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Neil Fairbrother: Looking forward to South Africa
Article posted: 15 December 2015

It would be great to go one up in Durban and I think this is England’s best chance to win in South Africa since Michael Vaughan’s team in 2004/2005.

- Neil Fairbrother

England bounced back brilliantly after the loss in the first ODI and what struck me most was the continuation of the aggressive, positive manner of cricket that the one-day teams played with during the summer come out again.

That was demonstrated in no little part in the bold decision, during the last game of the tour, to give Chris Jordan the pressure of bowling the super over in the last T20.

It was the decision of a captain who not only knows the character of his team-mates but their individual skill sets. Morgan was quoted as saying that Jordan was our best Yorker bowler and once we decided that Yorkers were the way to go he was the man.

A daring decision as Jordan hadn’t bowled well in the death overs of the Pakistan innings.

Of course the most eye-catching moment in any of these games was the sparkling return to form of Jos Buttler who had a match-winning 49 not out in the third match before his memorable 116 off 52 in the fourth to break his own record and set a new mark of a century in 46 balls.

It’s hard to get the sense of just how hard Jos was hitting the ball from watching on the TV but Paul Collingwood said afterwards that it was the best display of hitting he had ever witnessed first-hand and Colly has seen a fair bit.

From an ISM perspective our boss Chubby Chandler and Lee Westwood were in the crowd and thoroughly enjoyed their few hours away from the golf course watching Jos smash it to all corners.

Another ISM highlight was the performance of James Vince in all three of the T20 internationals where he played a major part in all three wins, particularly game three when he batted more or less through the innings and helped get England to a winning score.

He looked calm, composed and a mighty fine player on his first batting outings for his country. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of James.

The T20 wins especially will give the team even more confidence as we head into 2016 and the next T20 World Cup in India during March.

South Africa come in off a beating in the Subcontinent and so are we. Their bowling attack, like ours, is predominantly seam-based and first impressions are whichever batting unit copes better against high-quality pace bowling might well come out on top in this series.

It would be great to go one up in Durban and I think this is England’s best chance to win in South Africa since Michael Vaughan’s team in 2004/2005.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and, like the rest of you, I’m looking forward to the Boxing Day Test match.

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