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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 15:31 GMT
England pair start tour in style
Tour match, Randjesfontein: England 190-2 (36.3 overs) beat Nicky Oppenheimer's XI 172-4 (39 overs) by eight wickets

Marcus Trescothick
Trescothick lofts the ball away over mid-wicket for four

Marcus Trescothick and Robert Key hit form immediately as England began their South African tour with an eight-wicket victory in Randjesfontein.

Key hit five sixes in his 87 off 85 balls and Trescothick made 85 not out as they reached 190-2 with 21 balls to spare against Nicky Oppenheimer's XI.

The home side totalled 172-4 from 39 overs in a rain-affected game with Neil Johnson scoring 74.

But a revised target of 185 presented few problems for England.

All eight Test specialists in England's squad were chosen for the one-day fixture, including Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff.

The home side, led by Ashwell Prince, included Heath Streak, whose international career is on hold after he was deposed as Zimbabwe captain earlier this year.

For England, it was a case of easing themselves into the tour before the first serious challenge of a three-day Test warm-up against South Africa A, which starts on Saturday.

Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison shared the new ball as they had their first competitive bowl for three months.

Groundstaff cover the wicket at Randjesfontein
Groundstaff rushed to cover the wicket after the rain arrived

And it was Yorkshireman Hoggard who made the initial breakthrough when he had Francois du Plessis caught low at slip by Flintoff after the opener had managed only a single from 33 deliveries.

Harmison went wicket-less in his opening four-over burst and was then relieved by Jones, who wasted no time in having Andre Seymore lbw for 23.

But Johnson greeted Flintoff's introduction by lofting his third ball down the ground for six.

The left-hander also cleared the ropes at long-on off Paul Collingwood and then hit two successive sixes off Gareth Batty.

He was unbeaten on 48 out of a score of 84-2 when the rain, which had been in the area over the past few days, returned to send the players back to the dressing room for over an hour.

Once groundstaff had carried out mopping up operations, Johnson and Prince extended their stand to 93 before Harmison had Prince caught by Graham Thorpe for 26.

Johnson holed out at the start of the next over after making 74 off 58 balls, but Hoggard's success was the last of the innings as Jean-Paul Duminy (25) and Wendell Bossenger (18) added 45 to the total.

Given the need to spend time in the middle, it was understandable that Trescothick and Key avoided unnecessary risk at the start of England's reply.

Streak and Charl Willoughby were both tidy but the support bowlers provided easier fodder as the two England batsmen raised the tempo.

Key, in particular, was in no mood to waste the chance of staking an early claim for a Test place, but was bowled by left-armer Lonwabo Tsotsobe with England only 19 short of their target.

Mark Butcher faced only 12 balls before he was caught by Johnson off Willoughby for six, leaving Graham Thorpe to keep Trescothick company to the finish which came when Trescothick struck his third six of the game.

England: M Trescothick (Capt), R Key, M Butcher, G Thorpe, A Flintoff, P Collingwood, C Read (Wkt), G Batty, S Jones, M Hoggard, S Harmison.

Nicky Oppenheimer XI: Andre Seymore, Neil Johnson, JP Duminy, Francois du Plessis, Ashwell Prince (Capt), Wendell Bossenger (Wkt), Heath Streak, Grant Howell, Werner Coetsee, Charl Willoughby, Lonwabe Tsotsobe

Interview: England batsman Robert Key

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