Trott, Anderson take England home
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:St George's Park, Port Elizabeth
Scorecard:South Africa v England
Player:JM Anderson, AN Petersen, GC Smith, IJL Trott
Event:England in South Africa 2009/10

DateLine: 29th November 2009


When Graeme Smith said before the match that the his side is going to be ruthless against England in the fourth ODI he never expected England to perform in such a manner. England was ruthless with the ball, excellent in the field and clinical with the bat as they overwhelmed a stunned South African side. James Anderson's maiden five-fer in his ODI career pretty much sealed the deal for the English side while Trott ensured that England did not suffer from any dramatic collapse during the chase.


Graeme Smith won the toss again and he had no hesitation to bat first on a pitch that had appreciable grass coupled with cloud-cover. But Strauss conceded that he would have bowled first on such a track and soon the South African skipper realised his folly. Anderson’s first over indicated nothing as to the carnage that was about to follow. Broad who had a horror outing in the previous match was able to find the fuller length to trap a shuffling Smith (2) right in front of the stumps and from there on the English foot was firmly on the throat of South Africans. Both the opening bowlers dished out short-pitched bowling at Amla hoping that he would play a rash pull shot but the elegant right-hander held firm. Amla and the last match hero de Villiers joined to try and revive the innings they struck a couple of boundaries to ease the pressure. Anderson was creamed for a couple of boundaries in an over but the right arm swing bowler had his revenge. After delivering some short-pitched deliveries he bowled a fuller length with some swing into Amla (11) who flicked elegantly towards midwicket but Swann was positioned perfectly for that shot and the ball simply landed in his palms as South Africa lost their second wicket. Duminy (6) once again struggled for timing and he was put out of his misery when a slower bouncer from Anderson flummoxed the southpaw who gently lobbed the ball to keeper Prior behind the stumps.


The South African team expected de Villiers to shore up the batting that was falling apart but de Villiers fell to Bresnan who after realising the folly of pitching short changed his length to a much fuller one to trap a static de Villiers (22) before the stumps. Boucher and Petersen then set about repairing the innings with Boucher playing some aggressive shots to try and force the English bowlers onto the defensive who by now was bowling to an aggressive field. Petersen too freed his arms to put the English bowlers off their rhythm but the English bowlers were relentless. The English bowlers kept up the pressure before Anderson delivered to Boucher (13) what could be the ball of the innings. He squared up the pugnacious keeper with an outswinger that pitched on the middle and off and swung a little bit to beat the defensive bat of Boucher and kiss the edge of off-stump to dislodge the bail as South Africa sunk further and the stunned silence of the stadium was deafening. Ryan McLaren continued with his run of ducks when he steered an pout swinger from Anderson straight to Collingwood at backward point as the South African scoreboard showed an embarrassing 78 for 6 in 23 overs. Anderson then finished his quota of ten overs with a well-deserved five-fer when he produced a beautiful bouncer for Botha (1) who was only good enough to graze the ball through to the keeper.


Petersen was running out of partner and he had no option but to claim the batting Power-play so that he could score some runs but instead it back-fired. Collingwood claimed his 100th ODI wicket when he had Parnell (1) square drive a wide ball only for Strauss at backward point to fling himself to the left to pluck a stunner. Morne Morkel (7) hung around for some-time before an off-cutter from Collingwood trapped the tall left-hander leg-before. Petersen completed a well-composed fifty and was so far the only bright spot in a gloomy scorecard. Trying to score some runs before the last wicket falls Petersen was a victim of another stupendous catch this time from Wright at mid-on who timed his leap to perfection and plucked a stunning full-stretch chance as South Africa was rolled up for their lowest-ever total in a home ODI.


England had around 30 minutes to bat before the scheduled break and it was a perfect opportunity for the home-side to pick up a wicket or two. But what they came across was a confident pair of Strauss and Trott who knocked off 31 runs in 7 overs before the break. After the break the English openers continued to toil with the South African pacer attack as none of the home-side pacers barring the tall Morne Morkel were able to create any sort of pressure on the English batsmen. Morkel troubled the English skipper with the bounce that he could generate from a good length as he was able to keep Strauss in his shell for a long period of time. Smith rotated his pacers around in hope that they would bring about a change in fortune but the English opening pair was just too good for the bowlers that Smith had at his disposal.


The pair put on 74 for the first wicket and looked like they would record a comprehensive ten-wicket win over South Africa but Botha disrupted their plans. Botha trapped Strauss (32) leg-before with a well disguised arm ball but the not so excited celebrations from the South African side betrayed the evaporating self-belief. Things could have been better for the home-side had Morkel held onto a skier from Pietersen when he hooked a short-pitched delivery from McLaren to fine-leg before he had opened his account. But that drop did not cost much when the flamboyant right-hander chipped lamely to de Villiers at midwicket of Botha to be dismissed for just 2 to give some cheer to the South African camp. The cheer then gave way to hope when McLaren was able to induce an edge from Collingwood (2) but it was just a mirage.


Trott was joined by an innovative Morgan who soon dispelled the South African surge with some lovely shots to the boundary fence while the former trotted to a composed fifty of 73 balls. Morgan had the luxury of sealing the match with a boundary and with it England took the lead 2-1 in the series.