England v South Africa, 4th NatWest ODI, Lord's September 1, 2012

Crucial advantage up for grabs

Match Facts

Lord's, September 2
Start time: 10.15am (0915GMT)

The Big Picture

It was not quite a new era for English cricket at The Oval on Friday, but Alastair Cook's first match since being confirmed as the new Test captain was a much-needed victory for the home side as they levelled the one-day series with their first win over South Africa this season.

The four-wicket success was not flashy or especially thrilling, but very efficient and effective which, after a difficult few weeks, was just what England needed to get themselves back on track. It also confirmed that there is not an awful lot between the two teams. The series will now go to the wire in Nottingham next week, but whoever takes the honours at Lord's on Sunday knows they cannot lose.

As has been shown by the yo-yo nature of the last two games it is very difficult to say who has the momentum. England's attack had an extra cutting edge with the return of Jade Dernbach, who took an impressive 3 for 44, and it was a smart move by the hosts to target the stumps considering their recent catching form and they claimed six bowled dismissals and an lbw.

South Africa are finding out that balancing their side in the absence of Jacques Kallis is not easy. They were a batsman light at The Oval and coupled with some lose shots by the top order it left them 30 runs short. If Wayne Parnell, who later bowled very accurately, is to bat at No. 7 the onus is on one of the top four to bat through the innings as Hashim Amla did in Southampton.

Form guide

(Most recent first, completed matches)

England WLWWW
South Africa LWWWW

Watch out for...

Ian Bell has threatened to dominate the South Africa attack in this series without kicking on to a major innings. Rain curtailed him in Cardiff, then a good delivery by Robin Peterson in Southampton before he missed a straight ball from Dale Steyn at The Oval. He looks in good touch and he will not want to waste it. With Cook struggling for a little form and fluency it is important that Bell takes the pressure off his captain.

In the absence of Kallis, and with an eye to the future, JP Duminy needs to show he is a senior batsman in this one-day side. Twice in this series he has played himself in and then given it away, with his miscued shot at The Oval coming at an especially crucial moment with the lower order exposed. His stock rose during the Test series and now he needs to consolidate his one-day position.

Team news

England could well go with an unchanged side which would still mean no place for Jonny Bairstow. Ravi Bopara's tight 10 overs in the previous match will probably earn him another outing despite his batting struggles. Samit Patel did not bowl at The Oval, so in theory Bairstow could replace him, but Cook is likely to want the insurance as Bopara is unlikely to string together a full spell too often.

England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 7 Samit Patel, 8 James Tredwell, 9 James Anderson, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach

South Africa would like to be able to bring back allrounder Albie Morkel to help balance the side but his fitness situation was still unclear following ankle problems. If he is still ruled out, they may need to recall McLaren to offer a little more batting and Lonwabo Tsotsobe could be the one to make way after a poor display at The Oval. Justin Ontong would be another option in the middle order.

South Africa (possible) 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Dean Elgar, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Faf du Plessis, 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Wayne Parnell, 9 Robin Peterson, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Morne Morkel

Pitch and conditions

It would be good to see a one-day pitch with some pace and bounce to encourage stroke play. Now that September has arrived the start time to day games is a little earlier which may encourage some movement for the pace bowlers, but Lord's is usually pretty flat. The forecast is for an overcast, but dry, day.

Stats and trivia

  • Morne Morkel needs three wickets to reach 100 in ODIs

  • England have won the two previous ODIs at Lord's against South Africa, both by seven wickets, in 2003 and 2008. James Anderson and Graeme Smith played in the 2003 match which was the NatWest Series final.

  • Eoin Morgan, Man of the Match at The Oval, averages 47.90 in run chases for England and 64.84 in matches they have won.


"He was really good. He's a wicket-taker, and he came in and got them at crucial times. All our bowlers did well, but especially him. He took two important wickets before the batting Powerplay."
Alastair Cook praises the performance of Jade Dernbach on his return

"From the word go we didn't make it count with the bat and we lost momentum early in the game. The bowlers were up for it and we still believed we could win but we just needed that extra 30 runs."
AB de Villiers bemoans his team's batting effort at The Oval

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo