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The Preview by Alex Winter
September 4, 2012
Trent Bridge, September 5
Start time: 2.00pm (1300 GMT)
Features : England's Bopara conundrum
News : Trott ruled out of last ODI with hand injury
News : We are under pressure - de Villiers
Features : England show long-term promise
Matches: England v South Africa at Nottingham
Series/Tournaments: South Africa tour of England
The Big Picture
England's victory at Lord's ensured their unbeaten run at home continues - they have not lost an ODI series at home since 2009 when Australia won by a country mile. But that was After the Lord Mayor's Show since the Ashes were already won and South Africa will cast this series off as just the same, particularly if they lose the final rubber.
With the No. 1 ranking secure until the new year, England have at least a major achievement to take away from this summer and are building well. The test of their progress will come in India but for the time being they can be content with several plus points that bode well for their long term vision towards the 2015 World Cup. One of those is the offspinner James Tredwell who was superb at Lord's. He has proved a more than capable replacement for Graeme Swann and England should be confident that should Swann need to be rested, Tredwell is the wings.
South Africa will need to play Tredwell, and Samit Patel far better if they are to put a good total on the board - their downfall in the two games they have lost. Their middle order is beginning to look as fragile as Australia's earlier in the summer, although the quality of personnel in the South Africa line-up is far better on paper; but they haven't delivered as AB de Villiers conceded.
Their bowling also lacked punch at Lord's and Morne Morkel is needed back in the attack if South Africa are to maintain pressure and get below Eoin Morgan sooner in the innings. They will be pleased that Jonathan Trott isn't available for England, who will most likely bring in Jonny Bairstow and either promote Ravi Bopara or Craig Kieswetter to No. 3.
But that will be a call for Alastair Cook and Richard Halsall, the England fielding coach, to consider, as Andy Flower is taking a week off. The ECB denied Flower would use the time to conduct more meetings with Kevin Pietersen.
Form guide(Most recent first, completed matches)
South Africa LLWWW
Watch out for
Ravi Bopara has been on a downward spiral with the bat since his self-inflicted exile from the second Test. With Trott out of the side, Bopara should be looking forward to more time at the crease but his current form may see England opt to keep Bopara at No. 4 and reduce the risk of losing two early wickets. Fortunately for Bopara his bowling is keeping him in the side but he needs runs.
AB de Villiers has not made the big runs he produced against Sri Lanka and New Zealand earlier this year and by his own admission has been guilty of not continuing his starts - 39, 28 and 28 in the last three games - into scores that could put England under pressure chasing. With several players around him out of form, de Villiers needs a captain's knock at Trent Bridge.
England's replacement for Trott is likely to be Bairstow, the spare batsman in the squad. England could move Craig Kieswetter up the order to save the out-of-form Bopara going in at No. 3 under pressure.
England (possible) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Craig Kieswetter (wkt), 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Samit Patel, 8 James Tredwell, 9 James Anderson, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach
South Africa lacked bite to their bowling attack and will want to get Morne Morkel back into their XI, possibly in place of Lonwabo Tsotsobe. Justin Ontong is also an option to replace one of the middle-order batsmen.
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
The Trent Bridge wickets have got better as the season has progressed and with the weather forecast set for warm and sunny, batting first will be the desired option given the September dew may come into play under the floodlights.
Stats and trivia
"It'd be nice to see him back in England colours. He's a great player; we know he's a class player. I hope for him things turn out well."
Despite his side's success in one-day cricket Ravi Bopara would like to see Kevin Pietersen back for England
"I've seen them win matches for their teams back home on the big stage in finals and stuff like that. But they are inexperienced and when you have inexperience in your team you need the senior players to take control, including myself."
AB de Villiers identifies how his batting order can improve.
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