Week one in the Cape
Posted in England U19s
Shiv Thakor (Leicestershire), Olly Stone (Northamptonshire) and Gavin Griffiths (Lancashire) write the first entry of the England U19 team blog from their winter tour to South Africa...
After setting off the previous night we finally arrived in Stellenbosch at 9am having swapped sub-zero temperatures for 30-degree heat.
We were up nice and early for training at the world-famous cricket ground, Sahara Park Newlands, the venue of our first Test match nine days on.
Following three days of intense training and a well-deserved rest day it was now time for our first match of the tour, a warm up game against a Western Cape Invitational XI.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat first we lost both openers early but the ship was steadied by Harry Finch (52 retired) and Shiv Thakor (30); we then decided to declare on 132 for seven after 60 overs.
This then gave the bowlers 35 overs that evening which turned out to be enough to get all 10 opposition wickets for just 117, with two wickets each for Josh Shaw and Shiv Thakor and three for off-spinner Miles Hammond.
With runs from opener Dom Sibley (54 retired) and a quickfire 33 from as many balls from Ryan Gibson, and including a lead of 15 into the second innings, we set our opposition a score of 198 to win.
Unfortunately the opposition got to the target in 49 overs for the loss of three wickets.
The other unfortunate incident was Shiv, the appointed tour captain, injuring his finger taking a catch in the slips.
After a day of rest we had another training session at Newlands which was attended by England opening batsman Nick Compton, who shared his experience and knowledge with the team throughout the training session.
The lads were now ready for the first Test which was less than 24 hours away.