Proteas re­store pride

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

SOUTH AFRICA an­swered their crit­ics in the best way pos­si­ble at New­lands yes­ter­day as they hit a record-equalling 354 for six wick­ets against Eng­land in a one-day in­ter­na­tional af­ter winning the toss, and then snuffed out any thoughts of a fight­back by dis­miss­ing them for 242 with more than eight overs to spare.

AB de Vil­liers’ fourth ODI cen­tury was the high­light for the vic­tors, as he wreaked havoc in the tourists’ ranks on his way to 121 off 85 balls.

De Vil­liers’ 14 bound­aries were plun­dered to all cor­ners of the field, in­clud­ing vi­cious swipes to leg, pow­er­ful drives through the cov­ers, and the odd del­i­cate flick over the keeper’s head.

The two bowlers brought into the team by the Proteas af­ter de­feat at Cen­tu­rion on Sun­day, Wayne Par nell and Morne Morkel, then struck early and af­ter a brisk start Eng­land kept los­ing wick­ets and crum­bled to lose by 112 runs.

The Proteas were clin­i­cal in all as­pects of the game, as the victory mar­gin shows, and cap­tain Graeme Smith dubbed the team per­for­mance “a mil­lion times bet­ter than Cen­tu­rion”.

“The chal­lenge is to main­tain that level of per­for­mance in the rest of the se­ries,” Smith added. “We had re­ally good in­ten­sity to­day, we played good, in­tel­li­gent cricket.”

Los­ing cap­tain An­drew Strauss said his team had sim­ply bat­tled to stop an ag­gres­sive SA bat­ting line-up from scor­ing.

“Then when we bat­ted we kept los­ing wick­ets at vi­tal times. We’re dis­ap­pointed to lose, but we are not go­ing to get too cut up about it,” Strauss said.

The se­ries now stands at 1-1 with matches in Port El­iz­a­beth to­mor­row and Dur­ban next Fri­day to come.

South Africa’s to­tal equalled the best score at the ground, which they at­tained against Kenya in the 2001/02 sea­son. And it re­quired Eng­land to come up with some­thing spe­cial if they were to win.

Be­fore yes­ter­day’s match the best score by a team chas­ing at New­lands and winning was the 258/7 the Proteas scored in beat­ing New Zealand nine sea­sons back.

The only bats­man in the Proteas’ top five to fail was JP Du­miny (six), who pulled a ball straight down square-leg’s throat.

For the rest the bats­men, who had owned up to an in­fe­rior per­for­mance at Cen­tu­rion, ag­gres­sively took out their frus­tra­tions on the Eng­land at­tack.

Smith and Amla set a crack- ing pace with their first-wicket stand in 18.3 overs, keep­ing the run-rate at nearly six all the time be­fore Smith went to a soft dis­missal, play­ing on off seamer Luke Wright for 54 off 56 balls (six fours).

Amla (86 off 92 balls, seven fours) and De Vil­liers did not let up, their 94-run stand for the sec­ond wicket com­ing in just 13 overs be­fore Amla feath­ered a bot­tom edge to Matt Prior. Hav­ing looked set to go to his sec­ond ODI cen­tury in his 21st match for the Proteas, he would have been dis­ap­pointed to go at that point.

Like Amla, No 5 bats­man Alviro Petersen hit his sec­ond suc­ces­sive half-cen­tury for the Proteas, fol­low­ing up his 64 at Cen­tu­rion with an un­de­feated 52 off 40 balls. He hit five bound­aries and added 95 for the fourth wicket with De Vil­liers, in 10.2 overs.

The fourth-wicket part­ner­ship had the near-17,000 crowd in rap­tures, as De Vil­liers sim­ply took off, with the ben­e­fit of the five-over bat­ting power-play, which re­alised 57 runs. De Vil­liers even­tu­ally top-edged one off Stu­art Broad to be caught by Jonathan Trott in the 47th over. Mark Boucher then pro­ceeded to hit two fours and a six (off Luke Wright) in an 11-ball cameo of 22.

All-rounder Stu­art Broad fin­ished with 4/71, and Wright claimed 2/66, in­clud­ing the wicket of Smith.

The lead­ing light in the Eng­land bat­ting ef­fort was Paul Colling­wood, whose valiant 86 off 82 balls fol­lowed his cen­tury at Cen­tu­rion five days ago.

He and Kevin Pi­etersen (45 off 56 balls, three fours and a six) added 84 for the fourth wicket, while in con­cert with Matt Prior (16 off 22 balls), Colling­wood added a rapid 64 in 9.2 overs for the sixth wicket.

The bowl­ing changes made by South Africa paid off hand­somely.

Par nell’s 5/48 took his ca­reer ODI tally to 22 in eight matches, and was his sec­ond five-wicket haul. He made the ini­tial break­through by hav­ing Luke Wright (24 off 19 balls, three fours and a six) caught in the deep, and he brought the in­nings to a close 36 overs later by trap­ping Jimmy An­der­son in front for one.

Morne Morkel did his bit by tak­ing 3/39, in­clud­ing Strauss for 24, and wannabe off-spinner JP Du­miny chipped in with a use­ful 2/25.

Fast bowler Dale Steyn was off the field for a while with a tight ham­string, and he will be checked to­mor­row ahead of Sun­day’s game.

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