South Africa Hammer England To Take Number One Ranking
South Africa 287-5 (Amla 150, Smith 52) beat
England 207 (Parnell 2-30) by 80 runs
Second One-Day International, Southampton
A brilliant century from Hashim Amla gave South Africa their second number one ranking in as many weeks as they beat England by 80 runs in Southampton. Robin Peterson and Wayne Parnell starred with the ball as South Africa successfully defended their total of 287 for five, which had been built upon an opening stand of 89 between Graeme Smith and Amla.
The pair saw off an impressive opening burst from Steven Finn and James Anderson, which had seen the first six overs yield just 11 runs, to end the first powerplay on 49 without loss. Smith garnered much of the strike during those first ten overs and brought up his fifty off 70 balls in the 18th over, at which point Amla had 36.
Smith though departed shortly afterwards, skying a pull-shot off Tim Bresnan into the waiting gloves of Craig Kieswetter, while Amla remained. He brought up his 50 off 54 balls and continued to play Graeme Swann with the same ease that he had done during the Test series. The wristiness and elegance of his strokeplay appeared only to have increased from that series and he reached his 10th ODI century off just 96 balls. Admittedly, he had benefited from a couple of dropped catches by Kieswetter – one off Samit Patel when on 42 and another when on 92 – but that was not to diminish what was a fine innings on a not altogether straightforward pitch.
As is common at Southampton, it was slow and turned from the start – a fact England countered by playing Samit Patel ahead of the luckless Chris Woakes. Two of South Africa’s middle-order fell to the spin of Graeme Swann, who returned figures of two for 50, while Patel was equally tidy – conceding just 47 runs from his ten overs. Swann’s first wicket was that of Dean Elgar, who missed a flighted off-break and saw it take his middle-stump, while AB de Villiers was his second, also bowled, albeit by a much quicker delivery.
Swann’s success meant that Faf du Plessis joined Amla for the remaining overs of South Africa’s innings and helped them reach 287 for five. Amla was finally out in the final over for 150, having become the fastest man in the history of ODI cricket to reach 3000 runs.
England’s reply got off to the worst possible start as they lost captain Alastair Cook second ball. However, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott added 64 for the second-wicket to bring the home side back into the match. Bell, like at Cardiff, played fluently, advancing down the pitch at Morne Morkel, and scoring at better than a run-a-ball, while Trott, as his wont, was more circumspect. Trott was finally extracted by Morkel to a excellent catch from Elgar over his shoulder at long leg, while Bell followed shortly afterwards for a 41-ball 45 when he had his off-stump pegged back by Robin Peterson.
Ravi Bopara, returning from his absence for personal reasons, played nicely in making 16 before he hit a Peterson long-hop straight to Faf du Plessis at short cover and had to drag himself off. At 90 for four, England were entering last-chance saloon territory and were reliant on Craig Kieswetter and Eoin Morgan. All went well for a while, with Kieswetter hitting a handsome six, but Elgar’s third ball in international cricket did for him.
Morgan and Samit Patel added 41 for the sixth-wicket as England continued to hope, but Morgan’s dismissal to JP Duminy for 27 signalled the beginning of the end. Wayne Parnell accounted for Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann in the 35th over for ducks, and, in spite of a cavalier last-wicket partnership of 37 between Steven Finn (15 not out off eight balls) and Patel, the match was over. England were all out for 207 in the 41st over to surrender another number one ranking as South Africa became the first side in cricketing history to hold the number one ranking in all three formats of the game.
© Cricket World 2012
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