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Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 17:24 UK

South Africa deny battling Lions

South Africa 185-6 (38.4 ovs) bt England Lions 184 (46.5 ovs) by 4 wickets

Herschelle Gibbs
Gibbs has scored 20 one-day international centuries

South Africa warmed up for their forthcoming one-day campaign with a four-wicket victory in the 50-over tour match with England Lions at Grace Road.

Herschelle Gibbs, overlooked for the Test series, struck six fours and a six in his 81 from 104 balls, taking the tourists within 31 of their 185 target.

Two wickets fell in two overs before the win was sealed with 68 balls left.

Lions skipper Rob Key hit seven fours and a six in his 51 from 62 balls but his side were all out in the 47th over.

The South Africans could even afford some uncharacteristic fielding lapses, with four dropped catches in the Lions innings, both openers spilled inside the first four overs.

Paceman Dale Steyn proved his fitness after a broken thumb, however, ensuring the Lions were penned in with a new ball spell of 1-13 from six overs, claiming the wicket of highly-rated Joe Denly.

Owais Shah, promoted to the top of the order with Denly, was dropped on nought by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers, but having made 27 he was caught at point.

Ravi Bopara had made five when he was dropped at slip by Albie Morkel, but he also failed to take advantage of the reprieve, running himself out for 23.

Rob Key
Key gave the Lions hope before he was the sixth wicket to fall

Despite Key's best efforts, three wickets fell for just one run in six balls, Andre Nel trapping Matt Prior for one, and adding the wicket of Samit Patel for a golden duck.

Luke Wright hit five fours in his 29, but paceman Makhaya Ntini returned to finish the innings with a spell of 3-12 in five overs.

Hashim Amla was caught at point early in the South African reply, and the Lions thought they had added the wicket of Gibbs for 13 a few balls later.

Gibbs clipped Steve Kirby straight to Key at short mid-wicket but was called for over-stepping, and Gibbs compounded the home team's misery by slamming the free delivery over the top for four.

After Justin Ontong was trapped lbw in the next over, Gibbs shared a 49-run stand with de Villiers and added 64 with JP Duminy.

Scenting a rapid victory, Gibbs advanced down the wicket to Wright and edged behind, the first of three wickets to fall for 19 in five overs.

The visitors weathered the storm, however, and won courtesy of a leg-side wide from Wright.

see also
South Africa in England in 2008
14 Nov 07 |  Cricket

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