Key moments in England's winter of content
Thursday 25 March 2010
Morgan revs up one-day game
Centurion, 27 September
While it seems like half a cricketing lifetime ago now (four Twenty20 matches, nine one-dayers and six Tests have been played since), the emergence of England as a renewed one-day force took place one night last September. Owais Shah stole most of the headlines in the trailblazing victory over South Africa but it was the Irishman, Eoin Morgan, who made an unforgettable statement of intent with 67 from 34 balls and has kept making them so often that England have been transformed.
Bell finally grows up
Cape Town, 7 January
England were up against it when to the wicket walked Ian Bell. What followed was one of the most significant innings for England in a decade, not because of what it helped to achieve on the day but because of what it could mean for the future: Bell grew up. Across nearly five hours of self-denial, obduracy and smart method he denied the stronger side certain victory and, after 52 Test matches, England at last had a batsman worth the name.
Jo'burg, 17 January
A tired and outclassed touring side showed how far it had to go against the highest class of bowling. For most of the series, South Africa had threatened and now in the fourth and final Test it came together in a formidable show of strength and power. England's bowlers and batsman both wilted. This defeat told of the need for more depth, more rest and the need to find some reserve batsmen.
Kieswetter joins the ranks
Chittagong, 5 March
During England's sojourn to Dubai they took a fancy to a passing player. It was not the last time. This chap's name was Craig Kieswetter, South African by birth and upbringing if not, apparently, by inclination. Having performed well with the Lions team he was summoned. It did not work out at first but in this, his third one-day innings, he personified conviction.
Pietersen ends barren spell
Chittagong, 12 March
Kevin Pietersen makes runs! For most of the preceding five years it would have been as newsworthy as dog bites man but how he needed thi. He was out for 99, but for once the elusive run really was a mere bagatelle. Pietersen had begun to wonder where his next run, never mind 99 of them, was coming from. Technical faults had crept in and mental turmoil followed. He played straight and sensibly and it seemed at last that the Pietersen which England so desperately need may return.
The winning run
Dhaka, 24 March
England complete the formalities. They have won every international match they have played against Bangladesh, an unparalleled record – and unlike the last time they toured Bangladesh, their newish boys will have prosperous Test careers. Tim Bresnan had his best match (of only four, admittedly) and Steve Finn showed promise. England won, and they learned that there is still learning to do.
South Africa Twenty20s: Two-match series drawn 1-1. One-day internationals: Five-match series won 2-1 by England. Test Series: Drawn 1-1 (four matches).
Dubai T20: Two-match series against Pakistan drawn 1-1.
Bangladesh ODIs: England win three-match series 3-0. Tests: England win two-match series 2-0.
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