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Joe Root, Sam Billings and Tom Curran enjoy productive England warm-up outing

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Published in Cricket
Saturday, 21 November 2020 08:04

Team Buttler 255 (Root 77, Billings 52, T Curran 4-25) beat Team Morgan 205 (Woakes 55, Gregory 3-18) by 50 runs

England began preparations for their white-ball series against South Africa with a 40-over intra-squad game at Newlands in which all 23 players in the touring party enjoyed a run-out. The team led by vice-captain Jos Buttler prevailed, their 50-run win built on the foundations of a century partnership between Joe Root and Sam Billings.

Root, who is only part of the ODI squad, quickly found his form after a two-month break from the game with a run-a-ball 77, as he and Billings lifted Team Buttler from 88 for 3. They were eventually bowled out in the 40th over, with Tom Curran taking 4 for 25 in his 6.1 overs.

In their response, Team Morgan slipped to 102 for 6 before a stand of 79 between Chris Woakes and Tom Curran added a level of respectability to the encounter. The wickets were shared around, with Jofra Archer bowling a tight opening spell, Lewis Gregory claiming three-for and Olly Stone bowling quickly in taking 1 for 27 from his six overs.

England had pressed ahead with their scheduled warm-up game despite South Africa cancelling a similar fixture due to a second positive Covid-19 test in their camp. Buttler won the toss and elected to bat first at Newlands, where the first T20I will be staged on Friday.

Early wickets for Reece Topley, Mark Wood and Tom Curran kept Team Buttler in check before Root and Billings produced a stand of 103 inside 14 overs. Billings struck sixes off Moeen Ali and Jake Ball on the way to a sparky 52 from 44 balls, but the Team Buttler innings fell away at the death.

Wood claimed 3 for 48 from seven overs - the most by any bowler involved - while Curran proved difficult to get away on a slow surface as his four-for wrapped up the innings.

Scoring quickly proved a challenge in the second innings, too, and Team Morgan were soon behind the required rate. Eoin Morgan's 20 was the highest score among the top six, as Archer and Sam Curran struck during new-ball spells and then Root's part-time spin tempted Ben Stokes into a mishit down the ground. Woakes crunched 55 from 41 before being stumped off Adil Rashid and Gregory cleaned up the tail with 4.1 overs left unbowled.

England will next play back-to-back T20 warm-up games in Paarl on Monday, before returning to Cape Town ahead of start of the three-match T20I series.

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