Strauss's sportsmanship causes collision with Flower

Since taking over in the most unpromising circumstances the captain and coach of England have formed a close and mutually appreciative relationship. Sometimes, without being gushing, it has seemed that each could have been founders of the other's fan club.

Which does not mean they must agree on all matters, as Andy Flower demonstrated yesterday in mildly chiding his captain. The point of contention was the sporting gesture when Strauss recalled the departing Sri Lankan batsman, Angelo Mathews after he had been run out in the Champions Trophy tie between the sides on Friday night.

Mathews had collided with bowler Graham Onions in turning for a second run and was run out by yards. He was rightly despatched but Strauss generously spared him. While it eventually made no difference to the outcome, England winning a match in which they were distinct second favourites, it might easily have done.

Strauss said the dismissal did not look right, Flower, also a former international captain, thought otherwise. It is certainly not the sort of magnanimity he will be advocating today against a hard-nosed South Africa side. "I would definitely not have recalled him back," said Flower. "Absolutely not. Straussy is a good man and I trust him completely. He made his decision and I'll back him on that, but I just wouldn't have done it myself. I would have sent the batsman on his way, he ran into the bowler it is as simple as that."

On this, Flower was perfectly right. Mathews would have been unfortunate but these things occur in cricket: he was trying to steal a second run by the most direct route. It does not, however, make Strauss a soft touch and if anything it enhanced the quality of the performance.

What a difference a match makes. From having no hope, England are suddenly awash with the stuff. They must be careful not to drown. After defeating Sri Lanka by six wickets at the Wanderers they will today play South Africa on a different kind of surface at Centurion Park.

It will be slow, it will dictate attritional cricket and it may mean that England play two spinners, as South Africa certainly will. Flower did not rule out the recall of Adil Rashid, though it would immediately impose expectation on his 21-year-old shoulders.

It is impossible to be optimistic about England's prospects but then that was the prevailing sentiment before Friday. South Africa, like Sri Lanka, look too strong, though they also have their own high expectations with which to contend. "It is a huge challenge for us because they are rated the number one side in the world," said Flower. "We are huge underdogs and everyone realises that, but it doesn't mean we can't win the game."

Flower was also candid about the prospects of a recall for Ravi Bopara, who was dropped on Friday. "He is very talented and he is a good friend of mine from our time at Essex, but the polishing of him as a rough diamond has to be done by himself," Flower said.

England did themselves a power of good on Friday night. Whatever their common narrative about the amount of talent in the dressing room they must know that is where it mostly resides. Defeat today will not mean the end for England since victory against New Zealand on Tuesday may still permit progress to the semi-finals. But there we go again getting ahead of ourselves. So far, it is only one win.

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
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

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories