As warm-up matches go, the England Lions will be satisfied with their two days’ work so far.Everyone had a chance out in the middle against the Gauteng XI in Soweto on Tuesday, though some may have wanted longer, and the bowlers then ran through the invitational line-up with relative ease, conceding just 179 runs.
Resuming the day at 361-4, Alex Lees did not last long, adding just three runs to his overnight 82, but former England batsman Jonny Bairstow picked up the baton and went on to 62, at which point he had had enough and retired. It has been a long road for the 14-cap Bairstow, who made a name for himself against the Proteas in the final Test of 2012 at Lord’s, when he came in for Kevin Pietersen, dropped for his role in ‘textgate’. He scored 95 and 54 in a losing cause, but his rescue act had for a while threatened the Proteas’ drive to No 1 spot.
The Gauteng bowlers kept to the task, chipping away until the England Lions were bowled out for 443. Nono Pongolo ended with three for 70, and there were two apiece for speedster Keith Dudgeon and off-spinner Zaid Saloojee, who cleaned up the tail.
None of the local lads, however, were able to put up much resistance against the Lions attack, although Brian Barnard (39) and Pongolo (36) put on 65 for the seventh wicket against the likes of Test players Liam Plunkett and Boyd Rankin and leg-spinner Adil Rashid, capped five times in one-day internationals.
At stumps, the England Lions were 43-3.
They will play South Africa A in two four-day ‘Tests’ and in five ODIs.