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England one-day side blossoms at last

Andy Lloyd
CRITICS have always been quick to knock England&rsquo;s one-day set-up, but Sunday&rsquo;s second ODI against South Africa was as good a limited-overs performance as I have seen from an England side for a long, long time. In the wake of the shambolic series with Australia in the summer, the England selectors have had a lot of work to do in restructuring this side, but I believe we are beginning to see the fruits of their labours.<br /><br />Right from the start we seemed to have that little extra zip to our game. Our bowling was tight, we were sharp in the field, and then we finished it off with a very impressive run chase courtesy of Paul Collingwood and Jonathan Trott. It was a pleasure to watch.<br /><br /><strong>EXTRA LIFT</strong><br /><br />Leaving out Alastair Cook as opener seems to give the England top order a little extra lift. Instead of two left-handers opening, neither of whom are particularly comfortable in the one-day game, we now have variety with captain Andrew Strauss partnering Trott, who is benefitting from being an unknown quantity to the South Africans.<br /><br />Jonathan is no stranger to opening &ndash; he learned that trade with us at Warwickshire. <br />But what his inclusion does is allow for our best player, Kevin Pietersen, to come in at No3, the position to which he is best suited.<br /><br />However, it was not just in the batting line-up that Trotty and Collingwood made their contributions. Admittedly helped by the slow pitch at Centurion, the pair brought balance to the bowling line-up, chipping in with plenty of overs and their fair share of wickets. <br /><br /><strong>DOWN ON THEIR LUCK</strong><br /><br />Both are extremely underrated one-day bowlers and made life a lot easier for Strauss by bowling in the right places while ensuring he can set a field to it.<br /><br />The manner of their victory will undoubtedly have given England plenty of self-belief ahead of Friday&rsquo;s third one-dayer in Cape Town.<br /><br />Meanwhile the South Africans seem to be lacking confidence and look pretty down on their luck to me. <br />And it&rsquo;s not often that we&rsquo;ve been able to say that.<br />