England will be aiming to bounce back from their Test series defeat against South Africa this week when the ODI series gets underway, as Ladbrokes report a new free bets offer to use and plenty of support for South Africa as the Kevin Pietersen – Andrew Strauss furore continues to overshadow the series.
It was South Africa that confirmed their place at the top of the Test rankings with a 2-0 series win and they fully deserved their success.
England are still top of the ODI rankings though and after the 4-0 series win over Australia earlier this summer, they are the team to beat at the moment. Since taking over the captaincy, Alastair Cook has led the team superbly well.
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The impressive performances against Australia were without Kevin Pietersen too of course, so not too much will be made of the fact that he hasn’t been selected despite making himself available.
England have won games without him and they will hope to do so again. This is the final series of the English summer and Cook’s men will want to give the home fans something to cheer about. Momentum going into the winter is important too.
In terms of the men that did make it into the squad, Ravi Bopara comes back in after a break from cricket for personal reasons, while Jonny Bairstow is likely to play a central role after impressing at Lords this week.
As far as South Africa are concerned, they want more success in England. The Test series was their priority on this tour, but this doesn’t mean they will be taking the ODI matches lightly.
Starting at Cardiff on Friday, they will want to show what they are made of in the 50-over game, a format that they have been hit and miss in during the last couple of years with a disappointing World Cup last year.
Despite this, they are the second best team in the world as far of the rankings are concerned and as the two best teams around go head to head once again, it should be a thrilling series.
The ever important first ODI gets underway from 2pm on Friday afternoon.