Cook & Lawrence Star in Lions Win


England Lions v South Africa

4-day Tour Match, The Spitfire Ground (Canterbury)



England Lions won by an innings and 56 runs

England Lions 672 (Duckett 145, Brook 140, Lawrence 97, Markram 6/91)
South Africa 433 (Zondo 86, Overton 5-74, Cook 1/67) and 183 (Markram 88*, Conners 4/25, Lawrence 1/14, Cook 0/41)


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Match Report:

Dan Lawrence and Sam Cook played leading roles as England Lions put a big dent in South Africa’s preparations for their upcoming Test Series against England.

After winning the toss, the South Africans unsurprisingly chose to bat on a flat Canterbury pitch and with a worn, rapid outfield.

Cook took the new ball alongside Ollie Robinson and produced the sort of opening spell that the Essex faithful have become accustomed to seeing in recent times. Despite not picking up any wickets in his opening spell, he was unerringly accurate and went at under 2 runs per over as South Africa’s opening partnership of Sarel Erwee and Dean Elgar couldn’t get him away.

South Africa suffered a collapse either side of Lunch on the first day as Craig Overton used his height to extract some life from the pitch, but Khaya Zondo and Kyle Verreynne led a fight back as they finished the day on 282-6.

Cook was again trusted with the ball at the beginning of Day Two and with England Lions in need of a breakthrough. He duly delivered by nipping one back to smack into the top of off stump as Zondo, on 86, offered no stroke.

The South African tail wagged as England’s spinners were targeted, however, their final score of 433 was soon to be overshadowed when it came to England’s turn with the bat in hand.

Lawrence’s naturally attacking strokemaking was to the fore as the Lions did a more than passable impression of ‘Bazball’ in piling on 672 in the first innings at a remarkable rate of 5.74 runs per over.

Coming in at number three, a problem spot for the national team in recent years, Lawrence hit a run-a-ball 97 which included 17 fours. He had the highest strike rate of any batter to score more than 50 runs and took England from 50-1 to 223-2 in just under 32 overs.

His innings set the tone for the Lions and eye-catching centuries from Harry Brook (140) and Ben Duckett (145) put the South African bowlers to the sword.

None of the bowlers were safe and a few selection headaches face the South African coaches ahead of the first test after seamer Marco Jansen finished with 1/111 from his 25 overs and spinner Keshav Maharaj coped the worst treatment, taking 1/169 in 22 overs.

Clearly worn by their time in the field, the South Africans offered little resistance in their second innings and folded for 183 to hand England Lions the victory by an innings and 56 runs.

After impressing in the first innings, Cook was given the new ball in the second and was unlucky not to add to his first-innings wicket as he got through 20 overs, more than any other England bowler.

Young Derbyshire seamer Sam Connors did the majority of the damage, taking 4/25 but there was one final moment of joy for the Essex pair, who combined for the wicket of Zondo. This time Lawrence was the bowler and Cook the catcher as Zondo top-edged a reverse sweep.