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

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture