Alastair Cook praised the role of England's recalled bowlers, Jade Dernbach and James Tredwell, in helping level the one-day series against South Africa. The pair shared five wickets, with Dernbach talking three and Tredwell two, as the visitors were bowled out for 211 to set up a four-wicket victory.
At the toss Cook said the aim was to "freshen up" the attack with the inclusion of Dernbach ahead of Tim Bresnan who has struggled to make an impact this season with the growing suspicion he is not quite the same bowler as before his elbow surgery at the end of the last year. England were already without Stuart Broad who was rested for this series and Dernbach was preferred ahead of allrounder Chris Woakes.
He responded with 3 for 44 including the vital wicket of Hashim Amla, bowled off an inside edge, but his most impressive moment came against Dean Elgar when he confounded the left hander with a superbly disguised slower ball that took off stump. Throughout the innings Dernbach used his variations cleverly rather than overdoing the slower deliveries as he has occasionally in the past.
"He was really good. He's a wicket-taker, and he came in and got them at crucial times," Cook said. "All our bowlers did well, but especially him. He took two important wickets before the batting Powerplay.
"The difference here was we kept taking wickets at just about the right times. We never allowed them to get away from us, and that way we were able to keep them to 211."
Tredwell, meanwhile, again proved an able deputy to Graeme Swann who has been rested for the remainder of the series ahead of the Twenty20 matches later this month. Earlier in the season Tredwell slotted in for Swann against Australia at Old Trafford with 2 for 23 and this time claimed 2 for 49 including the innings-changing scalp of AB de Villiers.
"Tredwell is just a really, really good performer," Cook said. "He knows his game really well; he's a great man to have around, and it's nice to have that strength in depth. He hasn't played that much for England. But every time he has, he's never let us down. He does it week in, week out for Kent - and every time he's played for England, he's done it too."
Cook also said that it was always the management's intention to give Swann the final three matches off and that it was not an immediate response to any increasing concern about his troublesome elbow where he is contending with floating bone fragments.
"We were always going to rest Swanny for the last three games. We planned to rest him, quite simply. He was fit to play, but it was a decision Andy and I made before the series started. With the amount of cricket we have coming up, we have to look at the bigger picture - and it's really nice as a captain to have someone as solid and as good at James Tredwell to come in."