With only 33 deliveries being bowled in the washed out first ODI in Cardiff, England and South Africa will once again be head to head in the second of the five matches in Southampton on Tuesday.
The absence of Kevin Pietersen has come as a new lease of life for Ian Bell, who is trying to resurrect his limited-overs career. His fast-paced 26 on Friday has come on the back a series of good scores (4, 69, 75, 41) in England's 4-0 whitewash over Australia recently. He has blended his sound technique with attacking instincts so that he can be as good in the shorter versions as he is in Test cricket. With captain Alastair Cook anchoring the innings at one end, the onus will be on Bell to get his side off to a flying start.
Barring Jonathan Trott, who takes a little longer to get his eye in than his peers, the middle order, comprising Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan and Craig Kieswetter, is capable of changing gears when required. England also bat deep, with Tim Bresnan, Chris Woakes and Graeme Swann capable of using the long handle.
Dean Elgar, the 25-year-old South Africa batsman, will be watched closely as he could hardly show his skills in his debut game in Cardiff. The left-hander is said to be good technically as his List A record, 2653 runs in 88 matches with a modest average of 39, suggests that he could be a grinder at No. 3.
Like England, South Africa's middle order too has stroke-makers in the form of captain AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis. And just like the hosts, the presence of bowling allrounders - Ryan McLaren, Wayne Parnell and Robin Peterson – gives more depth to the visitors’ batting.
With dark clouds once again expected to hover over the Rose Bowl Stadium for the most part on Tuesday, pacers on both the sides are bound to get plenty of assistance. The hosts have had a good run at this venue in the last few matches, winning four of their last five encounters here.
After losing the No. 1 status in Tests, England’s numero uno position in ODIs too is on the line if South Africa inflict defeats on the hosts in the upcoming matches. And with weather permitting, a win here will give the visitors headway for the rest of the series.
South Africa: Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Dean Elgar, AB de Villiers (capt & wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Ryan McLaren, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Morne Morkel, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
England: Alastair Cook (capt), Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Craig Kieswetter (wk), Tim Bresnan, Chris Woakes, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn