England stay top but Cook calls for more

Julian Harris
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ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook insists his team will not rest on their laurels despite cementing their status as the top one-day side in the world with a comfortable win against South Africa yesterday.

The home side strolled to a six wicket victory with more than three overs to spare at Lord’s, reaching 224-4 after South Africa could only manage 220-8.

“This side has got its future ahead of it, rather than behind it,” Cook said after the match.

“We’re still striving to improve in all areas. We’ve only been together really now for a year or so. We’ve had some really good results but we certainly don’t feel like we’re the No1 side.”

The second straight one-day win gives England a 2-1 lead in the series. They will hold onto their world No1 spot irrespective of the result of the final match, played at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.

South Africa started the day well. Despite being put in to bat under gloomy conditions that boded well for England’s seam attack, the tourists reached 68-0 by the end of the 19th over – helped by James Tredwell dropping two chances at slip.

Yet Graeme Smith was caught behind with the first ball for the 20th over, and fellow opener Hashim Amla went five overs later to a brilliant seam ball from Ravi Bopara.

With their tails up, Tredwell tried some spin for the next over and took the wicket of Jean-Paul Duminy – and just three overs later Faf du Plessis was dismissed by Bopara to leave South Africa stuck on 114-3.

They reached 160-4 going into the last 10 overs yet lost four more wickets as they tried to up the run rate.

England then took an early hit as Cook was trapped LBW by Dale Steyn. Yet Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott gained control with a 141 run partnership, Trott reaching 48 despite playing on with an injured hand after another thunderbolt from Steyn.

Bell finally succumbed – to Steyn – on 88 runs while Bopara disappointed with just six runs. But Eoin Morgan and Craig Kieswetter finished the job with a 38 run stand that ended with the latter driving a ball over the Pavilion End boundary for a six, to seal England’s win.