Tuesday 26 August 2008 

Broad Shoulders Responsibility To Stun South Africa


England 85-0 (Prior 45no, Bell 21no) beat
South Africa 83 all out (Broad 5-23, Flintoff 3-29, Harmison 2-4) by ten wickets
2nd One Day International, Trent Bridge

Stuart Broad took a career-best five for 23 as England produced a sparkling bowling display to leave South Africa bowled out for just 83 to effectively decide the outcome of the second One Day International at Trent Bridge before the floodlights had been switched on.

Matthew Prior and Ian Bell sealed the win in ruthless fashion, racing past the South African's meagre score with a minimum of fuss, Prior launching Makhaya Ntini over his head for six before finishing unbeaten on 45 from 36 balls. Bell played a more confident innings than he had at Headingley, scoring 28 from 51 balls.

England occupied the crease for just 14 overs (South Africa lasted just 23) before Prior won the game with a firm pull shot that raced to the midwicket boundary to seal one of England's most impressive One Day International victories.

South Africa won the toss and batted but it was England who responded to captain Kevin Pietersen's calls to back up their opening day win while Jacques Kallis' assertion that his side's loss at Headingley was their worst performance in two years must be swiftly revised following this display.

A succession of batsmen obligingly edged deliveries that Broad (celebrating his fifth wicket below), Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison sent down on a good length just outside of off stump.

Stuart Broad celebrates his fifth wicket

Prior capped another assured display behind the stumps with six catches, equalling the ODI record, including a stunning effort that he could have left to Owais Shah at slip but instead threw himself full length at to his left to dismiss Smith for nine.

Herschelle Gibbs (ten), JP Duminy (eight), Mark Boucher (ten), Johan Botha (one) and Albie Morkel (six) were Prior's other victims, Flintoff and Harmison accounting for Boucher and Morkel respectively; Broad's other wicket was Kallis, well caught at slip by Shah for six.

AB De Villiers was trapped in front by a Flintoff delivery that jagged back sharply for five before Harmison picked up two wickets in the only over he bowled to end Andre Nel's brief counter-attack and have Morkel caught behind trying to cut.

Realising he had nothing to lose, Nel three fours before a top edge was safely pouched by Luke Wright.

Flintoff ended the innings in trademark style by bowling Dale Steyn with a full delivery for six.

Broad, who picked up his 50th ODI wicket when Smith departed, received a standing ovation which was richly deserved - only once have South Africa fared worse in a One Day International, when they were in December 1993.

Flintoff picked up three for 29 and Harmison two for four as the new floodlights at Trent Bridge, set to make their 'international debut' weren't even switched on.

84 was never going to challenge England, especially with the South African bowlers employing the scattergun approach to bowling. Steyn in particular was no threat, giving away four wides and two no balls despite, or perhaps because of, bowling at good pace.

Both Prior and Bell were quick to latch onto anything short and get behind anything on a good length - the right way to play on a pitch which offered bounce and carry to the faster bowlers.

Prior looked at home at the top of the order, easily outscoring Bell and his innings included a number of pleasing strokes down the ground, including the six off of Ntini that signalled to South Africa that England were not just going to win this match, they were going to win it in style and with great haste.

Story of the game

The stats tell the story of the match: click to enlarge

This crushing defeat for South Africa represented their third in a row against England since Pietersen took over as captain and ended their chances of overtaking Australia at the top of the ODI rankings at the end of this series. Conversely, if England should win the series 5-0, they could leapfrog South Africa into second - a possibility few, if any, can have been entertaining before Headingley.

For the timebeing, Pietersen can do no wrong - today he wasn't called on to bat or bowl and even losing the toss proved no obstacle for him and his side.

So far, the ECB's gamble in appointing him is paying off. For England, long may it continue, while for South Africa, the only consolation is that they cannot play any worse than they did here when the series moves on to The Brit Oval on Friday with England 2-0 to the good.

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2008
Picture credit: Action Images / Michael Regan Livepic