Source: ICC

ODI: England A v South Africa, Uptonsteel County Ground, Leicester

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England took far more from their A-squad game against the Proteas than their guests.

It’s always likely to turn out like this when the two sides are not aligned, so while South Africa had nominally their strongest XI on the field; the English combined seasoned internationals (Elwiss, Winfield-Hill, Glenn, Villiers, Davies) with players anxious to stake a claim for a permanent place in the top team and younger talent with stars in their eyes (Potts, Kemp and Capsey).

It was hard to credit that the pitch had already been used twice, it played thoroughly well through to the end. The weather was perfect.

The Proteas batted well enough, reaching 152-1, but the spinners Glenn and Villiers, caused a clatter of wickets to leave them 152-4.

Laura Wolvaardt once more showed elegance and sureness in her stroke-play (72). Mady Villiers did well to force her into a false stroke as she threatened to push her side beyond 300. Lara Goodall (45), Chloe Tryon (43) and inevitably Marizanne Kapp (51) gave solid support.

But the eight bowlers skipper Georgia Elwiss used stuck to their task, only the youngster Freya Kemp getting some stick. Surely it wasn’t wise to delay her entry to the back end of the innings, with two batters well set and throwing caution to the wind.

Eve Jones (42 off 63) and Maia Bouchier (34/51) started the reply circumspectly, apparently unconcerned about the slowish rate of progress. Their calm turned out to be completely justified. Bryony Smith (at No 3) also took her time, while Alice Capsey couldn’t achieve three big innings on the trot after a promising start (17/24).

But once Lauren Winfield-Hill joined Smith the game swung compellingly England’s way.

They added an unbeaten 151. LW-H was all elegance and resource, peppering the covers, then lifting the ball straight over the infield. Smith used power and timing to make the bowlers pay for any inaccuracies.

The Proteas’ coaches will be wondering how to improve the bowlers’ effectiveness before they actually face England’s top team.

By the end the visitors looked a well beaten outfit. But questions must be asked about tactics: field settings didn’t help the bowlers to keep the runs down and make the batters work harder for their rewards. The captain, Sune Luus, was the most effective bowler, but she sustained an injured hand stopping a powerful straight drive (2.3-0-10-1).


Proteas: 264-7
England A: 267-3 in 43.3 overs (Winfield-Hill 95*, B. Smith 66*, E. Jones 42, Bouchier 34)

England A won by 7 wickets