Somerset’s Craig Overton had a limited run-out with the ball for England Lions yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) in the opening game of their South African tour before an electrical storm brought proceedings to an early finish.
The Lions went into the game against a Gauteng Invitational XI at the University of Johannesburg ground in Soweto with the team they expect to field in the first of two unofficial Tests against South Africa A.
That meant that Craig, Surrey’s Matt Dunn and Kent’s Adam Riley all missed out on a place in the starting XI to the more experienced Liam Plunkett, Jack Brooks, Boyd Rankin, Adul Rashid and Mark Wood.
However as this wasn’t a first-class game, Lions captain Jonathan Trott was able to make substitutions and gave Craig his first opportunity of the tour to impress in the final session on day three.
The Devon-born all-rounder got through four overs, one of which was a maiden and conceded just nine runs before the match was abandoned as a draw for safety reasons with an electrical storm approaching fast, with Gauteng 120-8, half an hour before the scheduled close.
The first game against South Africa A starts in Paarl on Sunday.
Lions skipper Trott, who scored an unbeaten 79 yesterday, told ecb.co.uk: “I think we had a really good hit-out as a team, everyone got a go, we got what we needed and we’re looking forward to Cape Town.
“I’m feeling really good. It’s nice obviously to get some runs today and go to Cape Town with a bit of confidence and hopefully continue that in Paarl.”
Yesterdays electrical storm was not the first time this Lions tour has been hit by the weather.
Speaking before the game at Soweto, Craig told the Somerset CCC website: “Everything is all good out here. We arrived yesterday (Friday 2 January) early on and had the morning off to recover from the flight.
“In the afternoon we had a light session where we had a stretch and did some jog throughs.
“Today (Saturday 3 January) we had the morning off then had training in the nets this afternoon, however there was a heavy thunderstorm which put paid to that, and we ended up in the indoor school at the Wanderers Stadium.
“All I did was to get through my bowling action again and then had a hit. It wasn’t a heavy session as that comes tomorrow!”
Craig went on: “Looking towards the first warm up game against a South African Invitation XI at Soweto it’s all about preparation towards the First Test Match starting on 11 January in Paarl.”
He added: “My role will be pretty similar to what it is at Somerset where I will bowl first change and bat around eight or nine and try and score a few valuable late order runs.”
- Gauteng Invitational XI v England Lions scorecard: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/737425.html