| Graeme Smith
Birmingham: South Africa captain Graeme Smith freely admitted his side had played well below par in losing to England by four wickets in the triangular series day-nighter on Tuesday.
England reached a modest victory target of 199 with 11 overs to spare, captain Michael Vaughan and allrounder Andrew Flintoff both scoring fluent half-centuries.
“I don’t think you can just say we weren’t good enough on the day — I think we played badly,” Smith said. “We got off to a reasonable start but didn’t capitalise on it. A couple of good catches stuck for England and on another day they go for four. But we lacked a plan with our bowling.
“We’ve been so good in the last few games but Tuesday, perhaps because we felt we needed a wicket every ball, we weren’t patient enough. At 30 for three we needed to build pressure with Flintoff coming in and we weren’t able to do that,” he said.
The result meant little in terms of the tournament itself as both sides had already qualified for Saturday’s final at Lords. Despite this, Smith said defeat was still hard to stomach.
“It’s no less bitter. The only reason that it could be better is that we’ve got just under a week to learn from it. Again, we can go back and put things right. We’ve been superb up until this, but here we lost the plot again. Not badly — we can get it back and still put England under pressure in the final by playing some very decent cricket,” Smith said.
The England captain was all praise for his young pacer, Michael Vaughan, who broke the back of the Proteas batting with his four for 38.
Anderson’s four wickets, included three for one run off nine deliveries.
“You go for 19 in one over and end up with four for 38,” Vaughan laughed afterwards.
Boje has surgery
Nicky Boje has had surgery after he tore his left fibula and ruptured ligaments after falling awkwardly in Tuesday’s match.
Boje, on as substitute for Martin van Jaarsveld, turned his ankle while fielding during the match against England. He immediately signalled for assistance and was carried from the field before being taken to hospital.
Boje, 30, lost his place in the team to unorthodox left-arm spinner Paul Adams in the nine-wicket win over Zimbabwe in Cardiff Saturday.
He was not included in the squad for South Africa’s five-match Test series against England which starts later this month at Edgbaston. Boje was due to fly home on Sunday although surgery could delay his return.