London - South African captain AB de Villiers had no doubt about where the responsibility lay for his team’s dull defeat by four wickets to England at The Oval in London on Friday admitting that the senior batsmen “including myself” let the team down.
The tourists managed just 211 all out with 20 balls remaining of their innings after de Villiers won the toss and chose to bat first and, although England were made to work exceptionally hard for their victory, the result never looked in doubt with man-of-the-match Eoin Morgan batting superbly for his 73 from 67 balls while Jonathan Trott produced a teeth-grinding 71 from 125 balls.
“It was a decent surface to bat on, certainly not a 210 wicket. We were aiming for something like 250 and we should have got there. A number of senior players, including myself, got in and made decent starts but we weren’t able to push on when we needed to,” de Villiers said.
“The bowlers did a superb job to make a decent situation out of the bad one we had put them in but we just didn’t have enough runs on the board. It was especially disappointing because the ball started to turn and reverse swing towards the end of the England innings and they were finding it harder to score runs. If we’d had the extra 30 runs it would have made it a very interesting finish.”
England skipper Alistair Cook said his team had shown “a lot of character to restrict them to 211 after they were 50-1” and admitted that he would not have “wanted to chase too many more than that.”
“It’s a relief to get the first win over South Africa in any format this summer and now we can look forward to a good weekend with the second game at Lord’s on Sunday. It’s 1-1 and there’s all to play for,” Cook said.
Morgan agreed that South Africa’s bowlers had “done an excellent job” but credited his form and ability to find the gaps in the field to his six week stint in the IPL where, ironically, he didn’t play a game: “I had a lot of time to work on my game and I made some technical changes that helped on wickets like this,” Irishman Morgan said.