Inept England in a world of pain

England 118-7 South Africa 119-3 (SA won by seven wickets): Holders look more like chumps than champs in warm-up for their Twenty20 World Cup defence

chester-le-street

With the defence of their World Twenty20 title only a few days away, England played yesterday less like champs than chumps. It is possible that they are wary of peaking too soon before the tournament starts in Sri Lanka next week, but then it is equally conceivable that they have as much chance as winning there as not sweating.

South Africa won the first match of three in this NatWest Series, effectively warm-up matches despite the stark contrast in surroundings, by seven wickets. It was all but inevitable after another inept exhibition of batting by England which demonstrated virtually none of the requirements necessary in developing a substantial innings in short-form cricket.

On days such as this it is all too tempting to suggest that their batting order is desperately short of a limited-overs genius, a bold maverick who can fashion shots at will and take a game by the scruff. But Kevin Pietersen may never be back if talks between him and the England management fail to reach a satisfactory conclusion, so they simply have to get on with it.

Had it not been for a last-ditch eighth-wicket partnership of 33 from 27 balls between Graeme Swann and the captain, Stuart Broad – the voices of experience speaking – it would have been worse than the 118 for 7 that England managed.

Even then the bowlers offered brief encouragement by reducing the tourists to 29 for 3, but it really was just a case that if you stayed in you won the match. That is what happened, and South Africa duly went 1-0 up with an over to spare.

Jacques Kallis marked his return to the side with an elder statesman's unbeaten 48 from 44 balls, including seven fours. He was given some well-deserved time off during the recent one-day series, part of which he spent in New York. He might look as though he did not entirely avoid those huge Stateside portions, but he also seems in ominously good order.

For England, it started to go wrong almost from the moment that Alex Hales was run out backing up for a single that never existed. Until then he and Craig Kieswetter had looked comfortable with each other.

By the seventh over England were three down, Kieswetter having shuffled across his stumps to be lbw and Ravi Bopara edging Dale Steyn to slip. There is no shame at all in being out to Steyn, who was again excellent, bowling his four overs for 13 runs in four separate spells, but Bopara looks hopelessly out of sorts.

England really cannot afford to go into the next month with him so bereft of form and confidence. Twenty20 is a form of the game in which things can turn round quickly but, equally, each ball is vital to the cause. To Bopara at present the crease may as well be an alien planet.

There were a few overs when Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan exuded the outlook of men who knew there was a job to do and that they knew how to do it. Both bristled with good intentions and inventions. At 64 for 3 after 10 overs, a total approaching 150 was still possible. But Morgan was bowled essaying a pull shot against the smart off-breaks of Johan Botha and England, crucially, lost wickets in the 11th, 13th, 14th and 16th overs. Part of the trouble was that everybody was batting as if it was a lost cause. South Africa played the more precise cricket but England made it seem pinpoint.

To have any hope of winning, England needed quick wickets. Their opening bowlers obliged, with Jade Dernbach having Richard Levi caught at slip and a rapid Steve Finn catching Faf du Plessis unawares and lbw.

When the tourists' captain, AB De Villiers, was caught behind driving at Dernbach, South Africa were 29 for 3 and England were in with a chance. But Kallis and Jean-Paul Duminy assembled a go-as-you-please partnership of 90, South Africa's highest for the fourth wicket in Twenty20. At present one of these sides looks ready for Sri Lanka. It is not the holders.

Chester-le-Street scoreboard

South Africa won toss

England

Runs/6s/4s/Bls

†C Kieswetter lbw b J Botha 25/1/3/24

A D Hales run out 11/0/2/6

R S Bopara c J Botha b Steyn 6/0/0/11

E J G Morgan b J Botha 10/0/1/11

J M Bairstow c J Botha b J A Morkel 15/0/1/17

J C Buttler b Peterson 6/0/0/9

S R Patel c Kallis b Peterson 4/0/0/7

*S C J Broad not out 18/0/1/22

G P Swann not out 18/0/3/13

Extras (b3, lb2) 5

Total (for 7, 20 overs) 118

Fall 1-27, 2-40, 3-50, 4-66, 5-76, 6-80, 7-85.

Did not bat S T Finn, J W Dernbach.

Bowling Peterson 4-0-27-2; Steyn 4-0-13-1; Tsotsobe 2-0-22-0; J A Morkel 3-0-12-1; J Botha 4-0-19-2; Kallis 3-0-20-0.

South Africa

Runs/6s/4s/Bls

R E Levi c Swann b Dernbach 8/0/2/7

J H Kallis not out 48/0/7/44

F du Plessis lbw b Finn 4/0/0/3

*†A B de Villiers c Kieswetter b Dernbach 10/0/2/6

J P Duminy not out 47/0/4/54

Extras (lb1, w1) 2

Total (for 3, 19 overs) 119

Fall 1-9, 2-14, 3-29.

Did not bat J L Ontong, J A Morkel, J Botha, R J Peterson, D W Steyn, L L Tsotsobe.

Bowling Finn 4-0-22-1; Dernbach 4-0-31-2; Broad 4-0-18-0; Bopara 2-0-20-0; Swann 4-0-16-0; S R Patel 1-0-11-0.

Umpires R J Bailey and R K Illingworth (Eng).

TV Umpire M A Gough (Eng).

Match referee A J Pycroft (Zim).

South Africa lead the three-match series 1-0

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering