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South Africa play warm-up match ahead of ICC Champions Trophy

South African team played a practice match to get accustomed to the conditions in their own backyard

South Africa play warm-up match ahead of ICC Champions Trophy - Cricket News
Johan Botha's XI beat Jacques Kallis' XI in the practice match.
P Duminy provided the sublime touches and timing on a slow-paced wicket and Mark Boucher the power hitting as the Proteas stepped up their training camp with middle action at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Thursday.

For the record Johan Botha's XI beat Jacques Kallis' XI by four wickets with three overs to spare but the result in itself was of little consequence as the Proteas borrowed nine players from the bizhub Highveld Lions franchise to stimulate proper match conditions.

It was hard to believe that Duminy was having his first middle innings of what promises to be a very long summer. But his touch was there from the start as he reached his half-century at almost a run a ball before finishing with 68 off 78 balls with four boundaries.

What was particularly pleasing for coach Mickey Arthur was that both combinations had little trouble in putting 270 runs on the board under conditions which are likely to be repeated in most of the team's forthcoming limited overs engagements.

"The pitch was very slow which did not make conditions easy for the batsmen," commented Arthur. "I was very impressed with all our senior batsmen. Duminy looked as though he had never stopped playing from last season, AB de Villiers showed excellent intensity and Boucher confirmed what an outstanding power hitter he can be.

"Generally speaking I was very happy with what we got out of this game. The fact that we played on a slow pitch is no bad thing. I expect the pitches to be on the slow side for the start of the Champions' Trophy as it is being played very early in the season and we will get more of the same for other upcoming tournaments such as next year's ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean and the 2011 World Cup on the sub-continent."

Boucher broke the back of the target chase with his innings of 96 off 91 balls (four fours and three sixes) and the job was just about done when he was fifth man out with only 17 more runs required with overs to spare.

The Highveld Lions could also take much out of this game. Their resources were split between this match and a three-day friendly against the Nashua Dolphins and the main beneficiary of the Senwes encounter was Alviro Petersen (53 off 75 balls, 3x4) who last played for the Proteas in Bangladesh last year. Figures can be misleading as was proved by Friedel de Wet who is yet another fast bowling talent and a lot better than his return of 1/44 in seven.

There was also a heartening performance from Temba Bavuma, a member of last season's SA Schools and SA under-19 squads, who was not overawed by the occasion. "He looks a well organised cricketer," enthused Arthur.

Perhaps the best news of all for South Africa came from the practice nets where Graeme Smith had his first batting session against a cricket ball since his injury and hit his cover drives with the re-assuring crack of a shot gun going off.

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