Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

England win ODI series vs South Africa with 2-run win


For all the 25-year-old's power strokeplay - as exemplified in his blistering 79-ball 101 featuring 11 fours and three sixes during England's two-run win in the second one-day global against South Africa at Southampton on Saturday - Stokes's batting is based on a sound straight drive.

Pretorius replaced Wayne Parnell, Maharaj came in for Imran Tahir and Farhaan Behardien was preferred to JP Duminy, who had played in all 23 of South Africa's previous ODIs in a streak that stretched back to February 14 a year ago.

Jonny Bairstow (51) hit a fighting fifty, but England's middle-order looked vulnerable in the absence of rested Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes.

Fast bowler Rabada took four wickets for 12 runs in his first three overs, before eventually finishing with four for 39 in nine.

England's chastening seven-wicket defeat against South Africa leaves them with questions to answer, and captain Eoin Morgan hoping confidence is intact for the start of the Champions Trophy.

And it was Parnell and Rabada that soon had England on the hop, reducing the home team to an incredible 20/6 after five overs.

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Yet the loss of three wickets for six runs was as bad as it got for the visitors before the experienced pairing of JP Duminy and AB de Villiers picked off the final 55 runs on route to a comfortable victory in just over half the allotted overs.

"Obviously what cost us was that first hour - a lot of live, green grass on the wicket, but ultimately I thought South Africa bowled beautifully".

England face the prospect of having to manage Ben Stokes' knee injury through the Champions Trophy, with the allrounder admitting the team's medical staff is unclear on the full extent of the problem.

Bairstow then gave his wicket away when he charged at Maharaj only to be stumped by de Kock to end a 67-ball knock featuring eight fours. "We've got a good chance of winning it".

When De Kock got a faint edge behind off Moeen the pressure was right back on South Africa's chase.

Jos Buttler and Adil Rashid fell to consecutive deliveries by Rabada in the fifth over - both to catches by Faf du Plessis at second slip - but Bairstow survived the hat-trick ball.

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England's total of 153 in 31.1 overs - the match in total only last 60 overs - was well short of par and that became evident when De Kock and Hashim Amla sharing an opening stand of 95 - easily the highest of the match.

Ball was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Roland-Jones claimed one.

But despite admitting telling Bairstow he was not selected was "the hardest thing", Morgan remains committed to selecting Roy for the start of the Champions Trophy and agreed that last minute changes to the side - something of a characteristic of England going into global tournaments in recent times - might send out an unhelpful message.

Opener Jason Roy, who has reached double figures just once in his past five global innings, was the first to fall as he edged Rabada to slip - and England's top order followed suit.

"We're very confident", he said.

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