Following the 62-run loss to South Africa in the first ODI, England captain Jos Buttler admitted that the side’s bowling unit could not “find that spark with the ball”.
Rassie van der Dussen and Anrich Nortje did well for South Africa, helping the visitors hand England a 62-run defeat in the first ODI of the three-match series at Riverside Ground on Tuesday.
“I thought it was a good toss to win and we could not find that spark with the ball. It was a fantastic partnership between Rassie and Markram and we were not able to break that. We have to pick wickets in the middle part of the game and they batted well, used the pockets of space in the field perfectly and ran hard,” Buttler said in a post-match presentation.
“I do not think it is because of lack of effort, the two guys at the top are explosive but South Africa bowled well and did not allow them to get going. We have been improving through the games we have played, we are missing some senior guys but it creates opportunities for the others. From myself and the rest of the England supporters we want to say thank you [to Ben Stokes]. Every day he turns up he puts in 100 per cent and has been a great ambassador of the game,” he added.
South Africa put up a massive 333/5 on the board in the first innings. A century from van der Dussen (134) and half-centuries from Janneman Malan (57) and Aiden Markram (77) helped Proteas post the intimidating total.
Liam Livingstone, a part-time spinner, was the pick of the bowlers with his 2/30 for England.
In the chase of 334, England had a great start but after losing their top order, they started losing wickets more regularly. Contributions from Jason Roy (43), Jonny Bairstow (63) and Joe Root (86) laid the foundation, but other batters could not carry forward the momentum. England was eventually bundled out for 271 runs, falling short by 62 runs. Nortje (4/53) ended the day as the best bowler for South Africa.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was playing his last ODI, did not get to end on a high as not only his side lost the match, but he could not pick up any wicket and fell for just five runs.
Van der Dussen was adjudged as Man of the Match for his brilliant 134-run knock.