South Africa A vs England – Live Match Coverage

Joe Denly scored his first century for England in their final warm-up match before the Boxing Day Test in South Africa as the tourists posted 337-5.


Denly, 33, has passed 50 five times in 19 Test innings but reached his maiden ton for his country – all be it in a friendly against South Africa A – off 188 balls with 15 fours.

The three-day game in Benoni was originally meant to be a first-class fixture but has been downgraded due to concerns over illness in the England camp.

Denly (103) is one of the players who has been feeling under the weather but recovered sufficiently to take part in the game, unlike bowlers Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Jack Leach.

The trio’s absence, due to flu-like symptoms, has forced England’s selectors to call up Somerset pair Craig Overton and Dom Bess ahead of the first Test next week.

Overton and Bess have just returned from training camps – in Cape Town and Mumbai respectively – and will arrive on Saturday to cover the stretched seam and spin departments.

Denly’s innings came to an end shortly before stumps when he was run out late after a call from Ollie Pope, who struck a fluent 70 not out.

But the home side’s fielding was otherwise sloppy.

Opener Rory Burns was the first to be dropped, a fingertip effort going down at slip when he had 41 of his 56 runs. Joe Root and Ben Stokes were both grassed at deep midwicket by Rudi Second but Root edged his very next delivery to slip to go for 12.

Stokes received his first life on 13 and enjoyed another at fine leg on 46. In between, there were a handful of powerful blows but he eventually fell to a well-judged catch from Dane Piedt for 47.

South Africa A were missing one of their Test contingent, Temba Bavuma ruled out of both this and the Boxing Day Test with a hip problem, but they did have all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo in their ranks.

He took each of the first two wickets to fall, pegging back Dom Sibley’s off stump after a careful 22, then seeing off Burns after lunch thanks to a superb catch from Kyle Verreyne.

England will continue to assess Broad, Archer and Leach with a view to them playing some part over the weekend, but any workload is likely to be lighter than they would like so close to a series opener.

Watch the first Test between South Africa and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7am on Boxing Day.

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