Stuart Broad insisted England could cope with the spin-friendly pitches they will face when defending their World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka after a thumping loss to South Africa.
England fell 1-0 behind in a three-match “warm-up” series for this month’s World Twenty20 after a seven-wicket defeat by the Proteas at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.
Sent into bat, England could only manage 118 for seven — their third-lowest Twenty20 total. Opener Craig Kieswetter made 25 and the next best scores were the 18 not outs of both Twenty20 captain Broad and fellow lower order batsman Graeme Swann.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn was named man of the match for his one for 13 in four overs, but the fact South Africa spinners Johan Botha and Robin Peterson shared four wickets between them, several the result of poor shots, would have concerned the England management.
Eoin Morgan played on heaving across the line against Botha and Jos Buttler, hailed as one of England’s most promising batsmen, charged down the pitch before being bowled by left-armer Peterson.
“We didn’t play the spin especially well today. But we’ve got good players of spin in there,” Broad said. “‘Morgs’ is a fantastic player of spin. We’ve seen him dominate it in the past — it just didn’t come off for us today.”
“Jos Buttler in training hits the ball further than anyone. We want guys to have the freedom to go for that boundary option. You don’t want to curb that enthusiasm too much,” Broad added ahead of today’s match in Manchester.
“I think it was quite a good wicket to bowl spin on, because the ball didn’t really come on. The advantage they [South Africa] then had when batting was that they didn’t have to take a risk against Swanny,” he said.
England are heading to Sri Lanka without Kevin Pietersen, man of the tournament when they won the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean two years ago, as the star batsman’s international exile continues following his banishment after sending “provocative texts” to South African players earlier in the season.
One man England had hoped could help make up for Pietersen’s absence was Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara.
However, his run of low scores continued on Saturday when he was out for six in all too familiar fashion, caught at slip pushing tentatively outside off stump against Steyn.
In four innings during the preceding drawn one-day series against the Proteas, Bopara managed scores of 16, nought, six and nought, with his medium-pace bowling now his main trump card. “Ravi’s struggled the last couple of weeks, but he’s working very hard on putting that right,” said Broad, one of eight survivors from England’s victorious 2010 squad heading to Sri Lanka. “We hope Ravi can get back to that, because he’ll be an important player for us in Sri Lanka. ”
INDIA v New ZEALAND
AP, VISAKHAPATNAM, India
Yuvraj Singh’s return to international cricket after recovering from cancer has been put on hold after the first Twenty20 game between India and New Zealand was washed out without a ball being bowled on Saturday.
Continuous rain left umpires with no option, but to call the game off at 8:30pm, 90 minutes after the scheduled start at Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Stadium.
The second and final game of the series will be played in Chennai tomorrow. This series is being seen as preparation for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka from Sept. 18 and for Oct. 7.