England look to bounce back
The first ODI was a wash-out game between England and South Africa and the action moved on to Southampton for the second ODI. South Africa won the toss and elected to bat first on a dry wicket, which offered more for the spinners than the seamers. Owing to Hashim Amla’s almost flawless innings of 150, South Africa posted a good first innings total of 287 and set England a tough target to scale down.
England started off on a poor note and lost their main man, Alastair Cook in the first over itself. Ian Bell led the fightback but the Brits kept losing wickets in quick intervals and that put an end to the show. Samit Patel and Steven Finn tried to revive what was left in the match for the last wicket but the target was just too far ahead to be scaled down. The Man of the Match and the Overall Castrol Performer was obviously Hashim Amla for his splendid knock of 150.
Andrew Strauss, England’s Test captain retired mid-way in this series and Alastair Cook has been handed over the responsibility of captaining the Test side as well. That might put some added pressure on Cook as England are already 0-1 down in the series, and South Africa are stepping up their plate by every day and night. Graeme Swann has been rested for the rest of the ODIs and James Tredwell takes his place. Tredwell last played against Australia and his conventional offies proved tough for the away side to deal with. He is not a tricky customer and delivers bowls orthodox.
South Africa left out Dale Steyn for the initial stages of the match and his inclusion seems more improbable in this one as well. Graeme Smith did well in the second ODI and most of the middle-order batsmen just about managed decent starts. Ryan McLaren came back to the ODI circuit while Wayne Parnell is a handy-all rounder and a good death bowler to have in the team.
Expect England to make a couple of changes with Ravi Bopara coming under the scrutiny. Jonathan Bairstow, in spite of consistent performances may get the nod ahead of him while Chris Woakes may get his chance back in the team as a front line bowler ahead of Samit Patel. With the series still open, expect England to come back in blazing form.