After test success, England ODI team out to prove worth

After test success, England ODI team out to prove worth

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 3:15 p.m. ET

England's test team has delivered, now over to the limited-overs squad to prove its worth.

The five-match one-day series and two Twenty20 games against South Africa have added significance beyond this tour, too, with the World Twenty20 around the corner.

England has eight of its victorious test players available for the shorter format games in South Africa, and the good feelings are likely to linger for the tourists heading into the first ODI in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

''One advantage we have had in this tour, more than before, is that there are more guys who were in the test team, which is good,'' England one-day captain Eoin Morgan said.


Like the test team, England's ODI outfit has shown signs it might be on the up after a forgettable World Cup at the start of last year. England won a home series over World Cup finalist New Zealand, lost narrowly to Australia, but then was convincing in a 3-1 victory over Pakistan in United Arab Emirates.

The South Africans, with another World Cup near-miss and a series loss in Bangladesh behind them, picked themselves up to win in India at the end of last year.

Longer term, both sides have shown patchy one-day form. England is ranked No. 6 and South Africa No. 4. But they both have great quality, with the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes for England and Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers for South Africa.

''They are a very good side,'' England allrounder Chris Jordan said of the hosts. ''They just beat India in their own conditions in one-day cricket, so they will be full of confidence.

''In the last few months we have been focusing on ourselves and what we can do to hurt the opposition, rather than what the opposition can do. Obviously they have some very good players you have to be wary of, but we are more focusing on ourselves and that is a key strength for us.''

Also key is the possible effect of England's test series victory, its first over South Africa in 11 years. It was a huge boost for the English, and a sudden reality check for South Africa. As much as England hopes to keep that momentum, South Africa is desperate to win back some respect through its ODI team.

''There are no soft series or less important series. They are all important, particularly coming off a test series loss,'' South Africa coach Russell Domingo said.

England will re-integrate test players Root, Stokes, Moeen Ali, James Taylor and the recalled Stuart Broad into a squad of promise with the likes of Jordan, Jos Buttler and Jason Roy - should Roy recover from a back problem in time to be fit to open the batting in the first ODI.

South Africa's shift to one-day gear appears to be far more complicated.

The tests have taken their toll, with fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Kyle Abbot picking up injuries, and fellow quicks Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel in need of a rest after a big workload during the series. Allrounder Albie Morkel was called up to bolster the ODI bowling, but then also got injured.

''It's an opportunity to test the depth of South African cricket,'' Domingo said.