Half-Centuries for Hashim Amla‚ Faf du Plessis and David Miller‚ and three wickets for Chris Morris were the highlights of South Africa’s victory in their tour match against Northamptonshire at the weekend.
The lowlight on Sunday was the absence of AB de Villiers‚ who also missed the first match of the tour against Sussex at Hove on Friday with a respiratory problem.
South Africa will want De Villiers back for the one-day series against England that starts at Headingley tomorrow‚ continues at The Rose Bowl on Saturday‚ and concludes at Lord’s on Monday next week.
All of which will serve as rehearsals for the real thing: the Champions Trophy‚ in which South Africa will play their first match against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Saturday next week.
That could be a challenging timeline for someone trying to shake off a bad case of the flu‚ and South Africans will hope hard that De Villiers does.
But‚ until now‚ De Villiers’ team have not needed him – they followed their 66-run win over Sussex with a closer but still convincing 13-run success in Northampton.
The South Africans overcame the loss of Quinton de Kock for a duck to the 11th ball of the match with a stand of 93 between Amla and Du Plessis‚ another of 74 between Miller and Farhaan Behardien‚ and a late‚ unbroken blast of 54 off 38 balls by Morris and JP Duminy.
Amla made 59‚ Du Plessis 50 and Miller 51‚ and there was a handy 33 from Behardien.
Those efforts earned the visitors a total of 275/7‚ and all that kept Northants in the chase after a decent beginning was a 43-ball 54 by 20year-old debutant Tom Sole‚ the home side’s No 9.
That followed opener Max Holden’s 55.
Morris took 3/36, with Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir claiming two wickets each in an improved bowling performance, in which only Dwaine Pretorius conceded more than a run a ball.