Published: Wed, May 31, 2017
Sports | By Angel Morales

Eoin Morgan: England have learned lessons before Champions Trophy

Eoin Morgan: England have learned lessons before Champions Trophy

There was a lot of live, green grass on the wicket.

Jonny Bairstow helped lift the total over 150 but South Africa picked them off to win by seven wickets, though Morgan was keen to take positives from their 2-1 series win.

De Villiers was glad to have ended the ODI series on a high, and said: "It looks a lot better now, we had a lot to play for today and there were some encouraging signs".

England won the three-match series 2-1.

That allowed Jonny Bairstow to compile an excellent 51 off 67 balls. "We couldn't play shots like that early this morning", he added.

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He said: "I don't think that was a one-day global wicket".

No side in the history of one-day worldwide cricket has lost as many wickets in as few deliveries as England did here, after losing the toss.

They were subsequently bowled out for 153 in only 31.1 overs, before the tourists sealed victory in 28.5 either side of the lunch break in the third and final match of the series.

But a victory in the Champions Trophy, also in England, would go a long way to relieving the pressure that has built on South African teams during 19 years of near-misses and outright failures in global events - pressure that has seen South Africa labelled "chokers" due to their tendency to perform well in limited overs cricket but crumble in one-off knockout games. "Moeen has pulled up really well; Ben could have played, but it was another day off his feet, and the two bowlers that missed out could have played but it would have meant they were worn out again...and we didn't want that going into Thursday's game".

Bairstow, England's Test wicket-keeper who many believe should be in England's first-choice ODI side purely as a batsman, stopped the rot. "I'm very, very impressed by him".

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South Africa were the first winners of the Champions Trophy, then known as the ICC Knockout, in Bangladesh in 1998.

The development of Ben Stokes into a top-class allrounder has been key, but this is a side well-served by all-rounders - Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett could also fit in this category - meaning they bat deep and have plentiful bowling options.

"I got a bit excited there at the end - I thought we had it in the bag", said de Villiers. "Batting and running around the field and everything like that is fine. And, as we saw, he can hold his position in the team as a batter as well, so I'm sure he'll be there on Thursday".

The joint is not yet quite the topic of national conversation that Denis Compton's knee was when the England batting great was having injury problems in the 1950s and Durham star Stokes tried to play down concerns by saying Saturday: "It's just the bowling that's getting affected by my knee".

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