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Updated: September 26, 2009 15:51 IST

Spirited England up against South African might

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England will have to handle Wayne Parnell, South Africa's latest pace sensation, with care. Photo: AP
England will have to handle Wayne Parnell, South Africa's latest pace sensation, with care. Photo: AP

High on confidence after upstaging Sri Lanka, England are bracing up for another tough encounter, against hosts South Africa, in the Champions Trophy here on Sunday.

The South Africans had lost their rain-marred opening match to Sri Lanka but bounced back well to beat New Zealand in their second game.

The English, drubbed 1-6 by Australia in a just-concluded home series, meanwhile, opened their campaign in style by beating one of the tournament favourites to spice up the race to the semi-finals.

But even with a morale-boosting win to start with, Andrew Strauss’ men have quite a task at hand against the South Africans.

Proteas batting line-up is in good touch and the likes of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers have done well, but skipper Graeme Smith remains crucial along with opener Herschelle Gibbs and star all-rounder Jacques Kallis.

On the bowling front, teen sensation Wayne Parnell has taken some of the limelight away from his more accomplished fellow pacer Dale Steyn.

Parnell starred with a five-wicket haul in the win over New Zealand, which resurrected South Africa’s campaign after a disappointing opener.

England, meanwhile, sprung a surprise with their performance against Sri Lanka.

Considering that they had been outplayed by Australia just a couple of days before landing in South Africa, not many had given them a chance against the consistent Lankans.

But James Anderson and Stuart Broad first wrecked the Lankan line-up by sharing six wickets between them before the batsmen, led by Paul Collingwood and Eoin Morgan, ensured a smooth chase.

Owais Shah too looked in fine form and Strauss would be hoping for a similar all-round effort against the Proteas in the crucial match. The unassuming skipper has already warned his men against letting the guard down.

Playing on home turf does give South Africa a slight edge but England have shown that they are up for the challenge with a spirited show in their tournament-opener.

Teams (from):

South Africa: Graeme Smith (C), Johan Botha, Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Jean—Paul Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Roelof van der Merwe.

England: Andrew Strauss (C), Ravi Bopara, Luke Wright, Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood, Joe Denly, Eoin Morgan, Graham Onions, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Adil Rashid, James Anderson, Ryan Sidebottom and Graeme Swann

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