England XI 368 for 7 (Taylor 116, Bairstow 58) beat South Africa A 205 (de Bruyn 73*, Topley 3-38) by 163 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
James Taylor gets a handshake for his hundred from Jonny Bairstow © Getty Images
James Taylor scored a run-a-ball 116 to anchor the England XI against a South Africa A attack devoid of control and ensure the visitors posted a total which left their hosts in the shade. A combined effort from Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid and Reece Topley, who took three-wickets apiece, then blotted the sun out completely for South Africa A. The senior side will hope that is not a sign of things to come, especially as South Africa will probably have to call on some members of the A side for the five-match campaign.
The South Africa selectors will add bowlers to the current squad on Sunday after Dale Steyn was ruled out with a shoulder injury but none of Hardus Viljoen, Marchant de Lange or David Wiese made a case for inclusion.
They were all wayward in their opening spells and allowed Jason Roy and Alex Hales to race to 49 off the first eight overs. They clawed their way back when Roy was given out lbw off Wiese and Hales was caught off a leading edge from a delivery by de Lange to leave England 55 for 2, but South Africa A’s ability to make incisions was short-lived. An 80-run partnership between captain Eoin Morgan and Taylor took England away from danger by the halfway stage.
Morgan was fluent against everyone except Wiese, who eventually accounted for him when he took a good catch moving to his left in his follow-through, while Taylor was particularly severe on left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso. Taylor rebuilt after Morgan’s dismissal and allowed Moeen Ali to take over as aggressor before Moeen’s enthusiasm got the better of him. He was run out in the 30th over but by then Taylor was set. His fifty came off 56 balls and he was well-placed to push England to a sizeable score.
Jos Buttler helped post 51 for the fifth wicket, from just 43 balls, but it was only when Jonny Bairstow arrived in the 38th over that England got away from South Africa. Bairstow opened the floodgates with a six off de Lange – the first of six such blows – and Taylor raised his bat to three figures shortly after as England got stuck into their assault on the last ten overs.
They scored 127 runs between overs 40 and 50 and even when Taylor was dismissed the finishers were on hand to punish South Africa’s seamers – Jordan enhancing his claims for an ODI recall by smashing 33 not out from 14 balls. Viljoen and de Lange conceded 69 runs each in their 10 overs, young Andile Phehlukwayo cost the same in nine overs and Wiese leaked 73 runs. Not even the usually economical Phangiso could hold an end. He ended up as the most expensive bowler all told, leaking 57 runs off seven overs.
With a score in excess of 350 to chase, South Africa A were out of the match by the 11th over of their innings as they tumbled to 50 for 4, with Jordan snapping up three catches at slip. Promising Titan’s batsman Theunis de Bruyn and discarded Test keeper Dane Vilas shared a 73-run fifth-wicket partnership before Jordan claimed his first as a bowler, Vilas chopping on.
Wiese put up some resistance with de Bruyn but when he was dismissed, there was a domino effect. South Africa A lost their last five wickets for 33 runs and were dismissed in the 31st over to give England plenty of confidence ahead of the first ODI on Wednesday.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo