England in SA

SA outplayed by England

2009-11-22 21:51
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)
Centurion - South Africa's resounding loss to England in their MTN one-day international (ODI) at SuperSport Park on Sunday was particularly disappointing because South Africa were outplayed in every area.

That was the response from Proteas captain Graeme Smith after his team went down by seven wickets, with four overs to spare, giving England a 1-0 lead in the series. The first match at the Wanderers on Friday was washed out by rain.

Sunday's victory was England's sixth consecutive win over South Africa.

However, Smith was not too downcast.

"There's still a lot of cricket to be played in this series," he said.

"We'll work hard in Cape Town this week - it's a ground we've played well at, and we have a good record there."

Smith declined to make excuses for South Africa's disappointing performance, but said the loss of Jacques Kallis, who has a fractured rib cartilage, had been a major blow to the side.

"There's a gap of experience around our group at the moment that needs to be filled by the middle-tier guys. When you lose a guy with 280, 290 matches behind him, and a world-class all-rounder, it makes a big difference to our balance.

"But it's up to the other players now - there are new opportunities. Hashim (Amla) played well, his game keeps going up, but the rest of us are just going to have to step up and fill the gap."

The Proteas captain will be relieved that another player with vast experience, Herschelle Gibbs, has been called up to replace Kallis. Gibbs will join the Proteas in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Smith praised Man of the Match Paul Collingwood, who scored a century on the day he became England's most capped ODI player, when he took the field for the 171st time.

"He's the kind of player you'd like in your team," said Smith. "He gives 100 per cent every time he walks onto the park - he's a gutsy cricketer and he's playing very well at the moment."

Collingwood said it had been a very proud day for him. He scored a century, took two wickets and a catch.

"It was a perfect day," he said. "In the context of world cricket, it's possibly not that many appearances, but it was a nice feeling to turn up this morning and go on the park and have everything go perfectly from an individual and also from a team point of view. It was a special team performance."

His captain, Strauss, said Collingwood was playing better than he had ever played, and was well deserving of any accolades he received.

"Players of Collie's temperament are always dangerous," he said. "They always like the difficult situations, and Collie has often played his best for England when things are a bit against the wall - but today was just a great example of us playing the type of cricket we want to play and not making it hard for ourselves. Hopefully we can take some confidence from that and keep moving up."

The third ODI will be played at Newlands in Cape Town on Friday, followed by a match in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. The final ODI will be played at Kingsmead in Durban on Friday week.

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