South Africa A v England XI, warm-up match, Bloemfontein

England humbled in Twenty20 warm-up

Andrew McGlashan

November 10, 2009

Comments: 3 | Text size: A | A

South Africa A 90 for 6 (Swann 2-9) beat England XI 89 (Ontong 2-9) by four wickets

CJ de Villiers took two early wickets to undermine England, South Africa A v England XI, Bloemfontein, November 10, 2009
CJ de Villiers started England's collapse with two wickets © Getty Images

It wouldn't be an England tour without a warm-up embarrassment and on cue, after two impressive 50-over displays, the tourists capitulated for a paltry 89 on a slow pitch at Bloemfontein to a strong South Africa A side. A four-wicket defeat is hardly ideal preparation four days before the opening international of the trip, but reinforces the notion that England's 20-over game is still some way off the pace.

Andrew Strauss had hoped the good work of recent days wouldn't unravel after passing over the captaincy to Paul Collingwood for the Twenty20 matches. After batting with freedom and confidence in their first two warm-up matches, England couldn't find any momentum on a stodgy surface and weren't helped by three comical run outs. They failed to use 15 of their allocated deliveries as the last six wickets fell in 26 balls.

The day hadn't started well for the visitors when James Anderson pulled up with a sore knee and was rested as a precaution. He is expected to be fit for Friday's opening Twenty20 international, but it left England without any of their frontline quicks as Stuart Broad (shoulder) and Graham Onions (back) were still sidelined.

Alastair Cook's top-score of 22 summed up England's evening as he used up 30 balls and was given two lives in the process. In total the team managed just five fours and a six during the innings in conditions not suited to free-flowing scoring and against an eager attack.

The damage was started by CJ de Villiers - who is making a name for himself after his Super Over exploits for the Eagles against Sussex at the Champions League - when he had Joe Denly caught behind after the bowler had spilled consecutive chances off both openers. In his next over de Villiers bagged the in-form Jonathan Trott who sliced to point.

Collingwood tried to counter attack as he struck his first two balls for four and six against de Villiers, but Morne Morkel sustained the pressure with a tight spell and Collingwood was bowled by Thandi Tshabalala's first ball. England scored at a crawl as Cook and Eoin Morgan attempted to rebuild but the innings fell apart swiftly when both departed in the space of three balls. Matt Prior, Luke Wright and Tim Bresnan were all run out and when Sajid Mahmood fell for the final wicket, England had failed to reach triple figures or bat out their overs.

Having assessed the surface the new ball was thrown to Graeme Swann and he responded with another impressive spell of 2 for 9 as South Africa A were made to work. Adil Rashid also collected a couple in an encouraging display, but Vaughn van Jaarsveld and Rory Kleinveldt ended any doubts over the result with some powerful hitting.

England won't read too much into the result - they have a history of recovering from such setbacks - and conditions in the highveld will be much different. However, if they cared to flick through the TV channels they would have come across pictures of South Africa wiping the floor with Zimbabwe at Centurion Park. This was a day where they were reminded how tough this tour will be.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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Posted by AndyMick on (November 11, 2009, 10:57 GMT)

Who really cares about 20/20 rubbish, come on honestly, who cares? It means nothing in the overall scheme of things, especially a warm up game, as it is the test series then the 50 over games and then 20/20 rubbish that is the cricketing list f importance. I probably wont even watch the 20/20 rubbish, but will be glued to the test matches. With respect to KP, he should only play AFTER he has proved his match fitness and you guys have to remember that England did not have 3 front line bowlers.

Posted by 7477 on (November 11, 2009, 4:38 GMT)

the powerful South African line up of Smith/Kallis/Duminy/De Villiers/Morkel/Boucher/Mclaren/Van der Merwe/Botha/Steyn/Langeveldt is going to easily overhaul the best line up England could offer during the 20/20 which is Wright/Denly/Trott/Collingwood/Morgan/Prior/Bresnan/Rashid/Swann/Mahmood/Anderson. KP can b included in the 2nd 20/20 if either Denly or Trott fails in the 1st. Prior cud open & if Broad is back Mahmood to pave he way. in either way SA will make a clean sweep of 2-0 & they will make the Englishmen pay heavily. on paper always SA looks the better side but as v all know they r very vulnerable & have been carrying the 'Chokers' tag for over a decade now. but i think they are always very deadly if they play & click well as a unit.

Posted by kentspitfires on (November 10, 2009, 21:59 GMT)

Very pooe innings once again by England. Luke Wright should open to get England off to a good start. Why did Denly bowl when Trott or Wright could have bowled. Collingwood should quit captaincy as he does not know what he is doing and he needs to focus more on his batting

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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