England v South Africa: Thrilling bowling display helps hosts level ODI series

2 weeks ago 352
Second Royal London one-day international, Emirates Old Trafford
England 201 (28.1 overs): Livingstone 38 (26), Curran 35 (18); Pretorius 4-36
South Africa 83 (20.4 overs): Klaasen 33 (40); Rashid 3-29, Topley 2-17, Moeen 2-22
England won by 118 runs; level series at 1-1

A thrilling bowling performance helped England level the one-day international series against South Africa with an emphatic 118-run win in a rain-affected game at Emirates Old Trafford.

Defending 201 in 29 overs, a devastating new-ball burst reduced South Africa to 6-4 inside four overs before they were eventually bowled out for 83.

Reece Topley took two wickets in the third before David Willey dismissed Quinton de Kock to start the fourth and Jos Buttler's sensational fielding ran out Aiden Markram before he had faced a ball.

Sam Curran bowled David Miller before England's spin duo of Adil Rashid (3-29) and Moeen Ali (2-22) combined to bowl South Africa out in just 20.4 overs.

After a delay of almost four hours, England made 201 before being bowled out with five balls to go after being put into bat by the tourists.

Liam Livingstone top-scored with 38, including hitting three successive sixes off Anrich Nortje, while Curran smashed a brutal 18-ball 35.

It was the fifth game in a row England failed to bat their overs and it felt like their total could lead to a third successive defeat for the first time since February 2016.

But instead they set up a series decider at Headingley on Sunday (11:00 BST).

New-ball burst sets up win

After five defeats in seven games since becoming a partnership, captain Buttler and new head coach Matthew Mott went into the match needing a positive result to silence some of the outside noise.

Their total looked no more than par, but four wickets fell in a 10-ball spell with no runs added, to effectively win the game.

Topley, who had taken 12 wickets in his previous three games, had Janneman Malan caught at mid-on, before Rassie van der Dussen strangled down the leg-side.

De Kock's wicket was the big one, before Buttler swooped in and superbly gathered and under-hand flicked towards the stumps, with Markram a yard short of his ground.

At that point England's biggest threat was the weather as rain returned, but Buttler cleverly turned to his spinners and they were able to rip through them.

Moeen deceived Heinrich Klaasen to have him stumped, before Rashid claimed Keshav Maharaj, Dwaine Pretorius and Lungi Ngidi as England raced through overs to get to the 20 overs required to constitute a game.

Victory came when Nortje hit Moeen to long-on and South Africa were dismissed for their second-lowest total in ODI cricket to give England a morale-boosting win.

England have not become a bad side overnight, but a lack of form, and perhaps new tactics and opinions, has left them looking a shadow of the side that has dominated 50-over cricket in recent years.

Lower order guides England to respectable total

England have found runs hard to come by under Mott and Buttler, especially at the top of the order, and that continued again.

They started well but Jason Roy picked out mid-wicket to fall for 14, before Phil Salt, who came into the side for the newly-retired Ben Stokes, did the same on 17.

Joe Root skied one 10 balls later to go for one, before Jonny Bairstow was bowled through the gate to leave England 62-4 after 8.2 overs.

Moeen picked out deep square leg to depart for six, while Buttler sliced to short third as England were fell to 101-6 and were in grave danger of finishing well short.

Livingstone went on a breathless counter-attack, hitting Nortje for 24 in four balls before picking out mid-wicket next ball.

Curran then took over the attack, hitting left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi down the ground for 14 in three balls, before picking out long-on.

Rashid, Topley and Willey, who also hit a six before falling next ball, then dragged England to 201, but it felt a total that could have had 30 or 40 extra runs on top with a bit more streetwise cricket.

England played out 69 dot balls and it did feel like they were guilty of either hitting out or defending, rather than they cleverly manipulating the strike.

It was the first time since 1999 that England have been bowled out in five successive games, and against better opposition - South Africa are ranked fifth in the world - they may pay the price for not maximising the balls available to them.

'Positivity got us up to a score' - reaction

England captain Jos Buttler: "It feels great, it's great for us to get the win. I'm delighted how we came out with the ball and those early wickets really put us on our way.

"It's paramount and I think we saw that today, guys continue to try and play in the fashion that we want to as a team. Can we do it better? Absolutely.

"But that positivity gets us up to a score that now looks like a great score. We know that we can improve, but that will consistently be the message."

South Africa captain Keshav Maharaj: "I thought that it was a score that could be chased on that wicket. We just didn't adapt well enough with the bat, there were a lot of soft wickets and when you lose four wickets in the powerplay it's hard to adapt.

"You can question some of the dismissals but it's back to the drawing board and get ready for the next one."

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