The smart money was always on an England Lions victory over the Gauteng Invitation XI in their tour match at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto Campus Oval on Wednesday, but rain ultimately saved the hosts.
Resuming on 43 for three in their second innings, England A captain Jonathan Trott went shopping for runs, scoring a confidence-boosting 79 not out before declaring shortly after lunch on 176 for five, leaving
Gauteng with an impossible target of 441, but, more pertinently, with 55 overs to survive.
Seven of the eight English bowlers used in the afternoon then took a wicket as Gauteng crashed to 120 for eight in 42 overs, before a Highveld thunderstorm came to their rescue.
It was another disappointing batting performance from a team which is largely made up of players in the Gauteng semi-professional programme, with Yaseen Valli (22), Bradley Dial (35) and Brian Barnard (18) the only batsmen to reach double-figures.
Apart from Trott looking solid, the fact that Sam Billings managed to score 53 retired and that leg-spinner Adil Rashid took two for 14 in eight tidy overs will also please the England Lions management.
They were also able to see pace bowlers Matt Dunn and Craig Overton, and off-spinner Adam Riley in action for a few overs in the second innings.
Matthew Arnold claimed two for 24 in 12 overs in a much-improved display in the England Lions second innings, while left-arm quick Cormi le Roux looked like someone who would not be out of place in first-class cricket.
The tourists now travel to the Cape, where they will play South Africa A in the first four-day ‘test’ in Paarl from Sunday.