Self-inflicted double loss for England

Cricket

DEREK PRINGLE

reports from Pretoria

England 272-8 South Africa 276-3 (South Africa win by 7 wickets)

A crushing win by South Africa, with two overs and seven wickets to spare, saw England to their second defeat in as many days. Chasing 273, the highest target of the series so far, South Africa's batsmen, led by Gary Kirsten's sparkling century, made light work of an England bowling attack which even in it's brighter moments, rarely adhered to the fundamentals of line and length.

Blessed with a glorious sunny day and a pitch - which unlike the previous day's surface at the Wanderers - held little in it for the ball, it was always going to be a game to test bowling reputations to the hilt. Unfortunately it was England who wilted, as South Africa batted with both power and panache.

Ironically, out of the bowlers on both sides, it was Allan Donald and Dominic Cork, the joint highest wicket-takers in the Test series, who suffered the greatest indignities. Cork going for 65 off his 10 overs, a figure Donald was able to top, having conceded 72 off nine.

But while few bowlers bar Shaun Pollock were spared a rate of less than 4.5 an over, the fact that there was only two extras, and just a single maiden in the South African innings, meant that England were rather better at locating the middle of the bat than the middle stump.

As ever the problems were self-inflicted and too much width was the main shortcoming, although length too varied almost as wildly as a politician's promises. Unless the ball swings, there appears to be no one with the pace to hit the splice - as Pollock does - to prevent the carnage possible in the first 15 overs. A situation Andrew Hudson and Gary Kirsten, took full advantage of by scoring 73 without taking a risk.

Of the bowlers, only Gough was able to stem the flow of liberties taken, as Kirsten, so often a dour and unlovely batsman to watch, unleashed a series of drives on the up, along with his more customary cut and pull shots. Hudson mixed his strokes too, playing elegantly off the front foot and quite brutally off the back as two pulled sixes over midwicket will testify.

Unlike on Saturday, England were never able to get themselves into the game once they had batted. Even after they got Kirsten, luckily bowled off his pads by Cork, Hansie Cronje rammed the humility home by slamming a run-a-ball 47.

Yesterday's effort with the bat was by far his most positive knock of the series and he was particularly savage on Richard Illingworth, striking him for two huge sixes before giving the bowler a crumb of comfort going for a third. After which Daryll Cullinan and Jacques Kallis eased their side to a victory greeted by near hysteria from the 15,000 strong capacity crowd.

Little has separated these sides all tour, and yet the one glaring difference that has become apparent during these one-dayers has been in the standard of fielding. South Africa hurl themselves around, taking brilliant catches and stopping fours. By contrast, England seem reluctant to dive, and it cost them dear and will do so again wherever outfields are fast.

It was a failing that has been particularly apparent over these last two games, particularly at the Wanderers on Saturday, where some of the sloppiness was inexcusable given the paucity of the target of 198, England had set. That situation was partly brought about in light of Mike Atherton's ill-judged decision to bat on a seaming pitch after winning the toss, although some guileless batting - Neil Fairbrother and Jack Russell excepted - did not help their cause.

However, at least England put bat to ball yesterday, something rarely accomplished on Saturday, where they probably missed more deliveries than they hit. Alec Stewart in particular was in superb touch, hitting a quickfire 64 off 78 balls, including a driven six straight back over Donald's head that brought up his fifty.

It was his first international as captain since Melbourne in 1994, when Atherton withdrew with a back strain. This time, the England captain was just taking a rest, although by the agitated way he kept tapping his book against his knee on the player's balcony he did not appear at all relaxed. Not surprising, as England were being flayed around the park at the time.

His absence did, however, allow Stewart back to open - his preferred position - though his partner on this occasion was Robin Smith. If those who approved of the pinch-hitting option were disappointed - being shelved after only two outings - it was the right tactic on a pitch that had some pace and bounce, particularly while the ball was new.

But if Stewart quickly settled, on the Oval-like conditions, Smith took a while longer. Even so the pair put on a 103 for the first wicket. Stewart outscored his partner at a rate of two to one before being brilliantly caught by Cullinan in front of the square-leg umpire, as he swatted at the off-spinner Pat Symcox.

In any case, after his brief knock at the Wanderers, Robin Smith was right to bide his time and he happily allowed Graeme Hick and Graham Thorpe to play brief - and in the former's case with two sixes in 17 balls - violent cameos around him.

