Paul Collingwood inspires England win in South Africa
Second one-day international, Centurion: England 252-3 beat South Africa 250-9 by seven wickets Match scorecard
Collingwood is congratulated on reaching a match-winning century
By Jon Barbuti
Paul Collingwood put in a brilliant all-round performance as England won the second one-day international against South Africa by seven wickets.
Collingwood hit an unbeaten 105, took a superb catch off AB de Villiers and had figures of 2-24 from six overs.
The 33-year-old found able support from Jonathan Trott, who hit 87 and bowled seven tight overs for 21 at Centurion.
Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla hit half-centuries, but the hosts' 250-9 was not enough to prevent defeat.
England went into the match having won the last five completed meetings in this format, but with a much-changed line-up from the teams' last clash.
In September, England hit 323 to progress to the Champions Trophy semi-finals, but form and fitness meant only five of that team took to the field, Owais Shah not even in the touring party despite top scoring on the day with 98.
Collingwood, though, remained. He hit 82 in the Champions Trophy win, but eclipsed that by recording a fifth one-day international century in his record 171st appearance as England opened a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series following Friday's washout.
More importantly he combined with Trott to suggest that for all the changes, England might have stumbled towards more of a long-term winning formula. The pair shared 13 overs, taking 2-45 and then recorded a 162-run partnership in good time to take the game away from the hosts.
Not that England should get too carried away. This was still a hard-fought win, the style of match set in the early overs with both teams feeling the other out at the belated start of a long winter of one-day and Test cricket.
James Anderson and Tim Bresnan found a hint of early swing, but South Africa looked relatively untroubled until Bresnan angled the ball across Graeme Smith and the South African skipper edged behind to Matt Prior.
Having nabbed the key wicket of Smith, England soon sent AB de Villiers on his way, South Africa's number three brilliantly caught off Anderson by Collingwood diving to his left in the gully.
That though, was to be a rare highlight in terms of England's catching and although South Africa's total was at best a par score, it could have been lower still had England not wasted a succession of chances.
Andrew Strauss was the worst culprit, dropping three presentable chances close in on the off-side, the first, off the bowling of Sajid Mahmood, giving JP Duminy a life on 23.
Duminy took advantage of Adil Rashid's lack of form, switch hitting a four and then lifting a six through the leg side, but he perished the following over, edging an attempted cut to Prior to give Luke Wright a thoroughly-deserved reward for a tight spell.
Duminy's departure allowed Strauss to bring on Collingwood and Jonathan Trott as South Africa, wary of a lengthy tail and with relative international novice Alviro Petersen joining Amla at the crease, looked to consolidate.
But their plan was to be ruined by poor stroke selection as the batsmen seemingly engaged in a contest to see who could be first to hand their wicket to Collingwood.
In the space of four balls, Petersen survived an lbw shout to a ball destined for middle and leg, got a third life when Collingwood inexplicably dropped a simple return catch and then watched as Amla prodded straight to Strauss at mid off to depart for 57.
Petersen hit a straight six off Collingwood in an attempt to relieve some pressure, but the bowlers held sway with the Durham man going at four an over and Trott racing through seven overs for just 21 runs.
Ryan McLaren did little to justify his promotion up the order, wafting a wide Anderson ball behind to Prior and 10 runs later South Africa were in serious trouble as Albie Morkel attempted a launch into the leg side off Collingwood and was superbly taken by a sprinting Eoin Morgan to leave the score at 165-6.
Six wickets should have become seven, Strauss the culprit both times as Petersen survived on 39 and 47. The first chance off Trott was sharp, Strauss unable to hold on as he dived in the covers, but the second off the bowling of Collingwood should have been a regulation take.
To compound the error, the drop deprived Collingwood of a 100th one-day international wicket and delayed his confirmation as the first Englishman to reach the dual landmark of 100 wickets and 4,000 runs.
In-between his moments of luck, Petersen showed glimpses of class with a pull for four off Trott and leg-side flick off Andersen, but he finally departed on 64, Bresnan taking potential dropped catches out of the equation by sending down a delivery that clipped the top of off-stump as South Africa laboured towards respectability.
To defend their total, South Africa needed early wickets and Dale Steyn nearly delivered inside the first over, beating Trott's outside edge with a stunning delivery first ball.
At the other end, Strauss appeared untroubled, twice wandering down the pitch to dismissively drive Charl Langeveldt to the fence before he tried the trick once too often and sent a leading edge to de Villiers.
On England's last tour to South Africa, Kevin Pietersen announced himself on the world stage with three centuries in six innings, finishing with an average of 151.
On this occasion, short of cricket in the build-up, the South African-born batsmen arrived to a chorus of boos, played one glorious shot through midwicket and then played across the line and saw his leg stump uprooted by Morkel.
Having dominated the middle overs with the ball, Trott and Collingwood looked to do the same with the bat, though it was heavy going until Colllingwood drilled Steyn for two fours to take England past the 100 mark in the 23rd over.
Collingwood celebrates on reaching a superb century - his fifth ODI cricket
Trott brought up his first ODI half-century in only his second outing three overs later, but the attacking intent came from Collingwood, a free hit off Langeveldt hit for a straight six as he advanced towards his own half century.
The occasional rush of blood from Collingwood aside, England remained happy to milk the singles, forcing Smith to try the part-time spin of Duminy before calling on Steyn as soon as the new ball became available.
But, to use a sporting cliché, the faster it arrived the faster it disappeared, Collingwood disdainful in launching Steyn down the ground for four and then swatting through the legside to overtake his partner, the 150 partnership arriving in the following over.
Collingwood hit a second six off Roelof van der Merwe, but with South Africa looking resigned to defeat they finally broke the partnership, Amla diving forward to take Trott in the deep off Langeveldt.
However, any lingering hopes of a home win were eradicated when Morgan hit two fours on arriving at the crease and also survived being caught off a waist-high full toss, the delivery called a no ball after a referral to the third umpire.
The only question remaining being if, and when, Collingwood would reach three figures.
A scampered two took him to 98, a pull to 99 and, after Morgan dispatched McLaren for a six and four, he heaved through the onside to bring up his century off 108 balls before Morgan drilled the winning runs through the onside to finish on 22.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.