A super bowling effort led by James Tredwell, replacement offspinner after Graeme Swann was rested, and some sensible batting by Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan led England to yet another One-Day International win against South Africa. Six wickets was the margin of the victory for England at Lord's, and the win took them 2-1 ahead in the five-ODI series after four matches, with the first game washed out.
England opted to bowl after winning the toss, and Steven Finn and James Anderson, the new ball bowlers, justified Alastair Cook's decision with disciplined efforts. South Africa paid the price for the overcautious approach from Graeme Smith (29) and Hashim Amla (45), who took 19.1 overs to put on 68 runs for the opening wicket, before Jade Dernbach had Smith caught behind. "We made the most of the early conditions. Finny (Finn) and Jimmy (Anderson) up front asked plenty of questions," said Cook afterwards.
Jean-Paul Duminy was promoted to No. 3 in a quest to up the scoring rate, but he wasn't helped by Amla's dismissal, bowled by Ravi Bopara, which meant South Africa had to rebuild. Even that didn't happen with Duminy falling for 18 to Tredwell (3 for 35) as South Africa slipped to 106 for 3 in the 26th over. Bopara had his second wicket when Faf du Plessis (1) was bowled soon after.
AB De Villiers lent some solidity to the innings with a 46-ball 39, but he fell to Tredwell just as South Africa looked for a push in the last 10 overs. Tredwell had his third when Wayne Parnell was stumped for 12.
But Dean Elgar, playing in only his fourth ODI, held one end up to make a solid 36. The real impetus, though, came from Robin Peterson, who made an unbeaten 31 in just 20 balls with the help of four boundaries and a six. The duo put together a vital 40 runs for the seventh wicket to help South Africa cross the 200-run mark. South Africa eventually ended on 220 for 8 from their 50 overs.
221 didn't look like a formidable enough target, but Dale Steyn created a flutter off the last ball of the first over of the England innings, when he sent Cook (2) back leg before. But a watchful and risk-free partnership between Bell (88) and Trott (48), appropriate when the asking rate was just over four an over, changed the scenario completely. Bell and Trott batted together for 30.5 overs, scored 141 runs together, and took England to 143 before Trott became the second England batsman to be dismissed.
Bopara (6) fell soon after, but Bell, in collaboration with Morgan, ensured England stayed ahead. Bell finally fell in the 44thover. By then, England had reached 186, just 34 behind South Africa's total. Bell hit eight fours and one six in his innings. "I've been working at Warwickshire at hitting over the top, that's what you need to do opening the batting in one-day internationals," explained Bell afterwards.
The end for South Africa came quickly, as Morgan scored a run-a-ball unbeaten 36 and Craig Kieswetter scored 21 hectic runs from 18 balls. The duo took England past the post with 20 balls remaining. "We've got a lot to look at now; our middle order failed again," said de Villiers. "We keep getting in and fail to go on to big runs. We just didn't have enough runs on the board today."
The last ODI will be played in Nottingham on September 5.