— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 13, 2016
Batting Coach Graham Thorpe says there is no time for England to feel sorry for themselves after South Africa snatched a dramatic victory in the fourth one-day international at the Wanderers to set up a series decider on Valentine’s Day.
Imran Tahir scored the winning runs as the Proteas snuck home by one wicket in Johannesburg, in a match Thorpe says both teams passed up chances to win.
The tourists now head to Cape Town with the series level at 2-2, despite having won the first two matches, but former left-hander Thorpe does not believe the hosts’ momentum will necessarily be decisive.
“Coming off the back of today it’s easy to say that South Africa have got the momentum,” Thorpe told ecb.co.uk.
“We’ve played two very good games to go 2-0 up, they’ve come back in the game at Centurion which they thoroughly deserved to win.
“Today, it was game almost where nobody wanted to win the game in many ways.
“We had a fantastic opportunity to win it and naturally when you let that slip it’s easy to think everything is going to slide away now, and it’s our job as coaches to make sure the players when they go out on Sunday realise it’s a great opportunity to win a one-day series in South Africa, rather than view it as we’re on the slide.
“We have to make sure that the guys are up for it in terms of clearing their heads; you have to give them a little bit of space after a game like today and let them digest it because at times we made errors out there today.”
Thorpe feels there is room for improvement in all disciplines, with Joe Root’s second consecutive century and a 95-run seventh-wicket stand with Chris Woakes rescuing England from a precarious 108 for six.
There were then dropped chances in the field, as well as a couple of missed run-outs, as Chris Morris hammered 62 from 38 balls to decide the contest.
Thorpe added: “The lads don’t need reminding of it – when we’re batting we slipped to 100 for six, we were 50 runs short comfortably today with our batting line-up – but Root played fantastically well again, Woakes with his partnership and Rashid as well chipping in got us to something where we could still win the game.
“I thought some of our bowlers really stood up today, took wickets, but we also made errors in the field and that really cost us.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 12, 2016
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves – that will be the key.
“I’ve played matches when we’ve had back-to-back one-day games and back-to-back Test matches and you’ve lost that first one and you just have to be able to dust yourself down, be a man and get up and deal with the next game because you do have a great chance to redeem everything that went on here tonight and that’s the way the lads have to view it.
“There is no time to have another net, and I wouldn’t think that a net would make any difference, actually I’m quite pleased that the game is coming on Sunday.”
Thorpe has long been involved in Root’s development, and the 46-year-old believes the Yorkshireman has proven himself as one of the world’s best players following his eighth ODI ton.
“He’s right up there in the best players in the world, if not the best player in the world,” he added. “He’s in great form, coming off the back of the hundred the other day, those energy levels were tested again here today and the mental resolve to get us to a total.
“He of all people will need probably some massage and just a day in the pool as well when he gets down to Cape Town.”