Cow Corner

Skipper stars in comfortable win

Cow Corner

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So, a great performance from England sees them home and gets their NatWest Series up and running; thanks for sticking with me - make sure you come back for the second game on Tuesday... 

South Africa 255ao (50 overs) END OF INNINGS: Philander is run-out in the penultimate over, Broad firing down the stumps at the batsman's end after hesitating over a run-out. In the final over, Flintoff bowls Nel with a yorker and then Ntini with another. Strong finish from the all-rounder

South Africa 242-7 (48 overs): Great over from Flintoff, full of yorkers. 33 needed from the final 12 balls. 

South Africa 231-7 (46 overs): England were only one run better off at this stage of their innings...but crucially, had lost four fewer wickets. Nel isn't going to go to bed tonight wondering; he is swinging for the hills. Not really timing anything, but he is at least having a crack. 

South Africa 219-7 (44.2 overs): GONE! BOTHA GOES! Botha chips Broad into the leg-side, where sub Bresnan comes flying in from the square-leg fence to take a good catch. Philander looks a bit out of his depth; he hasn't played a lot of cricket in recent months, and just looks completely out of touch. He isn't timing anything and the pressure eventually told.

South Africa 211-6 (42 overs): Philander is the new batsman; he doesn't have a great pedigree, but he is certainly no mug with the bat. This one isn't quite finished yet for England, although Harmison's pace and bounce isn't allowing the batsmen any easy scoring chances at this stage. 7.8 is the required rate at the moment.


South Africa 202-6 (39.4 overs):  HARMISON AGAIN! Duminy has a flash at a wider one...Prior takes a good catch, diving forward! That might just kill off any hopes for South Africa; Duminy and Botha were starting to put together a nice little stand, but that wicket now exposes the bowlers...

South Africa 190-5 (37 overs): Duminy's mis-hit drive falls just short of long-off, and Botha's leading edge flies narrowly wide of cover as South Africa try to scamper as many runs as they can to set up an explosive final few overs. Patel has got through nine overs for just 36 runs. 

South Africa 180-5 (35 overs): Pietersen is continuing bowling himself, although he is being made to pay for his occasional loose ball; Botha slams a high full-toss through mid-wicket for a boundary as South Africa look to stay in the hunt.  

South Africa 168-5 (32.2 overs): SHOCK WICKET! Prior gets England a bonus wicket whe he spots Boucher has dragged his foot just outside the crease after missing an attempted sweep; the quick-thinking keeper whips the bails off, and after a referral to the third umpire, the decision goes England's way!

South Africa 166-4 (32 overs): Boucher is the new batsman for South Africa; he's a very dangerous man to have in this situation, with plenty of experience of leading his side home from these sorts of positions. The run-rate is rising slowly, but it is manageable at 6.05 at the moment. Patel and Pietersen are turning the screw on the batsmen, racing through their overs. 

South Africa 149-3 (29 overs): RUN-OUT! The run-rate goes above a run-a-ball for the first time in the innings...and the pressure tells! Kallis is run out just after making his 50 after an ill-judged single to mid-wicket. Poor run with Duminy, and Bell's throw back to the bowler was accurate!

South Africa 142-3 (27 overs): GOT HIM! SKIPPER MAKES THE BREAKTHROUGH!Pietersen brings himself into the attack; he sees spin as the way to slow South Africa down, with the fast bowlers not really getting the job done. The batsmen have relished the pace of his seamers, so he's trying to make them put the pace on the ball themselves... AND DE VILLIERS OBLIGES KP BY FLICKING A SIMPLE CATCH TO MID-WICKET!

South Africa 138-2 (25 overs): Patel races through his overs, which is good for the over-rate and it helps keep the pressure on the batsmen. Bopara is bowling from the other end, using the skiddy wicket to dart the ball on. Kallis thrashes a four through mid-wicket beating the dive of Anderson on the fence when Bopara drops short. Kallis becomes the eighth player to score over 1,000 runs in ODIs against England. 

South Africa 128-2 (23 overs): There has been a few spots of rain falling over the last 15 minutes or so, but the shower seems to have passed. Kallis looks to have picked up some sort of injury; Gibbs might have to come on and act as a runner. 

South Africa 112-2 (21 overs): Kallis edges Flintoff through third man for four, and de Villiers makes it 12 runs from the over when he flicks off his pads past short fine-leg for another boundary. It comes after an expensive over from Harmison; South Africa have just put their foot down again.

South Africa 100-2 (18 overs): Pietersen immediately calls for the third and final powerplay and returns back to Flintoff and Harmison, trying to keep the pressure on the new batsman AB de Villiers. Kallis is looking to try and smash the cover of everything at the moment, although isn't really timing anything. 

South Africa 93-2 (15.4 overs): WICKET FOR PATEL! The little spinner picks up a wicket with his fourth ball, a slightly quicker delivery that Gibbs rocked back to cut...but missed, the ball clipping off. Big wicket for England, because Gibbs was starting to look hot.

