Deadly Dernbach ensures the post-Strauss era starts with bang

South Africa 211 England 212-6 (England win by four wickets)

The Oval

It may be much too soon to start trilling about fresh beginnings, the promising way ahead and all that guff. But England, in their first match of what is a definitely a new era, did what had seemed increasingly improbable and defeated South Africa last night.

Despite an attack of the jitters as the finishing line approached – Mo Farah it was not – and slowing their run rate to a funereal pace by the end, they did so convincingly enough, winning the third one-day international by four wickets to bring the NatWest Series level at 1-1.

Rather ridiculously, England now resume top place in the ICC one-day rankings, a position they should never have held but may now hold on to if they can win one of the two remaining matches.

More importantly, this victory under Alastair Cook in his first time out as the newly appointed Test captain will have infused a confidence and belief that must have been ebbing away. England dismissed the tourists for 209 in 46.4 overs with a splendidly disciplined bowling performance and then reached the target with two overs left. Any more and they might have fallen short.

The crucial innings was played by Eoin Morgan. His 73 from 67 balls with seven fours, two sixes and abundant precise placement was almost casually thrilling. Jonathan Trott made 71 from 125 balls but, although it was measured well enough, it was a confused innings by the end in which he played himself out of form, was out with five needed and did little to allay the suspicions of those who do not consider Trott to be the most selfless player around. Given the target was so modest, his rate mattered not.

If the tourists could reflect on an indifferent batting exhibition, this was a significant victory for England.

The past few weeks have been fraught with the Kevin Pietersen imbroglio and the retirement of the revered Andrew Strauss as the Test captain two days before this match. Maybe they did this in Strauss's memory, maybe for Cook as the new overall boss. And for Pietersen, of course.

How well England's amended bowling attack responded. Their preferred XI was a surprise, containing as it did both James Tredwell, called into the squad for the rested Graeme Swann, and Jade Dernbach, who nosed ahead of Chris Woakes in the pecking order.

It was, however, the familiar figure of Jimmy Anderson who took four wickets in an ODI for the 11th time. Anderson has bowled better often previously this summer and gone unrewarded.

Sometimes last night he looked tired – it has been another long season – but he swept aside the tail at the end. This was for all the times he has missed the edge and he eschewed that option by bowling three of his victims and having the other lbw.

Tredwell acquitted himself wonderfully. He usually does. He is destined to play his international career in the shadow of others, especially Swann, but each time he has been summoned as cover he has raised the status of the profession of solid county cricketer, who knows his job and does it without frills.

As for Dernbach, he has frills galore, from the multi-tattooed arms to the breathtaking bowling variations. Unlucky though Woakes may have been to be overlooked again, Dernbach was perhaps chosen because he knows the conditions so well on his home ground. Nothing he did disproved that contention.

Both Tredwell's wickets were typical for an off-spinner in one-day cricket, persuading batsmen to go for broke and in both cases just underclubbing to the straight boundary.

South Africa began at a lick and the first few overs promised worrying times for England. After essaying the scene, Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith garnered seven fours in quick time and reached 50 by the ninth over.

Smith then played a shot which could be said to have led to all that followed. His old-fashioned swing across the line looked the worse for being completely deceived in the flight. He was the first of six men to be bowled.

But still, the man whose wicket England needed, and have needed all summer, was there looking resplendent and despite any similarity whatever, bringing to mind the old-time radio comic, Tommy Handley.

Amla was indeed that man again. He had made his way with consummate splendour – he has looked easier on the eye with every visit to the crease this summer – to 43 and looked set for plenty more as usual when he played only half forward to Dernbach and as the ball cut in it took an inside edge on to the stumps.

His departure sent a dose of adrenalin and confidence surging through England. This was the chap they wanted. They really knew then that they could win at last.

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower