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England v South Africa ODI series



FIFTH ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL: England v South Africa 6-1 (3 ovs)
Swalec Stadium: Match abandoned because of rain

By Jamie Lillywhite


Groundstaff battle with the elements
A series of beefy showers gave way to prolonged heavy rain in Cardiff

England's hopes of a 5-0 whitewash over South Africa were dashed by rain as the final one-day international at Cardiff was abandoned after a mere three overs.

A win for England would have catapulted them into second in the world rankings.

The start was delayed by a wet outfield but a 43-over contest began in blustery conditions after England opted to bowl.

Stuart Broad ousted Herschelle Gibbs in the second over, thanks to a one-handed catch by Matt Prior leaping in front of first slip, but rain had the final say.

There was a strong likelihood that Kevin Pietersen's in-form England side would have completed the victory they needed to take them into their highest ever position in the one-day rankings.

But the weather was against them and those who questioned the wisdom of playing in Cardiff in September were sadly proved right.

Rain has fallen for much of the last month at the ground and although it was dry around the time of the scheduled start, several squelchy spots made a prompt start impossible.

ODI CRICKET: DEBATE
eirebilly
The intrepid groundstaff worked valiantly with the covers, not blessed with the facilities enjoyed by their counterparts at Lord's, and the trusty sawdust was applied in liberal quantities to allow play to start.

In a biting blustery wind, South Africa reached 6-1 before the skies darkened yet again and rain returned with a vengeance.

There were a few raised eyebrows about the length of time taken to cover the wicket following the sudden and torrential downpour but in truth it did not matter, the subsequent prolonged rain ruling out any prospect of a resumption in any case.

Although the damp end to the series did not provide Pietersen with the perfect Boy's Own finale England followers were hoping for, he has enjoyed a superb first full campaign as captain.

Stuart Broad dismisses Herschelle Gibbs
Broad's one over was a wicket maiden as Herschelle Gibbs was dismissed
England, whitewashed themselves in the home series against Sri Lanka in 2006, lost to New Zealand earlier this summer and began this campaign in a lowly sixth against a South African outfit bidding to overhaul Australia as the top-ranked side.

There were many positives, mainly Andrew Flintoff, who finished with an average of 187 after two fine innings of 78 and was also by far the most successful bowler with 10 wickets at a cost of just 12.

Steve Harmison made a triumphant return to the one-day ranks with five wickets, while Matt Prior secured his place behind the stumps for at least the immediate future with 120 runs and 13 catches and a stumping.

In addition, Stuart Broad collected eight wickets and slow left-armer Samit Patel claimed a man-of-the-match 5-41 and useful 31.

The next challenge for England is the potentially multi-million dollar Stanford Series in the West Indies in late October and early November.




see also
Flintoff hails captain Pietersen
31 Aug 08 |  Cricket
England maintain perfect record
31 Aug 08 |  Cricket
England win seals one-day series
29 Aug 08 |  England
England surge to 10-wicket rout
26 Aug 08 |  England
South Africa in England in 2008
29 Aug 08 |  Cricket


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