However, well though Smith played for his eventual 63, the fact that he got out when he did, to the shot he played - caught trying to hit the first ball of Donald's second spell over the top - contributed to England losing their way.

Instead of gently accelerating between the 30th and 40th overs, only 44 runs were scored. Fortunately for England, some intelligent batting by Mark Ramprakash and Craig White, followed by a quite brilliant 17-ball 39 from Russell, saw England to a target that if not impregnable, should at least have been defendable four times out of five.

(England won toss)

ENGLAND

*A J Stewart c Cullinan b Symcox 64

(87 min, 78 balls, 8 fours, 1 six)

R A Smith c Symcox b Donald 63

(135 min, 90 balls, 6 fours)

G A Hick b Cronje 21

(18 min, 17 balls, 2 sixes)

G P Thorpe c Pollock b Symcox 15

(17 min, 18 balls, 2 fours)

M R Ramprakash c Kallis b Donald 32

(64 min, 44 balls, 1 six)

C White c Donald b Cronje 19

(39 min, 30 balls, 1 four)

R C Russell not out 39

(29 min, 19 balls, 6 fours)

D G Cork c Richardson b Matthews 0

(4 min, 2 balls)

P A J DeFreitas c Cullinan b Donald 2

(5 min, 3 balls)

D Gough not out 1

(4 min, 1 ball)

Extras (lb5, w10, nb1) 16

Total (for 8, 205 min, 50 overs) 272

Fall: 1-103 (Stewart), 2-139 (Hick), 3-168 (Thorpe), 4-174 (Smith), 5- 216 (White), 6-245 (Ramprakash), 7-249 (Cork), 8-260 (DeFreitas).

Did not bat: R K Illingworth.

Bowling: Matthews 10-0-48-1 (nb1, w1) (6-0-19-0, 2-0-6-0, 2-0-23-0); Pollock 10-1-36-0 (6-1-16-0, 2-0-11-0, 2-0-9-0); Cronje 10-0-57-2 (w1) (2-0-9-0, 6-0-39-1, 2-0-9-1); Donald 9-0-72-3 (nb1, w3) (3-0-30-0, 4-0- 19-1, 2-0-23-2); Symcox 10-1-48-2 (w5); Kirsten 1-0-6-0 (one spell each).

Stewart 50: 69 min, 63 balls, 7 fours, 1 six.

Smith 50: 108 min, 74 balls, 4 fours.

SOUTH AFRICA

A C Hudson lbw b Gough 72

(110 min, 85 balls, 7 fours, 2 sixes)

G Kirsten b Cork 116

(162 min, 125 balls, 11 fours)

*W J Cronje c Thorpe b Illingworth 47

(64 min, 46 balls, 3 fours, 2 sixes)

D J Cullinan not out 25

(29 min, 21 balls, 2 fours)

J H Kallis not out 14

(16 min, 13 balls, 2 fours)

Extras (w2) 2

Total (for 3, 192 min, 48 overs) 276

Fall: 1-156 (Hudson), 2-223 (Kirsten), 3-247 (Cronje).

Did not bat: J N Rhodes, S M Pollock, D J Richardson, P L Symcox, C R Matthews, A A Donald.

Bowling: Cork 10-0-65-1 (nb1, w1) (4-0-24-0, 2-0-17-0, 4-0-24-1); DeFreitas 10-0-46-0 (6-0-27-0, 4-0-19-0); Gough 10-1-41-1 (6-1-21-0, 2-0-9-1, 2- 0-11-0); Hick 3-0-17-0 (w1) (one spell); Illingworth 9-0-65-1 (nb1) (5- 0-29-0, 4-0-36-1); White 6-0-42-0 (2-0-18-0, 4-0-24-0).

Hudson 50: 83 min, 69 balls, 6 fours, 1 six. Kirsten 50: 81 min, 59 balls, 7 fours. 100: 137 min, 106 balls, 11 fours.

Man of the match: G Kirsten.

Umpires: K E Liebenberg and W A Diedricks.

Suggested Topics
News
news
Sport
Danny Cipriani of England breaks clear to score his second try
rugby
Life and Style
New research says leaving your desk can help you to avoid serious illness
health
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Cloud ERP Solution Provide...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral