|Ground:||Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood|
|Scorecard:||England v South Africa|
|Event:||South Africa in England 2012|
England v South Africa, 4th ODI
By courtesy of NatWest.
Ian Bell with a superbly controlled innings of 88 guided England to a six-wicket win to lead South Africa by 2-1 in the One-Day International (ODI) series with the last game to be played on Wednesday. Bell combined with Jonathan Trott in a 141-run second wicket partnership which put the side on the path of a comfortable victory with twenty balls to spare. No doubt Alastair Cook is delighted to be given the England Test captaincy in addition to ODI but he has not had a happy start in the one-dayers with his batting form. Having been dismissed without scoring in the second match and managing just twenty in the third, he was trapped lbw for two in the fourth by Dale Steyn in the first over. However, under his captaincy though England have maintained their excellent form in one-day cricket and this year they have now won 12 of their 14 matches. After the loss of the captains wicket, Bell and Trott took control, dominating the play throughout their innings. Bell was more cautious to begin with, facing 24 balls before hitting his first four but then he gradually began to play freely. With a moderate target of 221 to win, both batsmen could afford to play watchfully and indeed they did so without any risky strokes. As the innings progressed both batsmen displayed fluent strokes. Bell took his score to 42, advancing down the pitch to lift Robin Peterson for six over extra cover and then steered Steyn to the third man boundary to get to 48 before bringing up his 23rd. ODI half century from 85 balls. A lofted straight drive off Steyn took him to 61 but on 65 he was dropped at mid-on off Lonwabo Tsetsobe. He remained unperturbed and two balls later pulled Tsetsobe for four. Trott gave good support to Bell but just two short of his fifty he fell leg before wicket and 13 runs later England lost Ravi Bopara, caught behind for 6 reducing England to 156 for three. But on 187 Steyn ended Bell innings during which he faced 137 balls, hitting eight fours and a six. Eoin Morgan and Craig Kieswetter then saw England home in an unbroken stand of 37 with Morgan unbeaten on 36 from as many balls and Kieswetter on 21 from just 12 balls as he ended the game dramatically with a six over long-off. . Earlier, after being asked to bat on a slow pitch, South Africas innings seemed to follow the pattern of their previous match two days earlier. Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith once again gave the side a solid start before the innings folded with a mediocre total. Although they were both dropped at slip, Amla on 4 off Steve Finn in the fifth over and Smith on 27 in the sixteenth off Bopara, they did play some fine strokes keeping pace with each other closely with the rate of scoring. England struck in the twentieth over with the first wicket, on 68, when Smith, on 29, swung for a pull off Jade Dernbach and top edged to the wicket-keeper. Amla having hit a glorious six, going down the pitch to lift Dernbach over mid-off went on to hit three fours the last of which, a sweep off James Tredwell took him to 45. But without an addition to his score, he played across the line to a ball from Bopara which came in to hit middle and off. With Amlas wicket South Africa lost three for 15 in 26 balls. JP Duminy became the first of three stumping dismissals by Craig Kieswetter and with Faf du Plessis chopping a ball from Bopara into his stumps for 1, the tourists were quickly down to 115 for four. But a half century stand in 72 balls between AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar brought some recovery before Tredwell brought de Villiers, on 39, down the pitch and had him stumped. South Africas run rate was still slow despite the stand for the fifth wicket and in forty overs they had managed just 160. Tredwell made matters worse for them drawing Wayne Parnell out of his crease and beating him with his off spin for Kieswetter behind the stumps to do the rest. The only boundary, a drive to long-on off Dernbach, by Elgar took him to 34 and a run later he was caught behind. He had helped the side to get to 214 for seven in a partnership of forty with Robin Peterson who remained unbeaten with 31 from 20 balls and that included four fours and the second six of the innings. He had struck the six and a four off consecutive balls from Tredwell. After the eighth wicket fell on 215 from a direct hit for a run out, South Africa added another five runs to end the innings. Tredwell was the pick of the bowlers with three for 35.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Andy Jalil)