 4

Extras (lb 3, w 5, nb 1)......... 9

Total (9 wkts, 50 overs)......... 250

Fall: 1-27, 2-38, 3-111, 4-131, 5-155, 6-165, 7-205, 8-222, 9-241.

Bowling: P Collingwood 6-0-24-2, J Anderson 10-0-60-3, T Bresnan 10-0-46-2, L Wright 7-0-28-1, S Mahmood 7-0-41-1, J Trott 7-0-21-0, A Rashid 3-0-27-0.

ENGLAND

......... Runs......... 6s......... 4s......... Bls

J Trott c Amla b Langeveldt......... 87......... 0......... 8......... 119

*A Strauss c de Villiers b Langeveldt......... 16......... 0......... 3......... 26

K Pietersen b Morkel......... 4......... 0......... 1......... 7

P Collingwood not out......... 105......... 2......... 7......... 110

E Morgan not out......... 27......... 1......... 4......... 18

Extras (lb 1, w 8, nb 4)......... 13

Total (3 wkts, 46 overs)......... 252

Fall: 1-28, 2-45, 3-207.

Did not bat: †M J Prior, L J Wright, T T Bresnan, A U Rashid, S I Mahmood, J M Anderson.

Bowling: C Langeveldt 10-0-46-2, A Morkel 5-0-26-1, J Duminy 4-0-17-0, R McLaren 8-0-43-0, R van der Merwe 9-0-55-0, D Steyn 10-0-64-0.

Umpires: B G Jerling & R J Tucker (Aus)

TV replay umpire : M Erasmus

Match referee: J Srinath (India)

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