Sprightly Morgan provides shot in arm
Eoin Morgan’s 67-ball 73 injected impetus as England comfortably chased 212 at the Kia Oval to level the NatWest Series with two games to play and seal their return to the top of the one-day international rankings in place of opponents South Africa.
A disciplined bowling and fielding display limited the Proteas to a significantly below par total at this ground, which put the hosts half way to their first defeat of South Africa this summer.
Captain Alastair Cook, in his first match since taking over from Andrew Strauss as Test skipper, knew his side could afford a steady start to the pursuit. However, when he and Ravi Bopara fell in consecutive overs, England were 64 for three from 18.
Morgan responded with typical gusto, dominating a 108-run partnership with Jonathan Trott whose patient 71 saw the hosts to a six-wicket win with two overs to spare.
Following their commanding 287 for five in Tuesday’s victory at the Ageas Bowl, South Africa looked set for another big score when opening duo Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla smoothly added 50.
But they were the first two of six touring batsmen to be bowled. Four wickets in eight mid-innings overs then saw the hosts take control and the tail offered little resistance.
James Anderson was statistically the most impressive bowler with 4-44 and Jade Dernbach was not far behind him with three wickets for the same number of runs.
However, Bopara and South Africa’s Wayne Parnell deserve special mention for economical figures of 1-31 and 1-23 respectively, both from 10 overs.
Amla top-scored for the Proteas with 43, one more than number three Dean Elgar, but for the first time versus England on this tour none of the their batsmen went on after making starts.
AB de Villiers won the toss and announced one change to his side with fit-again Dale Steyn replacing Ryan McLaren. England made two alterations as Dernbach and James Tredwell came in for Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann.
8:40pm - ENGLAND WIN BY SIX WICKETS! - With the scores level, Patel clips Morkel over the covers for four to complete victory with two overs to spare. The series is level with two games to go.
8:36pm - WICKET! Trott c de Villiers b Parnell 71; Eng 207/6 - Trott tries to run the left-armer to third man but gets a faint edge behind. Could there be a twist at the end?
8:30pm - Morkel bowls a wide to Trott to signal England’s 200 and Patel then hits him over mid-on for four. Just six runs needed from four overs.
8:25pm - Parnell oversteps to gift Samit Patel a free hit, which he plays to Elgar in the covers and would have been run out by a direct hit at the non-striker’s end. Albeit a little panicky, England are still well on course.
8:14pm - WICKET! Kieswetter run out 14; Eng 189/5 - Kieswetter, on 13, hits a Peterson full-toss straight back at him but the bowler cannot hold on. South Africa need to take those chances if they are to win. However, later in the over, Trott takes a quick single to mid-on and Kieswetter is narrowly run out.
8:06pm - REVIEW - Peterson has an lbw appeal against Craig Kieswetter turned down and reviews, but the ball is going down leg. The batsman responds by launching a six over long-on to end a batting powerplay that released 32 runs.
7:56pm - WICKET! Morgan c & b Peterson 73; Eng 172/4 - Morgan top-edges a slog-sweep off Peterson, who gets under the catch and holds on only to let it slip as he went to throw it in celebration. The third umpire is called for and confirms it is out.
7:52pm - Morgan smacks Morkel for four more over mid-off as the hundred stand arrives. England are right on course here.
7:44pm - England take the batting powerplay and Morgan launches Tsotsobe for a maximum over long-off.
7:37pm - Morgan frees his arms against Steyn and picks up four over extra-cover. He then cuts for a single to take England to 150.
7:34pm - FIFTY! Morgan (54b 5x4 1x6) - The left-hander opens the face for a single off Tsotsobe that heralds his landmark.
7:26pm - FIFTY! Trott (86b 2x4 0x6) - Morgan clips Steyn to fine-leg for four and gets a single to third man to reach 49. Trott then replicates Morgan’s last shot to reach a half-century on the stroke of drinks.
7:22pm - Morgan meets an Elgar delivery on the full and deposits it over midwicket for the game’s first six. Both batsmen are on the brink of half-centuries.
7:10pm - Morkel rushes in from mid-off to try to catch Morgan off Elgar but cannot make it and requires treatment after painfully rolling over the ball.
7:05pm - Morgan takes a well-run three to the cover boundary off Dean Elgar to herald the half-century alliance, which has put England back on course for victory.
6:57pm - Morgan hits his third four from his last eight balls, this one through extra-cover off Tsotsobe, as he and Trott near a fifty partnership.
6:53pm - The end of Peterson’s over marks half of England’s allocation. The hosts are 99 for three, compared to South Africa’s 119 for two. Trott immediately benefits from Steyn’s fumble at mid-off to take his side into three figures.
6:47pm - Both batsmen use the reverse-sweep to good effect off Peterson before Morgan gets four aerially down the ground off Tsotsobe, whom he then cuts for another boundary.
6:39pm - Morgan punches Parnell square on the off side and looks to have four until Francois du Plessis athletically pulls the ball back from the rope to save one.
6:35pm - The bowling powerplay brought two wickets for only 12 runs, but Eoin Morgan immediately responds with four off Peterson over mid-off.
6:23pm - WICKET! Bopara c de Villiers b Morkel 0; Eng 64/3 - Morkel has Ravi Bopara caught behind, but the batsman immediately reviews. Replays confirm a sound as the ball passed the outside edge and, although HotSpot shows no mark on the bat, the on-field umpire’s decision stands. The game is back in the balance.
6:15pm - WICKET! Cook c Elgar b Peterson 20; Eng 61/2 - Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson succeeds Parnell and Cook, who has patiently played himself in, innocuously pulls to deep midwicket where Dean Elgar barely has to move to take the catch.
6:07pm - The tension is building in the middle with the feeling something is going to give in the bowling powerplay, which has been taken at the earliest opportunity.
5:55pm - Cook pulls Morkel for four to spoil an otherwise tight over and bring up England’s fifty. Although they are scoring slower than the Proteas started, they can afford to chasing 212.
5:48pm - Wayne Parnell has taken over from Steyn and, like Morkel, keeps it tight as the compulsory powerplay yields 45 - 10 fewer than South Africa managed for the same number of wickets.
5:37pm - Morne Morkel replaces Tsotsobe, and Trott elegantly drives his first ball to the cover rope. Later in the over there is a weak appeal against Cook for caught behind down leg.
5:32pm - Jonathan Trott, playing off the back foot, inside-edges agonisingly close to his stumps for the first four off Steyn. Later in the over, with the paceman coming round the wicket, Cook drives for four square on the off side.
5:29pm - Steyn and Tsotsobe have been keeping it tight since the wicket, but Cook gets off the mark from his 18th ball by clipping the latter through square-leg for four.
5:25pm - England squad member Chris Woakes, who was in the XI for the abandoned first ODI at the SWALEC Stadium, has been released to play for Warwickshire against Lancashire in tomorrow’s Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-final at Old Trafford. The all-rounder will rejoin England ahead of Sunday’s fourth ODI at Lord’s.
5:15pm - WICKET! Bell lbw Steyn 12; Eng 14/1 - Steyn moves one into the right-hander’s pads and it looks to be fairly plumb. After chatting to Cook, England opt not to review and Bell is on his way. Hawkeye shows the ball would have hit leg stump.
5:09pm - Lonwabo Tsotsobe partners Steyn and Bell picks up four first ball, easing the ball through the covers and across the used wickets. The right-hander then opens the face for four more to third man and, later in the over, aerially pulls for another four.
5:05pm - Dale Steyn, who is often first change bowler in one-day internationals, opens up from the Vauxhall End to Alastair Cook with a leg-side wide the only run from the over.
South Africa Innings
4:20pm - WICKET! Tsotsobe lbw Anderson 0; SA 211ao - Lonwabo Tsotsobe is trapped in front first ball despite a review as Anderson ends the innings with his fourth wicket. England have done brilliantly here to limit the Proteas after their strong start.
4:17pm - WICKET! Morkel b Anderson 7; SA 211/9 - Anderson enters his last over and cleans up the left-hander via his pads. England look on course to limit South Africa to a very much below par score.
4:11pm - Morne Morkel surprisingly lifts Dernbach over midwicket for four with a brief bit of resistance from the tail.
4:06pm - WICKET! Steyn b Anderson 1; SA 203/8 - Tredwell finishes his 10 overs with 2-49 and Peterson swipes Anderson through midwicket to bring up the 200. However, the paceman then comprehensively bowls Dale Steyn, whose off stump goes flying, between bat and pad to leave South Africa eight down.
4:01pm - The impressive Bopara completes his allocation with the innings’ first maiden, to Peterson, for fine figures of 1-31. It is only the second time the all-rounder has bowled 10 overs in an ODI.
3:54pm - WICKET! Duminy c Bell b Tredwell 33: SA 195/7 - Peterson edges the spinner through a vacant slip region for three and, next ball, Duminy holes out to Bell at long-on. That is the tourists’ last recognised batsman gone.
3:53pm - Bopara returns to the attack from the Vauxhall End and has a close lbw shout turned down against Duminy, who then cuts for the first boundary off the all-rounder.
3:49pm - Finn, Dernbach and Anderson limit South Africa’s progress in the batting powerplay, from which Duminy and Peterson take just 22 runs including a single four. A quiet period of play, but one largely to England’s advantage.
3:31pm - Duminy picks up his first four from his 26th ball when Finn, bowling from the Pavilion End in the first over of the batting powerplay, strays onto the left-hander’s pads and is guided to fine-leg.
3:24pm - Dernbach beats Robin Peterson with a yorker just outside off stump and the left-hander then edges him just past his wickets.
3:16pm - WICKET! Parnell c Kieswetter b Dernbach 13; SA 155/6 - An action-packed over, beginning with Wayne Parnell clipping Dernbach through midwicket for the first four in eight overs. The bowler immediately beats the outside edge and then twice finds it but, with no slip in, concedes back-to-back fours - the first bringing up the 150. Cook puts a slip in and Dernbach has the left-hander caught behind by wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter.
3:07pm - WICKET! Elgar b Dernbach 42; SA 141/5 - The left-hander is beaten all ends up by the seamer’s slower delivery out of the back of the hand and is bowled between bat and pad, the ball clipping the top of off stump. England could limit South Africa to a really below-par score here.
2:58pm - Tredwell keeps the pressure on with a tight over, including a close lbw shout against Duminy; it was not followed by a review with the ball probably doing too much.
2:51pm - WICKET! Du Plessis b Bopara 1; SA 122/4 - Bopara is rewarded for tight bowling when the right-handed Francois du Plessis walks across his wickets and sees his leg stump clipped. England are on top after South Africa’s impressive start. JP Duminy clips three to midwicket from his first ball.
2:45pm - WICKET! De Villers c Bell b Tredwell 28; SA 120/3 - The right-hander attempts to repeat his four from the spinner’s previous over but holes out to Bell, running to his left at long-on. Another big-named South Africa batsman is gone.
2:38pm - Elgar goes aerial off Tredwell and just clears mid-on for the first boundary in five overs. De Villiers then plays a similar shot over midwicket and picks up four.
2:33pm - De Villiers reverse-sweeps Tredwell before clipping him aerially just to short midwicket’s left. The Proteas’ hundred arrives in the next over, bowled by Bopara.
2:27pm - The bowling powerplay yields just 21 runs with South Africa having hit only two fours in the last 10 overs. The hosts are keeping them under wraps.
2:18pm - De Villiers drives Finn on the up for four before Dernbach has an lbw shout against Elgar turned down and England do not review. Replays showed the ball was missing off stump.
