TELFORD VICE in Cape Town
ENGLAND aren’t in South Africa’s group at the Champions Trophy, but if the teams clash in the semi-finals or final the pitch is likely to be as flat as the top of the Lord’s pavilion.
And nothing like the surface on which South Africa reduced England to 20/6 on their way to a seven-wicket win in the third one-day international at Lord’s on Monday.
“It doesn’t always happen that you get nick-offs like that; it happens every once in a while,” Kagiso Rabada, who took 4/39, told reporters in London.
“If the conditions are like that it’s going to be hard for any team. Even our batsmen were cautious.
“The wicket was green and it played like a test wicket.”
Russell Domingo looked at the bigger picture of what that meant for England and their opponents.
“We knew conditions were favourable for bowling but I suppose that’s the way England bat at times – if there is something in the wicket and you land the ball in the right areas and they nick the ball you’ve got a chance against them because they play that expansive brand of cricket,” Domingo said.
“On flatter wickets they’re going to be hell of a dangerous.
“But the bowlers will always have a chance against them when there’s something in the wicket because of the way they’re going about their batting at the moment.”
South Africa’s win was too little, too late to stop them from losing the series, which England claimed with victories in the first two games.
But the visitors played far more convincing cricket in the last two matches.
“Every international is important so whether we’re 2-0 up or 2-0 down we try and approach it with the same intensity,” Domingo said.
“There were a lot of benefits and positives from these last two games that we can take forward into the Champions Trophy so we’re pretty happy with the way things have panned out for us.”
Morne Morkel played his first ODI since June on Monday. He missed South Africa’s previous 18 matches in the format with a back injury.
Morkel went wicketless but he was South Africa’s most miserly bowler, conceding 15 runs in his four overs.
But it seems his path to a regular spot in the ODI side was not clear.
“It’s a catch-22 situation because having Morne there might strengthen our bowling [but] it gives us more of a tail not having the three allrounders,” Domingo said.
“He’s had a long-term injury layoff and the bowlers that have played in his place have done really well.”
South Africa play their first Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka at The Oval in London on Saturday.