England turn their attentions to South Africa A

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Football News

England swap Potchefstroom for Pietermaritzburg today, with thoughts turning to their second and final warm-up match against South Africa A.

The tourists settled for a damp draw in their opening tour game against an Invitational XI after a heavy thunderstorm engulfed Senwes Park two overs after lunch.

England had only just taken to the field for the second innings when the lightning struck, meaning their bowlers were denied two sessions of work.

While that will not concern James Anderson, who at 33 is happy to shoulder a reduced burden outside of Tests, or his new-ball partner Stuart Broad, others would have relished another chance in the middle.

The uncapped Mark Footitt, who took two wickets but lacked control on day one, and all-rounder Chris Woakes are both vying for one spot in the series opener on Boxing Day alongside fellow seamers Steven Finn and Chris Jordan, neither of whom played in Potchefstroom.

Batsman James Taylor, who hit the first century of the trip on Tuesday, is not too concerned about a lack of bowling in the group but admits a strong home side will raise the bar significantly from Sunday.

"We've had a nice little workout, these warm-up games are about everyone spending a bit of time out in the middle and hopefully having a few overs under their belt," he said.

"Unfortunately we couldn't get a few more overs into the bowlers but that's the way it is when you come to places like the Highveld and the weather kicks in.

"The tour is off and running and now we're looking forward to a tough challenge against South Africa A.

"The intensity is going to get ramped up in the next game, which is going to be a really good challenge."

England were dominant over moderate opponents for the first two days of their opener, but signed on the third morning by giving away seven wickets for just 91 runs.

It is not a collapse that will cause head coach Trevor Bayliss too many headaches given the handsome lead they had already built but Taylor has warned it must not be repeated.

"It's definitely a habit we need to get out of, you don't want to get into those habits of losing clumps of wickets and in the past that has happened," said the Nottinghamshire man.

"We're disappointed with how many wickets we lost in that first session but it happens, especially early in a tour, and it's a good thing for us to learn from - as long as we are learning from it and don't keep making those mistakes.

"The intensity is going to get ramped up in the next game against South Africa A, which is going to be a good challenge.

"But whatever opposition you're playing you don't want those collapses and for whatever reason it happened we've got to focus as a batting unit for that not to happen on this trip."


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