Brilliant Bell leads charge with 88 as England look set to take series after thumping South Africa at Lord's
19:00 GMT, 2 September 2012
Jonathan Trott has to drag himself from the crease even at lunch and tea so there was no way he would let the small matter of a suspected broken hand stop him from helping to cement England’s place at the top of the world one-day rankings.
The man who loves to bat on and on was perfect for the job in hand after England had again lost Alastair Cook cheaply in pursuit of the victory that confirms their No 1 ranking whatever the result at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
Trott did not disappoint. Even a nasty blow on the right glove from Dale Steyn at his most hostile could stop him joining Ian Bell in guiding England calmly towards their target of 221 to guarantee them at least a share of this series.
Whack! Ian Bell was in remarkable form at the Oval
Something to cheer: Dale Steyn celebrated the wicket of Alastair Cook
ENGLAND V SOUTH AFRICA
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Bell chose the day after team director
Andy Flower took the first step to welcoming Kevin Pietersen back into
the England fold to remind the errant star he will not give up his place
at the top of the one-day order lightly.
Flower met Pietersen on Saturday and will report back to Hugh Morris,
managing director of England cricket, on Monday before giving the green
light to talks with new captain Cook this week. There is a way to go
before England can even contemplate selecting Pietersen for their winter
Tests in India but it is a start.
A slow start to the reply is what Bell and Trott gave England here at
Lord’s, but as South Africa had again under-achieved with the bat they
had no need to rush in this fourth NatWest one-day international.
It looked as though Trott would have to retire hurt when Steyn, hitting
90 miles per hour, forced one through his good friend’s defences and on
to his glove but Trott is made of stern stuff. He gulped down a couple
of painkillers, winced through a few virtually one-handed shots and
joined Bell in a partnership of 141.
Off you go: Dean Elgar celebrated the dismissal of Jonathan Trott by lbw
Well done! Steven Finn congratulated Jade Dernbach after running out Ryan McLaren
It was just the tonic England needed after the loss of the Test series
and captain Andrew Strauss. After this emphatic six-wicket victory, they
should remain top of the one-day world until at least the new year.
Trott, who will have an X-ray on Monday, fell two runs short of his
half-century to a reviewed lbw off Dean Elgar originally turned down by
Simon Taufel. But Bell, given another one-day chance this season when
Pietersen retired from limited-overs cricket, marched on.
Bell had finally shown he could convert his natural gifts to the one-day
stage with a century against West Indies on his return this summer and
he added 88 before becoming bogged down and falling to Steyn.
South Africa made an impressive start to this series but it is clear
that, if you get beyond the big guns of Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and AB
De Villiers, there is a lack of depth to their one-day side, if not
their Test one.
England did their best to keep the biggest South African gun of all,
Amla, at the crease when they dropped him yet again, James Tredwell the
culprit at slip this time when the run machine had scored just four.
Spectator sport: Cook (right) was bowled out for just two runs
Get in! James Tredwell bowled South Africa captain AB de Villiers
Tredwell erred again in this summer of inexplicably poor England
fielding when he reprieved Smith but Graeme Swann’s stand-in displayed
his character in putting those lapses behind him to play a leading role
with the ball.
Ravi Bopara bowled Amla with a beauty and forced Faf du Plessis to chop
on, celebrating both with an old-fashioned handshake. But Tredwell did
the bulk of the damage with three wickets, all of them enlisting the
help of Craig Kieswetter, who became the first England keeper to make
three stumpings in a one-day international.
Cook’s lean spell going back to the first Test continued when England
batted, while Bopara’s repeated misfortunes with the willow are in
contrast to his increasing importance with the ball. Trott’s probable
absence should mean Jonny Bairstow gets his chance at Trent Bridge
without the Essex man being dropped but Bopara could do with some runs
in that game.
On the day it did not matter, Eoin Morgan and Kieswetter hurrying
England home with 20 balls to spare in another one-sided match which did
little for 50-over cricket. England will not worry about that. They
were professional and, more importantly, dominant.