England have won!

And won convincingly to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series! After losing the toss and being put into bat they put up a formidable 315-6 off their fifty overs. Charlotte Edwards led the way with 138 off 139 balls. She was ably supported by Sarah Taylor who scored 77 off 63 balls and with whom she shared a partnership of 159 (at eight an over). South Africa always had trouble keeping up with the required rate. By the time they reached the halfway point of their innings they were only two wickets down, but the asking rate was almost eight an over and their only hope was to keep wickets in hand. When they lost four wickets in three overs shortly thereafter the match was all over bar the shouting. South Africa failed to bat out their fifty overs; they were bowled out for 219 in the 48th over to give England a 2-0 lead in the series. The wickets were shared around the England bowlers, with Laura Marsh, Danni Hazell, Arran Brindle and Danni Wyatt taking two apiece and Heather Knight taking one. The win secures the series for England, and they will go for the whitewash on Tuesday.

The England men also ‘played’, insofar as they appeared on a cricket pitch during a scheduled match. The match was very similar to the second one. England batted first and only scored 220. They had a decent start, but once again had a torrid time against spin (Bell still didn’t play) and ended up well short of a competitive target. The bowlers did better this time; Tim Bresnan conceded only forty runs off his ten overs and Steven Finn had another good match, taking 3-45 off his ten. They never had a defensible target, however, and India could get the runs off the other bowlers. India won with ten overs to spare, in a familiar thrashing.

I only watched part of the men’s match. There are only so many times one can watch such a one sided match (at least when one’s side is on the losing end) and I had only had two and a half hours of sleep anyway. But I’m a bit disappointed that the women’s match was not broadcast anywhere that I could find. Even Cricinfo’s live updates were minimalist. I know that there’s not a lot of demand for it, but England have a very good women’s side (even if they seldom play Test matches) and it would have been quite nice to be able to at least listen to the match live. Two and a half years ago, just after England’s women won the World Cup, (for the third time, making them the single most successful England team in any sport) Claire Taylor wrote an article for the Telegraph about the need for coverage of the women’s game. It’s quite good and all the points are still relevant. There’s another reason why the England women’s side should get media coverage though: They are very good. They play cricket to a very high standard and it is always pleasant to watch good cricket. The broadcasters don’t seem to realise this.

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