England promise a better fight

Strauss rises above South African jibes as his side aim to prove stiffer opposition on the site of previous one-day disasters

England have never won a one-day series in South Africa. Three previous attempts in the past 14 years have ended in outright failure, accompanied by the conclusion that the team were going nowhere and needed restructuring.

Too often in that period England sides have looked as if they were cobbled together by a bunch of cowboy builders rather than assembled, piece by confident piece, by a team of designers who knew what they were doing. There has always been the promise that England will have a regularly competitive one-day team one day. One day, some day, never.

When the latest series of five matches begins here today – if the heavy African rain which has persisted for two days should relent – the tourists will as usual start as outsiders. They trail by a distance in the ICC rankings and, unlike South Africa, have yet to produce a sustained sequence of positive, planned and successful cricket.

Yet there is some reason to believe that England can give South Africa a decent game in the next two weeks when the one-day caravan will go from Johannesburg and Centurion, down to the south coast at Cape Town and Port Elizabeth before finishing in the east at Durban.

If they are defeated there should not be clarion calls for change. Some thought has gone into this squad. It is impossible to agree with every choice and some new and recalled players have yet to make a convincing case. But at least it has been picked with a deliberate policy based on audacity and aggression and the 2011 World Cup in mind.

South Africa have also tweaked their options with a view to what is to come, quietly letting go the stalwarts Herschelle Gibbs and Makhaya Ntini.

It would have been helpful to England's cause to play their first-choice team today. But, as with all England tours, various joints and muscles appeared to surrender almost as soon as they hit foreign soil. Stuart Broad, whose shoulder has stubbornly refused to accept that injections are meant to do it good, and Graeme Swann, who has an intercostal injury of the sort which invariably provokes sagacious, knowing shakes of the head to indicate just how tricky it might be to clear up, will both miss the first two matches of the series.

There is much more optimism about the prospects of Paul Collingwood, who stands to break Alec Stewart's one-day caps record for England if his back recovers, and Jimmy Anderson, whose knee problem is said to be no more than a niggle. But then optimism about England cricketers has been so often misplaced that a degree of scepticism is inevitable.

James Tredwell, who took 69 first-class wickets for Kent last summer, making him the leading English bowler in the County Championship, as well 14 in one-day matches, has been called into the squad as cover. So, too, has Liam Plunkett, the Durham fast bowler.

Neither is likely to play today, especially as Tredwell arrived only yesterday and could not bowl because of the weather. But the captain, Andrew Strauss, did not entirely exclude the possibility. If Adil Rashid's leg-spin were to be overlooked in favour of Tredwell's off-spin, England would find it extremely hard to justify it merely because of South Africa's top-order left-handers.

It would lend credence to the view of the South Africa coach, Mickey Arthur, that England were not showing faith in Rashid. Not that Strauss was going down that road yesterday, instead following the credo of the team's coach, Andy Flower.

"When you come to South Africa you expect things to be said in the press," Strauss said. "No doubt there will be more of it as this tour develops. We've always refrained from making big comments about the opposition because the world is round and they can come back to haunt you pretty quickly."

If England's hand has been forced by injuries to some extent, they have a genuine batting conundrum. They are likely to resolve it by using their ninth different first-wicket combination in the last 25 matches. Joe Denly was brought as the preferred partner for Strauss but his form has been indifferent while that of Jonathan Trott has been anything but.

It is a welcome change that the one-day series is coming before the Tests. Too often, it has come afterwards, when as Strauss said, the players are jaded. Drained both physically and mentally more like. It does not happen at home where the last one-day international, it was confirmed yesterday with the release of the 2010 fixtures, will be played on 22 September after a summer of eight Tests.

Strauss said that if his employers at the England and Wales Cricket Board ever wanted his input he would be prepared to give it. He should hold back no longer. Twenty20s, 50-over matches, Tests – it should be an order set in stone.

Probable teams

South Africa

G C Smith

J H Kallis

A B de Villiers

J P Duminy

A N Petersen

J A Morkel

M V Boucher (wkt)

R McLaren

R E van der Merwe

D W Steyn

C K Langeveldt


A J Strauss (capt)

I J L Trott

K P Pietersen

P D Collingwood

E J G Morgan

M J Prior (wkt)

L J Wright

T T Bresnan

A U Rashid

J M Anderson

G Onions

Umpires: R J Tucker (Aus) & M Erasmus (SA)

Venue: Wanderers.

TV: Sky Sports 2, 12.00

Under pressure: Three with points to prove

Jonathan Trott

His captain said tellingly yesterday that Trott, born and brought up in South Africa, is "here to make runs and not make friends." So far, despite the odd lunch with former compatriots, that is precisely what he has done, making three fifties in warm-up matches and looking utterly determined and dependable.

Jimmy Anderson

No player receives more plaudits from his colleagues than Anderson. Leader of the attack, on his day he can make the ball talk. There is the faint suspicion that he does not perform well enough often enough in the absence of swing. But before his knee began to trouble him he was mightily impressive.

Jacques Kallis

The most experienced player on either side with 294 appearances, he has suddenly been reinvented as an opening batsman. It is calculated gamble because Kallis has spent much of his career being too one-paced for some tastes. But he has the talent and insists he now has the application.


England captain Andrew Strauss's one-day batting average against South Africa. This pales against his overall one-day batting average, which stands at 32.3.

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Pistorius leaves Pretoria High Court to be taken to prison

Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'


Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Life and Style

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album