South Africa 382 for 4 decl (Amla 91, Bavuma 85) drew against England Lions 266 for 4 decl (Westley 106, Ballance 56)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
South Africa’s attack got overs in the legs but not many wickets in the column in their final competitive outing ahead of the four-Test series against England, which starts at Lord’s on Thursday. After declaring overnight on 382 for 4, South Africa’s frontline bowlers dismissed only two England Lions’ batsmen, one of whom they will come up against in the Tests.
Keaton Jennings was bowled by Morne Morkel on what was a tough day for the pack. Chris Morris was the only other specialist bowler to taste some success – he had Sam Robson caught behind – while Kagiso Rabada went wicketless. Theunis de Bruyn’s medium-pace claimed the other two wickets while Vernon Philander, who is recovering from an ankle injury, sat out the match. South Africa are hopeful he will be available for the first Test.
South Africa’s sole specialist spinner, Keshav Maharaj, had a decent workout and bowled 18.1 overs for 46 runs while JP Duminy also turned his arm over, albeit it expensively. His eight overs cost 51. De Bruyn bowled seven overs and had more to show than any of his team-mates. He got both Gary Ballance and Sam Billings out lbw; Ballance got his eye in ahead of the Tests with a half-century and shared a 136-run third-wicket stand with Tom Westley, who went on to score the only century of the match.
Overall, South Africa may not have got all the preparation they would have hoped from the rain-affected match. They batted once and although opener Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock were among the runs, stand-in captain Dean Elgar and Duminy – whose form has been a long-term concern – did not cash in. De Bruyn, who played ahead of Aiden Markram, was out for a duck.
On what appeared a placid pitch, the bowlers toiled. Particularly Rabada, whose lean patch on the tour continued. The fast bowler has managed only eight wickets in six ODIs since South Africa arrived in the UK, sat out the T20I series, and did not find his rhythm in this game, going for 59 in his 16 overs. Should Philander not to be able to take the field, it will be up to Rabada to lead South Africa’s attack, while Morris seems to be the preferred allrounder. Andile Phehluwakyo is also in the squad.
South Africa travel to London on Sunday to finalise preparations for Lord’s with coach Russell Domingo back in the camp. Domingo had to return home on a family emergency last week but will oversee the team at the start of the series.