England, after registering a four-wicket victory over South Africa in the third one-dayer, have brought some sanity to the five-match ODI series. With the series now levelled 1-1, England would like to keep the momentum going in the fourth ODI at Lord's on Sunday.
England's decision of including Jade Dernbach in the side worked in their favour as he and James Anderson shared seven wickets between them. Another interesting aspect of the home team’s Oval win was that they reclaimed the No.1 status back from South Africa and would not like to lose it so soon.
English bowlers were the architects of that series-leveling win and the gamble of including Dernbach and James Tredwell paid off. Even without Graeme Swann, England's bowling with a mix of pace and spin looks balanced, add to that bits-and-pieces fifth bowler options at Alastair Cook’s disposal.
So far what is ailing England is their top order batting with skipper Cook himself struggling against the South African pace attack. On the other hand, South Africa are a much stronger side, be it in any department, indicating that the Oval horror show could be just one off.
Hashim Amla has been their batting mainstay and in the second ODI, he single-handedly took the match away from England by scoring a fluent 150 off 124 balls, even though he failed in the second ODI. Apart from Amla, the rest of the batsmen are getting starts but not able to convert into big scores - especially the likes of AB de Villiers and JP Duminy.
On the bowling front, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell and Robin Peterson have been consistent for South Africa. But they are experimenting to find out another new ball partner for Morkel if ever Dale Steyn has to miss out. Ryan McLaren has been tried but without much success, because of which Steyn was recalled in the last match after being rested for the first two ODIs.
It is highly unlikely that England will change their winning combination and South Africa as discussed earlier may alter their bowling set up and bring in legspinner Imran Tahir in place of Lonwabo Tsotsobe
England: 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Craig Kieswetter, 7 Samit Patel, 8 James Tredwell, 9 James Anderson, 10 Steve Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach
South Africa: 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Graeme Smith, 3 Dean Elgar, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Faf du Plessis, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Wayne Parnell, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe/Imran Tahir