By Ryan Moran
- The Surrey batsman is suffering from back spasms in the lead up to the opening game.
- Kyle Abbott ruled out of the first ODI with a hamstring injury.
- The series begins in Bloemfontein on 2nd February.
Bloemfontein, South Africa- Injuries continue to scupper both team’s preparations for the five match series. Jason Roy is England’s latest casualty with a back problem.
With a distinct influence of test players in both teams, the whole squad is expected to be utilised over the five match series. The likes of Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel are likely to be rested as David Wiese and Marchant De Lange received late call ups to the South African side.
Stuart Broad was called up to the ODI side following injuries to firstly Steven Finn and then Liam Plunkett, the latter picking up a thigh strain while training with the Lions in the UAE. The fast bowler hasn’t featured in the shorter format since the team’s poor showing at the world cup last year.
The Three Lions found great success in their warm up game, James Taylor scoring a run-a-ball 116, as they beat South Africa A by 163 runs. Adil Rashid, fresh from Australia’s Big Bash League, took three wickets on his return after being excluded from the test side. Roy featured in the warm up game, opening the batting alongside Alex Hales (23) and scored 21.
Reece Topley and Chris Jordan also claimed three wickets at Kimberley in a bid for a place in the opening game in Bloemfontein. Jonny Bairstow again showed his stock with the bat, the fast scoring a trait the wicketkeeper exploited in the test series, scoring 58 off 30 balls. Bairstow’s form is keeping Jos Buttler out of the side and Buttler failed to match the Yorkshireman’s 58 as he made 20 off 21 balls.
Both De Lange and Wiese featured for the South Africa A side beaten by England. The former opened the bowling with the latter first change, both taking two wickets at around an economy of seven runs per over. With only six ODI appearances between them, the pair are relatively new to the international circuit with injuries to key players aiding their call up.
AB De Villiers captains the one-day side and on the recent tour of India showed his calibre with three centuries, Quinton De Kock reaching the 100 mark twice. Rabada will be key in the bowling attack, especially with Dale Steyn missing the series through injury. The 20-year-old took 10 wickets in the five game series with India and will hope to add more with the visit of England.
England’s middle order with the bat has never been doubted, the stalwarts of Taylor, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Bairstow pulling their side out of the mire on many occasions. This order is likely to be continued because of the great success it has given England, with an ODI series victory over Pakistan and taking Australia to the final game in the summer.
ODI series begins in Bloemfontein at 08:00 GMT on 3rd February.
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