Preview by Telford Vice
Before the T20I series, South Africans of a particular bent would have argued that England are not the men's 2019 World Cup champions. That they are merely the holders; the caretakers, even.
It's true that Eoin Morgan's team didn't win the final against New Zealand, and ended up being given the trophy by dint of an obscure technicality. If England are champions of anything it's of the boundary count. Nothing else. What happened on the podium at Lord's on July 14 last year was not unlike a team being awarded a football trophy because it earned more corner kicks than the other lot.
But South Africans who would be so bold - or so pigheaded - are suddenly thin on the ground. Their team is peddling the theory that the T20Is weren't as one-sided as they seemed. Really? England won by five wickets, four wickets and nine wickets. Two matches went into the last over, but it is folly to suggest that South Africa weren't struggling to stay in the contest with the visitors in each game. England batted better, bowled better, and thought better.
Will the ODIs be different? Perhaps not, say the portents. England have sent home Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Dawid Malan, Sam Curran and Chris Jordan. Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Liam Livingstone, Olly Stone and Lewis Gregory have joined the squad. South Africa are resting Faf du Plessis and releasing Pite van Biljon, Bjorn Fortuin and Reeza Hendricks. Injuries have taken Kagiso Rabada and Dwaine Pretorius out of the running.
Not having players of the calibre of Stokes, Archer and Malan when you're winning is easily preferable to being without stars like Du Plessis and Rabada when you're losing. So, like it did in the T20Is, England will start this series in pole position.
The bright side for the South Africans is that they will have more room to breathe and assess scenarios, and plot and play accordingly. The English will, too, of course. But by the look of them they don't need it.
A greater threat to their focus could come from the media. Some in the English press seem agog with exploring the sideshow that is the signs displaying numbers that were on England's balcony while it was in the field during the T20Is and will be again in the ODI series. They are intended to convey messages from analyst Nathan Leamon to Eoin Morgan. As Charl Langeveldt, South Africa's bowling coach, said on Thursday, this is nothing new - Corrie van Zyl did it several years ago when he coached the Knights. But the way it's being written up and talked up, you would have thought Leamon had decoded the coronavirus itself.
South Africans will look for more engagement from Quinton de Kock and its other senior players. The way everyone left Lutho Sipamla twisting in the wind all alone while he was being hammered for 45 runs in 2.4 overs at Newlands on Tuesday was painful to watch. They will want to see their bowlers avoiding blow-out overs like the one in which Beuran Hendricks went for 24 in the first T20I at Newlands last Friday. And for their batters not to get out after establishing themselves, as happened all too often in the T20Is.
England? The 2019 World Cup caretakers, err, holders? Keep on keeping on. Now with extra breathing room.
When: Friday December 4, 2020. 1pm Local Time
Where: Newlands, Cape Town
What to expect: A faster pitch than was seen in the two T20Is played at the ground. And more pressure on calling correctly at the toss: teams who have batted first have won 24 of the 33 day/night ODIs played at Newlands. Fielding first has been the successful option in only nine day/nighters. It's got to do with an abundance of moisture in night air, apparently.
With Faf du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada out and Andile Phehlukwayo and David Miller uncertain starters, South Africa are in a hole. George Linde deserves an ODI debut, which would give him a full set of caps.
Probable XI: Quinton de Kock, Janneman Malan, Jon-Jon Smuts, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, George Linde, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi
Eoin Morgan confirmed that England would name their team on the morning of the game as he wants more time to look at the wicket. Joe Root and Chris Woakes will certainly come into the side after not being a part of the T20 squad while Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Ben Stokes have been rested from this series. How England balance the side without Stokes remains to be seen. They could go in with just five bowlers.
Probable XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid
What they said:
"In T20 cricket you're dealing with a pressure situation whenever you put your hand to the pump. In 50-over cricket it's still high intensity but it's over a longer period. So batters will take their time to try and settle in, and it gives bowlers time to get into a rhythm." - Charl Langeveldt, South Africa's bowling coach, looks forward to things slowing down a touch.
"There's always been constant communication, verbal or physical, from the changing room to us on the field to help improve my decisions as captain and Jos's [Buttler] decisions as vice-captain to try and correlate the feeling of the flow of the game and what we think are the right decisions against the data that we've already researched coming into the game and, as the game progresses, how that might change." - Eoin Morgan comes up with a 69-word sentence to explain those damn flashcards.
South Africa Squad: Quinton de Kock(w/c), Janneman Malan, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, JJ Smuts, Junior Dala, George Linde, Lutho Sipamla, Kyle Verreynne, Glenton Stuurman, Beuran Hendricks
England Squad: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Jos Buttler(w), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley, Lewis Gregory, Sam Billings, Olly Stone, Liam Livingstone
Minister Group Rajshahi Squad: Anisul Islam Emon, Najmul Hossain Shanto(c), Mohammad Ashraful, Fazle Mahmud, Mahedi Hasan, Nurul Hasan(w), Farhad Reza, Rony Talukdar, Mukidul Islam, Ebadot Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Raqibul Hasan, Sunzamul Islam, Mohammad Saifuddin, Jaker Ali, Rejaur Rahman Raja
Beximco Dhaka Squad: Mohammad Naim, Robiul Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim(w/c), Tanzid Hasan, Yasir Ali, Akbar Ali, Muktar Ali, Nayeem Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Shafiqul Islam, Sabbir Rahman, Abu Hider Rony, Mehedi Hasan Rana, Pinak Ghosh, Shahadat Hossain
Jaffna Stallions Squad: Avishka Fernando, Tom Moores(w), Minod Bhanuka, Thisara Perera(c), Shoaib Malik, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dhananjaya de Silva, Chaturanga de Silva, Usman Shinwari, Suranga Lakmal, Duanne Olivier, Johnson Charles, Kyle Abbott, Binura Fernando, Charith Asalanka, Prabath Jayasuriya, Nuwanidu Fernando, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Maheesh Theekshana, Kanagarathinam Kabilraj, Theivendiram Dinoshan
Colombo Kings Squad: Dinesh Chandimal(w), Laurie Evans, Thikshila de Silva, Angelo Mathews(c), Andre Russell, Ashan Priyanjan, Isuru Udana, Qais Ahmad, Dhammika Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Manpreet Gony, Karim Sadiq, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Amila Aponso, Tharindu Kaushal, Kalana Perera, Navod Paranavithana, Lahiru Udara, Himesh Ramanayake, Tharindu Ratnayake
Day 2: Stumps - WI trail by 470 runs
KHULN won by 4 wkts
Day 2: Stumps - NZ A trail by 1 run