LITESPORT ENGLANDS remarkable transition from no-hope bumblers to ruthless win- ners continued at a stunned Centurion lastnightwhentheycrushedthelifeout of SouthAfricaandrefusedtolettheir cramp-sufferingcaptainGraemeSmith use a runner. Among a sell-out 19,000 fans at the SuperSport Stadium, life became diffi- cult for those bold few waving the cross of St George when, with 69 runs required from the final six overs, England captain Andrew Strauss sent Smiths little helper scuttling back to the pavilion. Boos and worse spread around the ground as South Africas bid to chase down Englands glorious 323-8, their best-ever against the hosts which included a record 12 sixes, fizzled out. The wilting Proteas eventually managed 301-9 off 50overstheirbest-everone- day score batting second and England, yes England, becamethefirstsidethrough to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy with a 22-run win almost as unex- pected as Fridays triumph over Sri Lanka. While angry South Africans grumbled off into the night, Smith hit out at the lack of sportsmanship. Theworldisround and it is going to come back again at some point of his cap- taincy, he said. ButStrausswasfarfromapolo- getic about Smith, who ended with a career-best but ultimately pointless 141 as the hosts crashed out of the competition. At one point he was laying flat-out, requiring treatment from the physios as cramp took hold. And his running, if not his batting, was certainly hamstrung. But England didnt appear to care one bit, with Johannesburg-born Strauss saying: Graeme wanted a runner because he felt he had cramp. The umpires werent all that comfortable with giving him a runner either. When youve got a hundred you get tired and so we didnt feel it was one of those things where we would give him a runner. But this was not a night to focus too hard on Smiths misery. As Strauss said: This is probably the best I have ever seen England bat. And it may just have seen the coming of age of Middlesex pair Eoin Morgan and, belatedly, Owais Shah. Shah, harshly ridiculed by local fans when he dropped Smith on 82, will have been warmed by memories of his six sixes in an innings which was cut short byasinglepoorshotat98whileMorgan, Irelandsgreatestcricketingexport,was simply dazzling with an innings of 67 which contained every shot in the book. And Paul Collingwood, the guy who could barely hit the ball off the square in the one-day series against Australia, crashed the South African spinners all over the ground for 82, producing a best-ever third wicket partnership against South Africa with Shah. Strauss,probablyinshockliketherest of us as the worlds best one-day team failed to keep his side in check, said: Owais played a gem of a knock, it was incredible the number of sixes he hit. Paul came in and you saw the way he playedthespinnersandthenEoincame in at the end and did his thing. Its the best Ive ever seen us bat, the way the guys played their shots. London Lite Monday, 28 September 2009 47 Rotation is one way to test squad ENGLAND are to increase their recent rotation policy over the coming 12 months with leading players likely to be rested for the Test series in Bangladesh. With next summer beginning an intense year, which includes the 2010-11 Ashes defence and the World Cup, there is a need to ensure the leading players are as fresh as possible for key events. Captain Andrew Strauss, Paul Collingwood (above) and James Anderson have all been rested by England since the 2-1 Test victory over Australia last month. Given the schedules we have to prioritise what we are doing, said England managing director of cricket Hugh Morris. We have to say that global events are obviously a big priority, the Ashes is a big priority, and India and South Africa series. GROUP A P W L RR PTS PAKISTAN 2 2 0 +1.6 4 AUSTRALIA 1 1 0 +1 2 INDIA 1 0 1 -1.08 0 WEST INDIES 2 0 2 -1.5 0 GROUP B P W L RR PTS ENGLAND 2 2 0 +0.51 4 SRI LANKA 3 1 2 -0.085 2 NEW ZEALAND 2 1 1 -0.129 2 SOUTH AFRICA 3 1 2 -0.177 2 Top two teams into semis on 2/3 October. Final to be played on 5 October CHAMPIONS TROPHY FIXTURES 22 Sep: South Africa vs Sri Lanka Sri Lanka won by 55 runs (D/L) 23 Sep: Pakistan vs West Indies Pakistan won by 5 wickets 24 Sep: South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa won by by 5 wickets 25 Sep: Sri Lanka vs England England won by 6 wickets 26 Sep: West Indies vs Australia Australia won by 50 runs India vs Pakistan Pakistan won by 54 runs Yesterday: New Zealand vs Sri Lanka New Zealand won by 38 runs South Africa vs England England won by 22 runs Today: Australia vs India SuperSport Park, Centurion Tomorrow: England vs New Zealand New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg Wed: Australia vs Pakistan SuperSport Park, Centurion India vs West Indies New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg All games live on Sky Sports Strauss cramps style of best One-Day side Tricky Ricky: tough test today Its Ponting towards an Australian victory IF Ricky Pontings Australia beat India, it will be Pakistan and Australia who progress to the semi- finals. The group will be done and dusted with two games to go. Things become more complex if India win. They will be in prime position due to their remaining game against a weakened West Indies and Australias fixture against an unbeaten Pakistan. However, should India and Australia either both win or both lose their last group game, net run-rate will be required to determine the semi-finalists. It means that theres a lot riding on this day-night encounter and neither team enters the match in peak form. India have the advantage of familiarity with the conditions at Centurion, where they lost to Pakistan on Saturday. Australia are coming off a win but it was a scratchy victory against an under-strength West Indies in the different conditions at the Wanderers. Its hard to predict a winner, though the bookies tip Australia. They will be most concerned about breaking Indias opening partnership early; Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar have troubled Ricky Pontings men in the past and Australias fast bowlers lacked penetration against West Indies. AUSTRALIA V INDIA GROUP A, 1.30PM (SKY SPORTS 1) Proteas in protest as England march on FROM NEAL COLLINS in South Africa crossthewavingfewboldthoseforcult runs69withwhen,GeorgeStof overs,sixfinalthefromrequired sentStraussAndrewcaptainEngland Smiths little helper scuttling back to worseandBoospavilion.the spread around the ground as South Africas bid to chase gloriousEnglandsdown best-evertheir323-8, whichhoststheagainst 12recordaincluded ProteaswiltingThe off301-9managedeventually one-best-evertheirovers50 secondbattingscoreday and England, yes England, throughsiderstfithebecame theofsemi-finalstheto awithTrophyChampions 22-run win almost as unex- pected as Fridays triumph SouthangryWhile offgrumbledAfricans into the night, Smith hit out at the lack of come back again at cap-hisofpointsome apolo-fromfarwasStraussBut endedwhoSmith,aboutgetic ultimatelybutcareer-bestawith crashedhoststheas141pointless oneAtcompetition.theofout flat-out,layingwashepoint thefromtreatmentrequiring physios as cramp took hold. And wasbatting,hisnotifrunning,his certainly hamstrung. But England didnt appear to care one bit, with Johannesburg-born Strauss saying: hebecauserunnerawantedGraeme werentumpiresThecramp.hadhefelt all that comfortable with giving him a runner either. When youve got a hundred you get tired and so we didnt feel it was one of those things where we would give him Neal Collins is in South Africa with Afriqiyah Airlines, the new, low cost carrier to Johannesburg. See www.afriqiyah.aero. Down and out: South Africas Graeme Smith is treated for cramp, but Andrew Strauss, inset, has no sympathy index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html48.html49.html50.html51.html52.html53.html54.html55.html