Ten of the best for England
After their impressive series victory over Australia, England are now on a 10 game ODI winning streak are ranked third in the world.
A whitewash was definitely on the cards for England but a washout in game three of the series meant that they couldn’t achieve that.
They did, though, get the second best result they could, a 4-0 series win after another terrific all-round fielding display by England limited Australia to just 145-7 from their limited 32 overs due to bad weather.
More bad weather threatened England’s run chase, and a reviewed total through the Duckworth-Lewis method gave England a target of 138 from 29 overs.
Bopara and Morgan managed to steer England home with five balls remaining to seal a well deserved victory.
Bopara was man of the match with his 53 from 56 balls, and Cook was another stand out batsmen with another half century.
Ian Bell won man of the series at the end of series presentations, which is thoroughly deserved after three solid innings and good performances in the field.
The series win was somewhat of a surprise to the public, although the players and coaching staff will no doubt have believed in themselves to be able to win every game.
Any Oz supporter will no doubt come out with the classic “we had injuries” and “if we had a full squad” excuses, but isn’t that part of the sport?
Being able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances such as injuries and have a squad with depth and talent which you can bring in to replace your “stars”?
England certainly have that.
The question on everyone’s lips now is: Do South Africa have that?
After the horrific injury to Mark Boucher, which has incidentally forced him to retire from cricket, do South Africa have another calm, experienced professional who can help lead the Proteas to a test series win?
I don’t know how the injury will affect the African camp, especially as it isn’t a “normal” injury, and it was suffered in a no-pressure warm-up game against Somerset.
It sounds harsh, but hopefully England can capitalise on any sort of weakness that South Africa show in relation to losing Boucher. Again, it’s all part of the sport – adapting to unforeseen circumstances.
There has been a lot of criticism over the ODI series against Australia.
People saying that it has detracted enthusiasm and importance away from The Ashes series, which starts at Trent Bridge on July 10, 2013.
Others say that it has prevented more test cricket being played against South Africa, and because the two teams are so closely matched at the top of the ICC world rankings, there should have been a longer series than just two games.
The reason for the ODI series with Australia, is probably money.
Everybody loves a game of cricket against the Old Enemy, regardless of the format, and it’s a guaranteed full house as soon as the venues are announced.
Has the draw of ODI’s and T20’s overhauled that of the more historic and traditional test cricket?
There’s certainly more money in that form of the game, and some argue that it is more entertaining because of the close run chases sometimes going down to the last ball.
But you can’t get better than five days of pure, hard cricket, tactics between the sides, between the batsmen and the bowler and between the captains at the absolute max for five whole days.
The series against South Africa is just eight days away, and I for one can’t wait to see the two elite sides of the test cricketing world go head to head in a battle for first.