England and South Africa draw after third ODI knockout | England vs South Africa 2022
A classy crackle from Quinton de Kock’s flashing blade was as good as it gets for the sold-out crowd at Headingley, with the third one-day international between England and South Africa abandoned after just two hours of game because of the rain.
De Kock had beaten his way to 92 from 76 balls, and South Africa 159 for two from 27.4 overs, when the second downpour of the day proved terminal and officials called the time at 4:03 p.m. It meant a streak drawn 1-1, a 50 per cent refund for spectators and a rather soggy end to England’s 50-year program this summer.
After a pair of 2-1 defeats to India in the Twenty20 and ODIs, missing out on the chance to earn a first series win as full-time captain was a blow for Jos Buttler. He lamented a lack of intensity from his side in the first hour here – wickets from David Willey and Adil Rashid brought things back – and indicated that the 38-hour turnaround since Friday’s win at Manchester was the likely reason.
Indeed, the timing was something Buttler was keen to point out when assessing his start to life as Eoin Morgan’s replacement. England have three Twenty20s against South Africa next week – starting in Bristol on Wednesday – to complete a run of 12 clean-ball internationals in just 24 days. Thanks to the rearranged Fifth Test against India last month, there was little respite between matches.
It might be a long-standing lament – the type that prompted Ben Stokes to end his ODI career – but for Buttler it was particularly acute, with only one full training day and therefore a lack time to convey his vision as captain. England, previously so dominant with the bat under Morgan, were knocked out in all five ODI innings and missed a chance to reassert themselves here.
Buttler said: “It’s a frustration for me that we don’t have practice days. I think those training days are really important for the team cohesion, the energy within the group, the exercises on the pitch, the camaraderie around the guys without the pressure of a match. And they are really essential to high performance.
“Most of the time around training is when you’re doing your best, away from the pressures of the game, having good conversations and having a sense of where the group is at. And not just always in game mode. , getting ready for the guys of the day. To get the highest level of cricket possible, you need to prepare properly.
“Hopefully that’s something we can look into. As a new captain, just having time to lay down and do that work around your players and with your coaches. To be honest, it’s been frustrating – it would be nice to have that time to get the job done. But we don’t, so just adapt and find the best way.
Although the stick didn’t really fire in the five ODI innings – Jonny Bairstow topped the averages with 27 and one of three combined half-centuries – the main positive for Buttler was Reece Topley, who won 11 wickets at 12 runs each from his five appearances. “He looked a threat every time he had the ball,” Buttler said, while noting three injury absentees in Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes.
England’s planning for the defense of their 50-plus crown in India next year may be put on the back burner, however, with their next ODI series not until November. Before that comes a hefty Twenty20 regime leading to the shortest format World Cup, with the next three-match series against South Africa followed by seven matches in Pakistan and then another three against Australia.
The format change sees a handful of changes to the England squad to take on the Proteas, with Dawid Malan and Harry Brook back among the batting options – Joe Root drops out – and Chris Jordan and Richard Gleeson offering some right arm seams for a side that finished ODIs with three left arms. Buttler stressed the need for players to start earning spots in his T20 World Cup starting XI.
Although deprived of an 18th century ODI by the opening of the heavens, De Kock’s return to form bodes ominously. The opener entered the series without any warm-up cricket and started with scores of 19 and five to start. He now has runs under his belt, slipping 13 fours in wonderfully languorous fashion, and a Headingley crowd hoping for more at least watched a soaring gem of a player.