Source: Christopher Whiteoak for ECB

Lamb Stakes a Place

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England v South Africa, 1st ODI, Northampton

Emma Lamb’s international fortunes turned sharply for the better. Her hundred at the top of the order was just what England needed and she deserved.

Her previous history was limited to a duck and 0 not out as she came to the middle with one ball left – and she was at the wrong end.

England have been hunting for a regular partner for Tammy Beaumont; Danni Wyatt, Amy Jones and Lauren Winfield-Hill have taken their turn with mixed results. The irony of Lamb’s 102 is that Beaumont went very early, missing a straight one Marizanne Kapp (1).

Proteas’ Woes

Things are looking bleak for the Proteas. Lizelle Lee’s sudden retirement in mid-tour did nothing to steady the ship. Neither the batting nor the bowling looks strong enough to pose a threat. Shabnim Ismael may recover for later matches to provide a sharper opening attack.

Laura Wolvaardt is an outstanding batter, but her approach at the start of the game seemed to say: ‘I’d better be here for the last ball of the innings. She made 43 out of 105 but couldn’t throw off the shackles.

The final total of 218 was due largely to Chloe Tryon (a magnificent if chancy 88) along with Nadine de Klerk (38) who together put on 97. But they were listed at Nos 6 and 7, rather too late to do proper damage.

After them it was a familiar tale, the remaining four wickets tumbling for 13 runs.

Once more South African tactics when under pressure in the field took some understanding. Sune Luus has a tricky task with so many central figures in the team’s recent success missing from duty. It’s an especial worry that Kapp is far from fit. She bowled only six overs and is in discomfort in the field.

But fielding positions didn’t match bowlers’ intentions, and it was a very hot day chasing leather in the outfield.

New England

Anyone who thought Katherine Brunt’s selection for yet another series was a severely retrograde step – any offers? – was disabused by a remarkable performance from the veteran. She removed Andrie Steyn and Lara Goodall early on to finish with 9-1-18-3. That was her first fling of the summer.

The choice of quick bowlers is still open to question. Nat Sciver proved expensive at the other end, though she picked up late wickets as batters went for glory (4-59). A lot is expected of her in her dual role; she is an exceptional athlete, but there are other resources available.

With Kate Cross going wicketless, the option of either Lauren Bell or Issy Wong sharing the new ball seems the answer. Perhaps in Round 2.

Sophie Ecclestone was her usual miserly self (10-2-30-2), but Charlie Dean had to work hard with her off-breaks (1-54).

Pushing Sophia Dunkley up to No 3 was a thoroughly positive move, adding to her self-confidence and ensuring that any runs England scored in the powerplay would come at a pace. In the event she made just 22, but at the other end Sciver was in blistering form (55 off 36). With Wyatt coming in at No 6, the pace would only increase, the weakness of the Proteas’ bowling painfully exposed.

That left Amy Jones down at No 7. She faced a couple of balls (0*) so that proves little, but she did put down a chance behind the stumps, leaving her place in some doubt. Such a pity.


South Africa 218
Enhland: 219-5

England won by 5 wickets with nearly 8 overs to spare