South Africa have witnessed one of the most dispiriting Christmas summers in recent times with England winning the Test series 2-1 and flowing it up with a victory in the first One-Day International (ODI) of the five-match series. All this follows up from a cruel 3-0 Test defeat to India in the latter’s backyard. Come the second ODI at Port Elizabeth, South Africa know only a resounding win will make things look joyous for them. They were outplayed by an ever-improving England team in the first match and will look to seize initiative from them in the second game. Full Scorecard: South Africa vs England 2015-16, 2nd ODI at Port Elizabeth
The first match saw England score 399 for 9 in the first innings from their fifty overs. The deck at Bloemfontein was flat and England’s youthful line-up capitalised. Almost all batsmen contributed with scores even though Jos Buttler’s contribution of a 76-ball 105 was easily the most significant. South Africa gravely missed the pace of Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada.
South Africa did respond well with the bat but never got their noses ahead of the task at hand. The inspiring thing for them will be that they managed to remain competitive even though their senior players in Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers failed to get past single digits. Quinton de Kock was resolute and scored an unbeaten 96-ball 138.
Unfortunately, rain interrupted and eventually resulted in playing being brought to a premature end. While South Africa would like to believe they had a chance were it not for the rain, the fact is that England were the more deserving side. READ: AB de Villiers defends bowlers post South Africa vs England 2015-16 1st ODI loss
England will have no quips about how they performed. Among their top six batsmen only one in skipper Eoin Morgan (23) failed to score over 40 runs. There were fifties from Joe Root, Alex Hales and Ben Stokes apart from Buttler’s incredible ton. Importantly all batsmen seemed to play to the need of the situation.
South Africa’s bowlers seemed unable to contain batsmen even though they made frequent breakthroughs. Marchant de Lange was very expensive though others were not far behind. South Africa will want to bring back young sensation Rabada without further delay. He will bring stability to what seems a talented attack.
For England the most productive bowler was off-spinner Moeen Ali who only seems to be getting better with each match. He picked three wickets for 43 runs in his six overs. Chris Jordan was very expensive for them, conceding runs at over 10. David Willey was also fairly impressive, conceding just 30 runs from five overs with the wicket of Amla to go with.
To overpower their emphatic visitors, South Africa will need some reparations in the pace bowling department. It is also crucial that senior stalwarts in de Villiers and Amla contribute big. England should be very pleased with the balance they have at the moment.
South Africa: AB de Villiers (c), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), Marchant de Lange, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw.
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wk), Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes.
Time: 10:00 local | 08:00 GMT | 13:30 IST
(Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)