David Willey hits out at South Africa gamesmanship but says ‘mother cricket’ haunted tourists as England win

·2-min read
 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

David Willey admitted England were “frustrated” by what they perceived to be gamesmanship from South Africa’s batters in their series-levelling defeat at Old Trafford.

With South Africa reeling at five wickets down and rain falling, Heinrich Klaasen delayed the game due to changes behind the bowlers arm. There were still 10 overs to be bowled to complete the 20 required to make it an official match.

Willey was relieved that England were able to wrap up the win despite the perceived gamesmanship.

“It was frustrating, to be polite,” said Willey. “I think it was clear what they were trying to do. There was a bit of rain going around. I think it's 20 overs for a game. They were hoping the rain was gonna stick around a bit longer and we'd be off and they'd go to Headingley 1-0 up and unable to lose the series.

“I'm thinking mother cricket came around, they lost a couple more wickets and the game was beyond them. They knew what they were doing, we knew what they were doing. The umpires just needed to make a call and get on with the game.”

England ended up bowling South Africa out for 83 to win by 118 runs in a rain-reduced game, setting up a decider at Headingley on Sunday.

England were bowled out again, for 202 in the 29th and final over of the innings. Captain Jos Buttler has encouraged his batters to keep taking risks, despite not “firing” all summer.

“It's paramount and I think we saw that today, guys continue to try and play in the fashion that we want to as a team,” he said. “Can we do it better? Absolutely.

“But that positivity gets us up to a score that now looks like a great score. We know that we can improve, but that will consistently be the message.

“I want guys to back themselves and take risks, a lot of the time it doesn't feel like a risk. We're trying to impose ourselves on the opposition, we're trying to put pressure back on them. Even when conditions are tricky, we can get them off their lengths.

“There are a lot of ways to do that but I want them to stay positive.

“I just want us to continue on that path that we're on and play that positive brand of cricket - but we can do it better. We haven't fired with the bat in our whole white-ball summer and we know how dangerous we'll be when we do that.”

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