South Africa 91-1 (15 overs): Just a single from Flintoff's latest over, which is good news following his last one. The second powerplay is over; Pietersen resists temptation to bring in the final powerplay, and instead turns to his spinner, Patel. 

South Africa 85-1 (13 overs): Kallis steps across to off to flick Flintoff's 91.3mph delivery through square-leg for four. Flintoff tries to respond with a yorker, but Kallis flicks it through the same region for another boundary...and edges through slip for a third successive four. South Africa are racing away here.  

South Africa 70-1 (11 overs): SUPER SHOT! Gibbs greets Flintoff's arrival into the bowling attack with a superb drive over the top of mid off. Great start from Gibbs, surely one of the best counter-attacking batsmen around. 

South Africa 64-1 (10 overs): Kallis is the new man; he deals with a sharp Harmison ball, dug in towards his ribs, by flicking quickly down to fine-leg. Gibbs looks really keen; he stands up on his back foot and smashes Broad through cover for four.  

South Africa 50-1 (7.4 overs): BIG WICKET! HARMISON MAKES A BREAKTHROUGH! HE'S BACK! Harmison gets the skipper Smith, who edges through to Prior in Harmison's first over back in ODIs. The big man celebrates as if he as just won the Ashes. 

South Africa 43-0 (7 overs): Anderson rather loses his line in his third over; he is flicked for four through the leg-side by Smith before sending successive wides down the leg-side in an eight-ball over. Gibbs then steps up and lofts Broad for a beautiful six over mid-off as South Africa press on in style. 

South Africa 23-0 (5 overs): Anderson is cut for four by Smith first ball of his over, but comes back to recover well. Wright has a decent run-out chance when he steams in at mid-on, but fails to collect the ball before his shy at the stumps. Smith and Gibbs are very experienced at chasing down big totals; they'll feel confident about hunting down this one.  

South Africa 16-0 (3 overs): Decent start for South Africa; Gibbs has punched a boundary through the leg-side off Anderson, but nothing too explosive yet. 

South Africa 5-0 (1 overs):  Broad has the first over for England; Pietersen must be saving Harmison for the middle overs as a wicket-taking option to keep the pressure on. Broad immediately finds swing - too much, the second ball is a huge wide -

The floodlights are on full power now as the South Africans come out to begin their run-chase... 

England 275-4 (50 overs): END OF INNINGS: Flintoff is bowled for 78 in the final over to end a stand of 158 with his captain; England finish on an excellent total, looked well out of reach when they struggled at the start of the innings. Pietersen ends with an unbeaten 90. 

England 257-3 (48 overs): Flintoff improvises well to hit two fours through fine-leg, moving away to off-stump before clipping off his legs; these two have been absolutely superb over the last hour; England will really fancy their chances now they are up over 250.  

England 231-3 (46 overs): Flintoff brings up his half-century with a boundary squeezed off the inside edge through backwards's his first ODI fifty in 19 months, but superbly played. He looks in good touch, and will be keen to kick on now...Steyn comes back into the attack for the first of his final three overs....Pietersen crunches a slog for four, courtesy of a misfield from de Villiers at long-on...NEXT BALL FLIES FOR SIX OVER THE SAME FIELDER! 

England 212-3 (44 overs): They have only hit eight boundaries between them in this stand, but the intent has been noticeable. They have also run really well between the wickets. Great over from Philander, just three runs from it. 

England 200-3 (42 overs): Pietersen has passed his fifty, hitting Nel for successive boundaries, the second an incredible sweep from outside off-stump to backwards square-leg...England will be eyeing 260, I reckon. That would be a fine, fine effort. The outfield is very slow, and the floodlights will have an effect. 

England 181-3 (40 overs): Pietersen is joining the party; he slams a hard-hit four straight past the bowler as Philander drops short with a slower ball; if these two can stay together for three more overs, they could prove to have timed this beautifully... 

England 160-3 (38 overs): The pace is picking up as Flintoff begins to find some angles and time his shots a lot better...Pietersen recognises that Flintoff is in the mood for something massive and is giving him as much of the strike as he possibly can...Philander is back into the attack; he starts with three dot-balls...the tension and anticipation is building...just two runs from the over.

England 144-3 (36 overs): Flintoff slams the first boundaries since the 22nd over, both through cover, either side of a lofted chip into the leg-side. Pietersen comes down the track to give his team-mate a hearty slap on the arm. 

England 134-3 (34 overs): The ball has been changed - as per ICC directive at this point in the innings - and Steyn is straight back into the attack. Just five fours and a six at this stage from England; they are still dawdling along at 3.98 runs-per-over. They have the batsmen to make a good charge, and it is going to have to start in no more than three overs' time. 

England 128-3 (32.2 overs):  Pietersen is fortunate to survive a third umpire referral on a run-out as he takes a quick single down to fine leg...replays show his bat bounced off the ground as he dived to make the crease...but umpire Nigel Llong gives him the benefit of the doubt.

England 123-3 (31 overs): Flintoff is content to knock singles around with KP for the time being, but England's projected score is only 198 at the moment. Having said that, the average first innings score in ODIs at Headingley is only 208, so perhaps a score of around 230 will be a competitive total? 

