England Still Number One In A Straussless Era
In many ways it was a sad week for English cricket with the retirement of Andrew Strauss from all forms of the game. But his former colleagues quickly rebounded with two one day victories over South Africa.
Their latest victory, England 224-4 beat South Africa 220-8 by six wickets, gave them a 2-1 lead in the series. With one ODI remaining England know whatever happens they will retain their number one ranking position in the one day form of the game.
New test captain Alistair Cook was bowled early from a rocket from Dale Steyn. Steyn in full flow is one of the most electric sights in modern cricket.
But Cook won’t be overly concerned, there is no shame in a sharp exit at the hands of Steyn. And Ian Bell was more than up to the task of ushering the side towards their goal of 221.
His stand with Jonathan Trott for 141 was the turning point in a game that didn’t exactly glitter with excitement.
Cook and co won’t care of course. They have ensured they will retain their number one ODI status. And have calmed some of the early wobbles in a new Straussless era for English cricket. Even if Cook had been captaining the one day side for some time.
First and foremost on Cook’s mind will be the final ODI. The rest of the team have T20s to consider after that. But England are finally beating South Africa; in the tail end of a summer when that looked all but impossible.
Other issues lay ahead for Cook. Not least his turn at bat in the, not forgotten, Kevin Pietersen affair. Results have been fine so far. But KP won’t stay out of the limelight for long. And there will come a time when questions are asked about the continued absence of England’s best player.
All that is for another time.
Still: England have retained the number one position in one day cricket; not a bad way to begin an era without Andrew Strauss, their stalwart captain.
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