After South Africa levelled the series at the Wanderers on Friday, Kobus Pretorius picks five talking points ahead of the decider on Sunday at Newlands.
There can only be one
By bring back Chris Morris for the Wanderers ODI South Africa picked two all-rounders in their XI, the other one being David Wiese. This was almost exposed on Friday after the middle order failed and it was left to Morris and Wiese to save the game with the bat. In the end Morris did to show his mettle on the big occasion. His batting has improved and he is a better bowler and fielder than Wiese which should make him the first-choice all-rounder when choosing between the two.
South Africa got out of jail on Friday. Losing the game chasing 263 would have been like choking, even though England let the game slip by dropping three catches and missing a few run-outs. The Proteas should have won the game more comfortably, but the middle order was exposed because even though JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien did reasonably well, they should have done better. This was their chance to show they belong there but ultimately, they failed.
Imran Tahir had his best game of the series on Friday and it made a big difference to the team’s fortunes. Newlands should suit him even more. He takes a lot of pressure off AB de Villiers and the rest of the bowlers when he does well because it prevents De Villiers from having to use Duminy and Behardien with the ball. Tahir also took crucial wickets at the top of the innings instead of the tail which bodes well for the vital clash on Sunday.
Runs in vain
Joe Root has now scored two hundreds in a row in a losing cause for his team while Alex Hales has scored a fifty in every game of the series so far without kicking on for a big score. Perhaps England are relying too much on them to get the bulk of the runs. Hales needs to convert those fifties to hundreds and try and bat fir the bulk of the innings while England also need more consistency from Ben Stokes. He scored the fastest double hundred by an Englishman during the second Test at Newlands and with the series on the line he might be inspired to put on a similar show this time.
AB needs a big one
South Africa’s best batsman and the current ICC ODI Player of the Year has not been at his best on this tour with a highest score of 73 in the one-dayers so far. De Villiers also had mixed results in the Test series and nights like Friday are tailor made for him to guide the team to victory. Unfortunately he got run-out at the Wanderers but a big, dominating score from the captain would fill himself and the team with plenty of confidence ahead of the T20 series. South Africa also rarely lose a game where De Villiers dominates with the bat. The stage is set on Sunday.