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England eye series win in Centurion - Third ODI preview

England eye series win in Centurion - Third ODI preview
Will South Africa have an answer to Jos Buttler (right) in the third ODI?
©REUTERS / Action Images

Third One-Day International - South Africa v England in Centurion
9th February | 13:30 local | 11:30 GMT

After dominating the first two one-day games of their South African tour, England will be aiming to wrap up the five match ODI series when the third One-Day International takes place on Tuesday at Centurion.

It would be another fine achievement for Eoin Morgan’s young side having already beaten World Cup runners-up New Zealand and Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. They also pushed Australia’s World Champions close.

England’s current squad does not have many weaknesses. The only area that needs addressing is the lack of pace in the current attack. Whilst Reece Topley, David Willey and Chris Jordan are all good one-day bowlers, England do not have an enforcer with serious pace to unsettle set batsmen on flat pitches.

This is mainly due to the absence of Steven Finn and Mark Wood through injuries; once these two are back, England have all bases covered.

England’s batting is strong and has proved versatile in the two games so far.

In the first, they blazed away to score 399, and if truth be told, could have scored more. In the second, they adapted on a sluggish pitch to chase down a tricky target that required more than simple biffing.

Spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid are proving a potent combination and when the pitch offers turn are especially dangerous, providing wicket taking options in the middle overs.

Topley and Willey are improving fast, offer left-arm options and can both swing the new ball which is an important asset, especially when pitches are flat. Topley especially looks the real deal but can’t offer the same batting expertise as Willey.

South Africa on the other hand have problems to address. The lack of an all-rounder who can bowl ten overs has hit them hard. Farhaan Behardien and JP Duminy are no match for a rampant English line-up.

Whereas England have wicket takers, South Africa’s attack has confirmed early thoughts that it is too pedestrian and too similar.

Chris Morris was left out of the second ODI but will come back in to consideration at Centurion. As we saw during the Test series, Morris is also a handy batsman so he should replace Behardien, who is batting at seven. Morris could easily fill that spot.

Morne Morkel is going to be rested at some stage of this ODI series but that is unlikely to be here whilst the series is still alive. South Africa have to find a way to bowl England out and Morkel is vital to that.

The home side also have issues with their batting. Hashim Amla has fallen cheaply twice and South Africa have only registered three half-centuries in the two games so far. The batsmen are getting starts but not going on.

That is where England have proved the better side. Jos Buttler’s brilliant hundred in the first game was the difference between the two sides and in the second, it was Alex Hales who made a winning contribution.

Hales scored 99 in Port Elizabeth in an innings of graft unusual for the swashbuckling nature of the Nottinghamshire man. It won’t have done his Test prospects any harm either.

South Africa could bring in David Miller to the middle order, perhaps for Duminy or Rilee Rossouw, who has made only 19 and 11 in the two games. There are not many other options open to AB de Villiers though.

England do have options but may stick with the same team which has served them so well in the opening two games. Only Chris Jordan has not really contributed so far but England like what he brings to the team.

Jordan’s catch, running backwards and taking it over his shoulder, to remove de Villiers was a vital part of the match in Port Elizabeth. South Africa’s captain was looking dangerous and well set to take advantage of the last ten overs. Jordan’s intervention was a match winning one.

It is harsh on Chris Woakes who has not played so far but if England wrap the series up at Centurion, he, along with Stuart Broad, James Taylor and Jonny Bairstow, may find themselves getting a run out in the last two games.

Last year, South Africa played two ODIs at SuperSport Park and Amla scored hundreds in each. The pitch should be similar to Bloemfontein and quicker than the one at Port Elizabeth meaning it should be a good surface for batting.

In the fourth Test match that South Africa won by 280 runs in January, the pitch had some pace and bounce for the seam bowlers and this should be the case again. That may stop South Africa resting Morkel for this must-win game.

With the T20 World Cup in India fast approaching, England are maintaining their one-day form quite nicely. There will be changes to the squad for that competition but the majority of the current party will be in India.

If a fifty over World Cup started tomorrow, Morgan’s side would be major contenders. As it is, they should wrap up the ODI series at SuperSport Park with two matches still to play. England’s white ball revolution continues.


Such is England’s one-day form, it would take a special performance from South Africa to prevent a loss. Morgan’s side should go 3-0 up in the series.

Possible Teams:

England: 1. Jason Roy, 2. Alex Hales, 3. Joe Root, 4. Eoin Morgan (captain), 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Jos Buttler (wk), 7. Moeen Ali, 8. Chris Jordan, 9. Adil Rashid, 10. David Willey, 11. Reece Topley

South Africa: 1. Hashim Amla, 2. Quinto n de Kock (wk), 3. Faf du Plessis, 4. AB de Villiers (captain), 5. JP Duminy, 6. Rilee Rossouw, 7. Chris Morris, 8. Kyle Abbott, 9. Kagiso Rabada, 10. Morne Morkel, 11 Imran Tahir

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