Cape Town – It is one down and four to go
for Ian Botham’s audacious theory that England may win the one-day
international series against South Africa by a 5-0 margin.
The legendary all-rounder and television
commentator, who was in the country for the preceding Test series recently, offered
25/1 on Sky Bet for an English clean sweep, ahead of the series which started
in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
He is at least on track for that
possibility as Eoin Morgan’s troops won the rain-affected opener by 39 runs on
the Duckworth/Lewis method.
Botham was quoted as saying in praise of
the current England side: “There’s no reason they can’t win the series. They
are young, exciting and brimming with confidence after that Test series win.
“South Africa ... have a few injury
concerns and I think England can capitalise on that. They (can) win the series
There will be a few nervous flutters among
South Africans, after the way the SA attack was hammered at Mangaung Oval,
about Botham’s 5-0 ship possibly coming in.
But for it to happen, England will have to
fly very strongly in the face of history.
The Proteas have only once previously been
clean-swept in a five-match bilateral ODI series, under Graeme Smith’s
leadership in Sri Lanka in 2004 when Mahela Jayawardene had the home-team
The closest that has come to occurring
again subsequently was in England in 2008, when the hosts led 4-0 and the fifth
contest in Cardiff was abandoned due to bad weather after only three overs.
But they have not been humiliated in such
fashion on home soil – in fact, the Proteas have only ever lost one five-match
series here, 2-1 to the English in 2009/10 when it was actually a three-game
roster anyway (the first match at the Wanderers and fifth at Kingsmead were
South Africa get the chance to both level
the series and destroy Botham’s 5-0 idea when the second ODI takes place in
Port Elizabeth on Saturday (10:00 start).
*Here is the full range of “Beefy’s Bets”:
6/5 England to win the series; 25/1 England to win 5-0; 4/1 Adil Rashid to be
England’s top wicket-taker; 15/2 Ben Stokes to be England’s top run-scorer; 4/1
AB de Villiers to be SA’s top run-scorer; 11/4 Imran Tahir to be SA’s top
our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing