South Africa keen to redress seam deficits
Saturday, February 6, 2016
Start time 1000 local (0800 GMT)
At some point in the second ODI between South Africa and England in Port Elizabeth, the bang of the hammer at the IPL auction is bound to intrude. Jos Buttler, available for the first time, was wise enough to shrug that he will be just "a piece of meat" but the system is what it is and, as one of the prize cuts on view, it would be forgivable if he fell asleep on Friday night with his mind as much on IPL as his England career. Such moments can be life-changing.
AB de Villiers suggested that South Africa were on target for victory when rain intervened in Bloemfontein with them 250 for 5 in the 34th over, still 150 short of victory. Messrs Duckworth Lewis disagreed and gave victory to England by 39 runs. A third view is that no rain tables can be expected to quantify the innings played by Quinton de Kock. If he had remained at the crease, his brilliance might well have won it, but it would have just taken the fall of his wicket for England to look comfortably in control.
Neverthless, the rain fell, England went 1-0 up, but South Africa had enough cause to talk up their confidence levels. It could be a different game in Port Elizabeth where scoreboards do not often run riot. The emphasis could be more on the respective seam attacks and neither particularly impressed in on the flat deck at the Mangaung Oval with Marchant de Lange and Chris Jordan having particularly troubled nights. England's new-ball attack, though, was the steadier and that is what South Africa will be eager to redress.
England's one-day exploits have attracted much praise, but even in these batsman-dominated days the sense remains that they are more content with their batting than their bowling. That is why Stuart Broad is in the squad and why he can be expected to get an airing at some point in the series.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
South Africa: LWLWL
In the spotlight
Rilee Rossouw missed South Africa's 3-2 defeat of India in an ODI series in late 2015 because of a stress fracture of the foot, a disappointing end to a year that had started so strikingly with hundreds against West Indies in Johannesburg and Centurion in the space of 10 days. He is not a name familiar to England, having never met them before in 36 appearances in limited-overs formats which preceded the first ODI in Bloemfontein. His record has advanced since four ducks in his first six international innings and he now has the chance to make an impression on England.
Adil Rashid's stint in BBL could not have worked out any better, as his coach at England, Trevor Bayliss, testified. Rashid took 16 wickets at 14.12 to emerge as the most successful bowler in the group stages although he could not quite bowl the Adelaide Strikers to victory in the semi-final. What was evident, though, was a strength of character that the legspinner has not always shown at England level. Rashid, in Bayliss' words, had taken his chance to become more "worldly" and England will hope to see signs of that in the matches ahead.
Kyle Abbott has recovered from a hamstring injury that troubled him throughout the Test series and is expected to play. Marchant de Lange is likely to be omitted after his uncontrolled return in the first game. Having rested Kagiso Rabada in the opening match, South Africa could opt to do the same with Morne Morkel this time around unless the surface looks so seam-friendly that Imran Tahir is omitted.
South Africa (probable) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Rilee Rossouw, 7 Farhaan Behardien, 8 Chris Morris, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Kyle Abbott, 11 Imran Tahir or Morne Morkel
England routinely opt for an unchanged side after a one-day victory, but the display of Chris Jordan must have brought cause for concern. He was all over the place and, if you track back to his previous ODI against New Zealand at The Oval, has now had two troubled matches in a row, albeit eight months apart, in which he has bowled 14.3 overs for 153 runs. In fairness, he has not played much cricket of late, so obviously his recall was a tough ask, but he will need to lock onto the job in Port Elizabeth to hold down his place. And if the pitch looks bowler-orientated, do not entirely rule out an outing for Stuart Broad.
England (probable) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Alex Hales, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Jordan / Stuart Broad, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 David Willey, 11 Reece Topley
Pitch and conditions
A sunny day with energetic breezes is forecast for Port Elizabeth with no chance, it seems, of the rain that curtailed the first match in Bloemfontein. Port Elizabeth pitches often make batsmen work hard for their runs, so a different challenge awaits than the 400 wicket at the Mangaung Oval.
Stats and trivia
- England and South Africa first met in Port Elizabeth in 1889 - the first Test to be staged outside England or Australia - when South Africa's run rate in making 84 barely surpassed one run an over.
- Jos Buttler has now matched Alec Stewart's England record of four hundreds in ODIs as a wicketkeeper.
- Eight England batsmen hit a total of 15 sixes in Bloemfontein. Both figures were national records.
- While England made their second-highest one-day international total of 399 to beat South Africa, the batsman they shunned, Kevin Pietersen, took to Instagram with a picture of himself smoking hookah in Dubai. That is one way to ease the pain of not appearing in the forthcoming World Twenty20.
"I felt we made a lot of mistakes. We weren't as disciplined as we'd want to be. So that is the focus for tomorrow, to try to hold the pressure a little bit longer."
Faf du Plessis wants to see South Africa start better with the ball than they did in Bloemfontein.
"It's quite a strange feeling - you put yourself in the hat and you see what happens: I could be sat on my sofa in April."
Jos Buttler tries to come to terms with the uncertainty of an IPL auction as he prepares for the second ODI.
David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps