Greenway and Brindle underpin win
A magnificent unbroken 218-run stand between centurions Lydia Greenway and Arran Brindle set up an eventually comfortable win for England women in the first one-day international of three against South Africa.
Greenway and Brindle joined forces in the 18th over with England 79 for three and shared the second highest fourth-wicket partnership in women’s ODIs, making 125 from 127 balls and 107 from 102 respectively - their maiden ODI hundreds.
Set 298 for victory, Trisha Chetty and Alison Hodgkinson put on 143 for the second wicket but Laura Marsh dismissed both, for 72 and 71 respectively, to leave the hosts 166 for four.
Marsh was one of three England bowlers to take two wickets, along with fellow off-spinners Danni Hazell and Danni Wyatt, as South Africa were bowled out for 235 in 46.5 overs at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom.
England captain Charlotte Edwards, who lost the toss, made little impact with the bat in her 150th ODI, trapped in front by Shabnim Ismail in the first over.
Wyatt struck four fours but was caught behind for 21 when Marizanne Kapp was introduced. Sarah Taylor, batting at number three in place of her retired namesake Claire, rotated the strike effectively with Greenway until she was run out for 33 attempting a risky second run.
Greenway, the third ranked batter in women’s ODIs, and Brindle, who returned to international cricket this summer after a five-year break, were initially circumspect together.
However, they grew in confidence and accelerated towards the end of the innings, with Greenway striking 12 fours in all and Brindle, who has a Test ton to her name, 15. Having taken 122 deliveries over their first 100 runs, their second arrived in 66.
Greenway, whose maiden international hundred came in her 89th ODI, said: “We did quite a lot of running out there but it was great to come away with a win from out first game. It’s taken quite a long time to get my ODI century so it’s really nice to finally get it.”
Brindle, playing her 63rd ODI, added: “It was really nice to get out in the middle and get some runs under my belt. It’s a great feeling scoring a hundred at any time, but to do it in an international and the first game of the tour is fantastic.”
Isa Guha had Shandre Fritz held at point early in the reply but fours flowed for Chetty and Hodgkinson in the remainder of the mandatory powerplay.
Although those dried up, including during seven consecutive boundary-less overs from Hazell and Brindle, they gave South Africa hope of overhauling England’s total.
That was until Marsh trapped Chetty lbw for the first of three wickets in as many overs as Hazell had skipper Cri-zelda Brits stumped and Hodgkinson played on.
Hazell soon clipped Mignon du Preez’s off stump and Edwards punished a skittish attempted single by running out Kapp for 17 off her own bowling.
Jenny Gunn did brilliantly to gather a return drive and run out Yolandi van der Westhuizen for 20 at the non-striker’s end. Wyatt then struck twice in three balls, having Chloe Tryon and Sunette Loubser caught in the deep.
The game was up and Gunn had Ismail caught and bowled to complete victory, leaving Dane van Niekerk unbeaten on 16.
The sides meet again at the same venue in two days and Greenway said: “South Africa played well today and we know we need to keep playing well to win again on Sunday.”
Brindle added: “It’s going to be a competitive series. We want to hit our straps every time we go out there and make sure we achieve our aim of winning this series.”