Friday 29 August 2008 

Samit Patel Spins England To Series Win At The Oval


England
296-7 (Flintoff 78no, Bell 73, Botha 2-35, Kallis 2-42) beat
South Africa 170 all out (Amla 46, Patel 5-41, Flintoff 2-33) by 126 runs
Third NatWest One Day International, The Brit Oval. England lead the five-match series 3-0

Samit Patel became the first England spinner since Ashley Giles in Delhi in January 2002 to take five wickets in a One Day International as England moved into an unassailable 3-0 lead in their One Day International series with a thumping 126-run win over South Africa.

The Brit Oval has become a happy hunting ground for England, with a Test win over South Africa in Pietersen's first match in charge now added to this ruthless performance as well as the happy scenes that followed the draw here in 2005 that secured The Ashes.

Half-centuries from Ian Bell and Andrew Flintoff ensured that England posted an excellent score of 296 and aside from when Hashim Amla (46) and Jacques Kallis (nine) were adding 48 for the second wicket together, South Africa were never in the hunt.

Bell scored a sublime 73 in 77 balls from the top of the order, putting on 101 with Matthew Prior before Flintoff came in with work to do following a South Africa fightback in the middle overs.

Matt Prior and Ian Bell at The Brit Oval
Ian Bell (right) celebrates his half-century
© Action Images / Andrew Boyers Livepic

Bell and Prior made excellent use of the Power Play overs but were helped by some abject bowling from Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini. Ntini sent down two no balls in one over to Prior, who took ten runs from the resultant free hits while Bell unleashed a number of excellent drives and flicks off his pads to frustrate Steyn.

After stand-in captain Jacques Kallis finally changed his bowling options, he had Prior well caught by Herschelle Gibbs off a top edge after Albie Morkel replaced Steyn.

England then lost two wickets for two runs when Bell was trapped in front by Johan Botha and Owais Shah was bowled by the first ball Kallis delivered for 23.

A similar off-cutter did for Kevin Pietersen, who was trapped in front for five and when Paul Collingwood was caught via glove and pad by Mark Boucher for Botha's second wicket, England needed Flintoff to perform.

He did, combining in an excellent partnership worth 74 with man of the match Patel, scoring his runs predominantly on the off side despite a blow to the head from a Morne Morkel bouncer.

Patel was bowled by Ntini for a well made 31 and Luke Wright was caught in the final over for a quickfire 17 from 13 balls but nothing was getting in Flintoff's way.

He hammered Morne Morkel for a huge six over long on, adding that maximum to nine fours overall in his second half-century in as many innings at number five under Pietersen.

Amla and Kallis were together early after Herschelle Gibbs gave James Anderson a first wicket of the series when he chipped the Lancashire man straight to Owais Shah at short cover point.

The Amla-Kallis partnership was broken when Steve Harmison, who can do little wrong at the moment, induced him to inside edge behind and Prior made no mistake. Ten runs later Kallis, who is still to play an innings of the style and elegance of which he is capable on this tour, was well caught by Patel running backwards as Flintoff backed up his strong batting with a committed bowling display.

AB de Villiers (12) then made a drastic error in taking on Harmison's arm in the deep and he didn't even come in a close second, run out by a good distance despite his dive.

Thereafter, Patel took command of the match, having Mark Boucher bowled as the wicket-keeper tried to cut, Albie Morkel well caught and bowled after the left-hander had smashed the bowler into the stand twice in one over, his brother caught by Stuart Broad, Botha bowled and Ntini caught by Prior to conclude the match.

Flintoff returned to take a wicket in his second spell, dismissing the immensely talented JP Duminy for 18 with Prior making no mistake when an edge was offered.

Samit Patel

Samit Patel clings on to dismiss Albie Morkel caught and bowled © Action Images / Andrew Boyers Livepic

Kallis later paid tribute to the way England had played some of the best cricket they have come up against in the last few months and Pietersen's golden run as captain continues.

Today, England managed to post a competitive score without the man from Pietermaritzburg making a contribution and he has already set his sights on winning the series 5-0.

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2008