Proteas restore pride
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.