Cricket: South Africa seal emphatic victory

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The Independent Online

An incisive batting display from South Africa helped them bounce back from defeat in the opening Twenty20 international against England to seal an emphatic 84-run victory at Centurion.

A world-record 170-run opening partnership from Graeme Smith (88) and Loots Bosman (94) helped the hosts reach a massive 241 for six - the second highest 20-over total ever - before disciplined bowling helped restrict the tourists to 157 for eight.

There were some reasons for encouragement for England though, in particular the return of Kevin Pietersen who made 29 in his first innings since his return from an Achilles injury.

Jonathan Trott also hit a half-century, but the writing seemed to be on the wall early on after a monumental batting display by Smith and Bosman, who surpassed the previous 145 mark set by West Indies batsmen Chris Gayle and Devon Smith in 2007.

England began their reply positively enough reaching 20 after three overs, but Yusuf Abdulla got Joe Denly as the Kent man attempted an off-side drive which uprooted his off-stump for a run-a-ball 14.

Trott slogged the first six off Roelof van der Merwe over midwicket in the ninth over - by the same stage the hosts had already clobbered nine maximums.

Stand-in skipper Alastair Cook eventually ended his 21-ball stay when he pulled Albie Morkel (two for 35) straight to Van der Merwe at mid-on for 26, bringing Pietersen to the crease as he and Trott took their side to the halfway stage at 68 for two.

The pair tried desperately to revive momentum, with the 100 brought up in the 14th over.

Trott lifted Ryan McLaren away for a six over square-leg to bring up his 50 from 38 balls - the same stroke also raising the 50 stand - but he was out not long after when he skied Morkel to debutant wicketkeeper Heino Kuhn.

Pietersen faced 19 balls before he was eventually out while trying a switch-hit against Van der Merwe, while Eoin Morgan (10) and Luke Wright (12) perished cheaply as South Africa squared the series with an easy win.