England 113-3 (28.1 overs): ALMOST DROPPED...BUT TAKEN! Philander, who earlier grassed a very simple catch off Prior, manages to take a towering top-edged sweep down at fine leg - at the second attempt - to send Shah on his way. Not a good effort from England...although he comes Flintoff to join Pietersen. 

England 113-2 (28 overs): Philander is into the attack for the first time, and his opening over is full of slower balls and varities - including a slow, leg-spinning bouncer which Pietersen has to wait an age for before hoiking down to fine leg for a single. England are stuck in a rut here. 

England 99-2 (25 overs): Shah is very creative in his shot-making, using the full blade and angle of his bat to work the ball around. But at the moment, the ball is only being worked for singles, nothing more. England haven't found the fence as often as they should in this innings. 

England 92-2 (23 overs): Smith turns to spin for the first time in the innings as Botha comes into the attack; England work his first over for five runs. The home side have plenty of attacking talent down the order, with Wright coming in as low as seven, but they need a platform to attack from - and these two have to provide it. 

England 86-2 (21.2 overs): AND NOW PRIOR WASTES HIS START! The ball after smashing Kallis for a wonderful six over mid-off, Prior slashes at a wider one and de Villiers takes another sharp catch at point. Prior goes for 42 from 52 balls - which sounds good, but really needs to be more. In comes the skipper. 

England 77-1 (20 overs): BELL GOES! Another innings when the little batsman fails to push on after a good start as he slices one from Kallis straight to gully, where de Villiers takes a smart catch above his head. In comes Owais Shah, in only his third time at number three in a ODI. 

England 75-0 (19 overs): Nel tests Prior with a well-directed bouncer; Prior responds with a nice, lofted drive over mid-on, the ball just reaching the rope for four. 

England 71-0 (18 overs): Kallis is into the attack, replacing Ntini. England have stuttered a little over the last four overs. Bell tries to relieve the pressure with a crunching cover drive...but de Villiers stops superbly in the covers.

England 62-0 (16 overs): Ntini has just finished his eighth over; good figures, just 27 taken off him. He has stuck to a very tight line and Prior and Bell have found it difficult to work him.  

England 55-0 (14 overs): A couple of good overs from Ntini and Nel have got England under a bit of pressure. Far from retreating into his shell after that life, Prior has taken it upon himself to act the aggressor in the partnership, and is trying to kick England on after this decent start. 

England 46-0 (12 overs) WHAT A DROP! Prior looks disgusted with himself as he lofts the simplest of catches to mid-off....but Duminy puts it down! What a let-off for Prior! He needs to get his head down now, because that would have been a typical wasted Prior innings. 

England 42-0 (9 overs): Prior has been a bit fortunate, with a couple of balls just falling short of fielders in the last couple of overs. He has made a solid start, 22 off 20 balls, and it would be stoopid of him to throw it away now. He needs to build. Ntini hasn't had much joy so far this afternoon; he has found none of the swing that Steyn has. 

England 30-0 (7 overs): Owais Shah is padded up waiting in the shed; he has a superb one-day record recently, and after him comes Pietersen and Flintoff. So if these two can stick around for 10 more overs, England will have the perfect platform to launch an enormous attack. Prior thrashes Steyn over cover for another boundary, to the delight of the growing crowd. 

England 27-0 (5 overs): Steyn has a word with Prior after the batsman mis-times an attempted pull, the ball just dropping short of mid-off. The stand-off comes a couple of balls after Prior whipped the bowler through square-leg for another excellent boundary. 

England 17-0 (3 overs): Prior gets his innings going properly with a fine cover drive for four; Steyn is struggling a little with the swing with the white ball; he gives up a couple of wides as England make a productive little start here. It looks cold out there; I can't say I'd enjoy being stook in the outfield there for three hours this evening.

England 7-0 (1 over): Slightly streaky start for England; Prior edges Steyn, the ball dipping between first and second slip, neither of whom make an effort to go for the catch, and runs away for four. 

England 0-0 (0 overs): OFF WE GO! Bell and Prior are the men charged with getting the home side off to a solid start; Dale Steyn returns from missing the final two Tests to take the new ball for the tourists... 

2.25 - Yep, Cowers meant Headingley. He gets confused when he heads north of Watford. It all looks the same; whippets, flat caps, council estates patrolled by gangs of hooded children wielding knives; meat and potato pies; 365 days of rain per year; unlocked front doors; chips and gravy; and funny accents.

2.15 - England have a new opening batting partnership today; Prior and Bell; Prior is returning for the first time in almost a year, and he has revealed how overjoyed he is to be back. Runs are what matter here, though. 

2.05 - England have won the toss and skipper KP has chosen to bat first...he fancies putting the runs on the board and putting some pressure on the tourists with their attacking batting line-up... 

2.00 - Hi there; welcome to Headingley! The rain has ceased for the time being, and we are scheduled for a prompt 2.30pm start. Steve Harmison has made the final XI after his shock ODI U-turn as England name a strong, attacking side for this opening match...

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