2:08pm - WICKET! Amla b Dernbach 43; SA 73/2 - A massive wicket for England! Dernbach returns at the Vauxhall End and gets his first ball to nip back at the right-hander, who inside-edges onto leg stump. The bowler celebrates with typical enthusiasm. AB de Villiers gets going with a four to fine-leg.
2:03pm - Just one over for Tredwell for now as Finn returns and Cook takes the bowling powerplay. The second-wicket duo continue to steadily accumulate as they had done with the field set back.
1:56pm - The first spinner of the day enters the attack with James Tredwell succeeding Dernbach after two overs. He has a loud lbw decision against Elgar turned down and the hosts opt not to review.
1:45pm - Ravi Bopara takes over from Anderson and encouragingly beats the left-handed Elgar’s outside edge.
1:40pm - Jade Dernbach replaces Finn at the Pavilion End and almost forces new batsman Dean Elgar to play on. Elgar opens his account with a four through the covers. At the end of the compulsory powerplay the tourists are 55 for one.
1:37pm - WICKET! Smith b Anderson 18; SA 50/1 - Smith picks up four off Anderson to fine-leg and South Africa’s fifty arrives later in the over. However, he then advances to the paceman and is bowled leg stump. A vital breakthrough for England.
1:32pm - Amla leans back to pull Finn over midwicket for four. The ball, rolling over the practice wickets, just beats the chasing Bell and Anderson to the rope. He ends the over by emphatically driving four through the covers.
1:25pm - Ian Bell pulls off a stunning piece of fielding at square-leg, diving high just to his left when Smith pulls Finn into the ground. Alastair Cook then hits the non-striker’s stumps from mid-on but Smith had quite comfortably completed a single.
1:18pm - Amla picks up fours either side of the wicket off Anderson, through extra-cover and behind square. There is no margin for error when bowling at either of these batsmen.
1:13pm - Smith clips Finn from outside off stump to the midwicket rope. Finn then disturbs the bowler’s stumps for a third time in the match and a dead-ball is called.
1:10pm - Amla wristily flicks Anderson through mid-off for the game’s first boundary. He remains in imperious form.
1:04pm - Finn takes the other new ball, clipping the bowler’s stumps with his second delivery which is not called a dead-ball. Graeme Smith gets off the mark in similar fashion to Amla but Finn then beats the left-hander’s outside edge.
1pm - James Anderson begins from the Vauxhall End to Hashim Amla, who gets going with a powerful flick to backward square-leg that Steven Finn does well to stop going for four.
12:45pm - Proteas opener Hashim Amla will be England’s main target with the two new balls. He scored an ODI-best 150 in Tuesday’s 80-run win at the Ageas Bowl and made a career-high 311 not out in the innings Test victory here. His first-wicket partner Graeme Smith will be an important wicket too.
12:30pm - SOUTH AFRICA WIN THE TOSS AND BAT - AB de Villiers calls correctly and opts to set England a target. Dale Steyn returns after a neck injury with Ryan McLaren making way. England make two changes with Jade Dernbach playing on his home ground in place of Tim Bresnan, and James Tredwell coming in for the rested Graeme Swann. Cook admitted he would have batted first.
12:25pm - The sun is shining here with a few cotton-wool clouds in the sky and the forecast is fair for the day. The toss is about to take place as the sides warm-up.
12:15pm - There will be at least one change to the England team today. Graeme Swann has been rested for the remainder of this series, with fellow off-spinner James Tredwell taking his place in the squad.
12:10pm - It has been quite a week for Cook, who inherited the Test captaincy of England on Wednesday following Andrew Strauss' retirement from professional cricket. For now, though, the Essex opener is fully focussed on matters in the 50-over arena.
12pm - Hello and welcome to ecb.co.uk's live coverage of the third NatWest Series one-day international between England and South Africa. The Kia Oval plays host to today's match, which Alastair Cook's men, who trail 1-0 in the five-match rubber, will be desperate to win.