England set South Africa 172 for victory

England could not recover from a dreadful start and folded for 171 in 45.4 overs in a World Cup Group B match against South Africa on Sunday.

Opening the bowling, South Africa’s left-arm spinner Robin Peterson (3-22) wrecked the English top order, claiming two wickets in his first over.

The 99-run fourth-wicket partnership between Jonathan Trott (52) and Ravi Bopara (60) in 25-odd overs somewhat arrested the slide but England never got going.

Smarting from the defeat by Ireland in their previous match, England captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and decided to bat first but a nightmare unfolded before his eyes at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

His South African counterpart Graeme Smith opened with Peterson, whose magical first spell — three wickets for four runs — wrecked England’s top order.

Peterson’s third delivery drew out the scoreless Strauss, who wanted to clear midwicket but instead watched AB de Villiers dart from long on to take a well-judged catch.

Three balls later, Kevin Pietersen (2) joined Strauss in the pavilion, having edged one to Jacques Kallis in the slip.

Peterson returned to send down a maiden over before catching Ian Bell off his own bowling to reduce England to 15-3 inside five overs.

Trott and Bopara gamely hung on but could not break the shackles and the lower order batsmen could not do much either as England lost their last five batsmen for 23 runs. – Reuters

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