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Pink Proteas pummeled


Expect more hiccups like this along the way for the Proteas One-Day team

Third ODI at Imperial Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg

South Africa (7 wickets)256

England (8 wickets)257

Result: England win by 2 wickets

Series tied 1-1

Expect more hiccups like this along the way for the Proteas One-Day team.

There is too much inexperience and too many players making comebacks and so this team lacks rhythm and consistency. It will do so for a while yet. What they do have is fight, something you’d expect from any group with Mark Boucher as coach. That they managed to drag this match into the final 10 overs says plenty about their grit, although England worked very hard to try and lose.

South Africa’s selection for this shortened three match series against the World Champions was about giving opportunities to some and a rest to others like Faf du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada.

It was also the chance to assess Quinton de Kock’s captaincy and that has stood up well – mostly. There will continue to be a debate about whether he continues as opening batsman, wicket-keeper and captain and more data along those lines can be assessed in the T20s that will be played next week.

As for this match, he made 69 to hold the top order together, led well, but wasn’t helped by his bowlers, especially Lungi Ngidi, or the fielding (Ngidi guilty of dropping two catches) in defence of a below-par total.

This team does depend a lot on De Kock’s contribution and the quicker the load is shared around the better.

This was a tricky surface initially – somewhat two-paced -which demanded due care from De Kock and Bavuma, who shared a stand of 66 for the second wicket after the early dismissal of Reeza Hendricks to the England debutant Saqib Mahmood.

There was drama during Bavuma’s dismissal in the 21st over. He reviewed a decision to give him out lbw. Although ball tracking gave three red ticks, there was doubt over whether Bavuma got a thin inside edge on the ball before it hit his pads. The ‘ultra edge’ wasn’t working however meaning Bavuma didn’t have full use of the technology and as a result the umpires reinstated the Proteas’ review.

That was not immediately clear to anyone, including the new batsman Rassie van der Dussen, or the England team so when Van der Dussen was given out lbw first ball, he didn’t know he could review.

Just before Van der Dussen left the playing area, he was stopped, while the umpires informed De Kock and his England counterpart Eoin Morgan about the situation regarding SA’s retained review.

Umpire Shaun George’s decision was correctly overturned, although the big crowd was oblivious and sections of the English fans were none too pleased with Van der Dussen booing him throughout his very brief innings.

De Kock would make 69, as did David Miller, who finished not out taking only 53 balls, hitting the last delivery of the innings for six. However there was little help from the rest of the batsmen.

For England, Adil Rashid’s leg-spin garnered three wickets.

Jonny Bairstow took advantage of Ngidi’s waywardness up front as England rolled along at nearly eight an over in the first power play.

That really should have broken the back of the chase, and although Joe Root weighed in with 49 and Joe Denly with 66, England still managed to get a case of the jitters, leaving Moeen Ali to marshall the tail and get them home.

South Africa will be frustrated by their efforts on both sides of the ball; not enough was done by the middle order to get them to 300, and then the bowlers were too ill-disciplined in defence of a total that required greater accuracy.

These are lessons they need to learn, but the fact that they took the world champions so close, will be a boost.

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