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Monday, September 28, 2009

England loving the batting

England captain Andrew Strauss hailed a positive batting performance which set up a 22-run victory over favourites South Africa and took his team into the Champions Trophy semi-finals.
England piled up 323 for eight, their highest total against South Africa, with Owais Shah falling two short of a ton and Paul Collingwood and Eoin Morgan also lashing half-centuries.
Shah top-scored with 98 off 89 balls, including six sixes, while Collingwood scored 82 off 94 deliveries and Morgan belted 67 off just 34 balls.
Best in memory
"It's the best England batting performance that I can remember," said Strauss at Centurion on Sunday.
"Obviously our confidence was low after the Australia series, but we just wanted to make sure we showed what we can do in this tournament. We didn't want to die wondering.
"We can play the shots, we have the skills, but sometimes it's just a mindset thing. We wanted to loosen the shackles and take the game to them."
England lived up to spin-bowler Graeme Swann's pre-tournament prediction that they could "smash teams all over the place" despite losing 6-1 in a one-day series against Australia just after winning back the Ashes.
And they will be particularly pleased with Shah, who along with Ravi Bopara has failed to shine this summer despite a big reputation in England.
"Owais took control clearing the boundary that many times, it was an absolute gem of an innings. He was well-backed by Collingwood and Eoin Morgan was tremendous at the end again. It was a fantastic batting performance," said Strauss, whose own batting has often compensated for a weak middle order this year.
Jog on
Strauss defended his decision to deny opposite number Graeme Smith a runner in the closing stages of his heroic century.
"We can play the shots, we have the skills, but sometimes it's just a mindset thing. We wanted to loosen the shackles and take the game to them"
England captain Andrew Strauss"He asked me for a runner because he was cramping, but the umpires weren't particularly keen, I thought they were very uncomfortable with it and I didn't think he merited a runner.
"Cramping is about preparation and conditioning and at the end of a long innings you are going to get tired, it happens normally. But I didn't feel he was cramping that badly because he was still able to run," Strauss said.
South Africa captain Smith bemoaned a sub-par performance by his bowlers.
"The pitch played really well and you need to be consistent on those sort of surfaces. There also wasn't much spin out there, but it's hugely disappointing that we conceded more than 300," he said.
"We need to look at aspects of our attack when a pitch plays that well. We bowled three or four good balls an over, but two bad ones every over too."
Meanwhile Sri Lanka and England have both been fined for slow over-rates.
Sri Lanka, who lost by 38 runs to New Zealand at the Wanderers, were ruled two overs short in the allotted time, an International Cricket Council (ICC) statement said on Monday.
Captain Kumar Sangakkara was fined 20 per cent of his match fees and the rest of the team 10 per cent.
England were ruled one over short while defending their total of 323.
Skipper Andrew Strauss was fined 10 per cent of his match fee and the rest of the team five per cent.

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