Sunday, November 8, 2009

Strauss leads England to victory

Andrew Strauss continued his rich run of form with an unbeaten 117 to help England to an eight-wicket victory in their second tour match, against the Warriors at the De Beers Diamond Oval.

The captain was composed throughout his 119-ball innings, dominating the home side's bowling as he and Joe Denly (85) laid a firm platform - in pursuit of the 255 victory target - with an impressive 175 opening stand.

They eventually cruised home with 9.1 overs to spare as the earlier efforts of 83 not out from Arno Jacobs and Davey Jacobs (50) proved in vain.

The victory will be pleasing for Andy Flower, but there will still be concern over the bowling - with only Graeme Swann (three for 26) really shining in Kimberley.
But the England coach will have no worries over his batsmen, who again showed good form to go with the 185-run opening win in Bloemfontein on Friday.

They attacked from the outset, with Denly smashing the first boundary at the end of the first over to set the tone - Andrew Birch veering down the leg-side and dispatched through midwicket.

The Kent batsman, who failed in the first game, edged the same bowler away through the slip region for his second boundary, before watching his captain get into the groove with four fours and a massive six over long-off to help his side reach 50 in only the ninth over.

Darryl Brown was brought into the attack and almost got the breakthrough when a Strauss drive fell just short of a diving Arno at mid-off.

England ended the first 15 overs at 84 for none, Strauss bringing up his 50 from 51 balls with a single off Corbyn Dolley through extra cover.

The 100 followed in the 19th over - and, with a solid platform in place, the pair began to accelerate.

Denly reached his half-century from 60 deliveries - and clobbered Dolley for his first maximum just before the 150 was raised in the 25th over.

He hit another six off Brown over the long-on fence before he fell - Brown having him caught by Siyamthanda Ntshona at long-on with only 76 left to get.

The loss of Denly's wicket did not halt the flow of runs, with Alastair Cook offering support to his captain, helping take his side past 200 in the 34th over.

Strauss, who made 72 against the Diamond Eagles, brought up his hundred from 109 balls with a single off Dolley down to the deep cover area, before the 50 partnership came up in 52 balls.

Cook was eventually out for 34 but Paul Collingwood (12 not out) helped his captain seal an emphatic win.

Earlier, it was Arno that turned on the style for his side. He and his namesake Davey were largely responsible for getting their side above 250, thanks a 130-run partnership.

It overshadowed a good bowling display from Swann, the only England bowler to impress.

Tim Bresnan, playing in place of Stuart Broad - rested for two games after jarring his right shoulder in the opening win - looked threatening in his spell of none for 40, but James Anderson, Sajid Mahmood and Adil Rashid were expensive.

England were without Graham Onions, who was not risked because of lower back trouble, with Bresnan, Rashid and Cook taking the places of Broad, Jonathan Trott and Luke Wright.

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