England Deaf start in style

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Kym Daley & Umesh Valjee, Deaf Ashes 2008

Umesh Valjee, right, set England Deaf on their way to a place in the Tri-Series final with an unbeaten 121 in Geelong today

Captain Umesh Valjee struck a superb unbeaten century as England Deaf opened their Tri-Series one-day campaign with a comprehensive 112-run victory over South Africa.

Valjee’s 121 not out was the cornerstone of a total of 235 for five, which was never challenged by a South Africa side beaten by Australia yesterday.

With South Africa eliminated, England will meet Australia in a largely immaterial round-robin match tomorrow before they contest the final on January 27.

South Africa were bowled out for just 123 in 37.3 overs at Geeelong Grammar School today, thanks largely to Jimmy Dixon, who claimed four wickets in a devastating new-ball burst that reduced South Africa to six for four.

The swing bowler finished with 4-7 from six overs and Michael Weathersby chipped in with 3-37, rendering Eric Minaar’s 60 off 85 balls irrelevant.

Valjee made full use of winning the toss and choosing to bat by compiling his second century of the tour. He faced 156 balls and struck 11 fours in an innings full of classical strokeplay and a calm authority.

Despite losing opening partner James Schofield in the second over, Valjee, along with Chris Hughes, put on 48 for the second wicket before the latter was bowled for 17 by Shane Gangan.

Matt Everett contributed 35 to a third-wicket partnership worth 88 - the highest of the match - only to be stumped off Andre van Rooyen, but Valjee overcame the loss of Everett, Andrew Wood and Paul Allen to go to three figures, once again highlighting his importance to the England side.

He was accompanied by George Greenway, who hit 19 not out off 13 deliveries and helped take 32 off the last four overs.

Dixon’s new-ball heroics fatally undermined South Africa’s pursuit, with all four wickets coming in his first four overs.

Ricardo Peters and Ryno Cloete were bowled either side of Abiti Modiba falling lbw, while Wojeich Palainkas provided wicketkeeper Wood with the first of four catches to complement a stumping.

Matt Clinton removed South Africa captain Sharmeil Howley courtesy of a sharp catch by Paul Allen at mid-on, before Weathersby’s off-spin did for Colin Venter, Gangan and the impressive Minaar.

Leg-spinner James Schofield wrapped up victory by taking the last two wickets in quick succession to claim figures of 2-11 from 5.3 overs.

Scorecard - England Deaf v South Africa Deaf, ODI, Jan 22 2011 (50 KB)