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England v South Africa: second ODI – live!

Hello world!

Welcome to The Further Adventures of Englishmen and South Africans Attempting to Hit Themselves Into Form by Next Week Sometime. The first attempt did the trick for some of them, and was for the most part rather stirring, though it fizzled out a bit towards the end. Surely the very worst case scenario when it comes to today’s action is that it will be broadly similar. We should be getting a 7/10 for sporting fun at the very minimum, which is not something that can be said with any great confidence of, say, the Cup final (just as well as cricket-watchers are likely to miss some or all of it).

Simon will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s our news-story-slash-preview with some glad tidings concerning Ben Stokes’ left knee:

Ben Stokes will be fit to play against South Africa in the second ODI in Southampton on Saturday. It is an indication of Stokes’ status that a gaggle of newshounds kept a constant eye on him throughout a long training session, in which he did little bowling. At one point Stokes was batting right-handed and missing the ball on purpose in order to give Jos Buttler some wicketkeeping practice and we were all dutifully transfixed.

Stokes is a totemic figure and England want him involved whenever possible. On Thursday night he had a scan which did not reveal any serious damage. On Friday morning with his knee carefully bandaged he spent a long time batting. Then we were informed he was fit, able to bowl and playing. So England have resisted the temptation to wrap him in cotton wool even though the Champions Trophy is just around the corner. The medics must be confident that he is fine and there is no doubt Stokes is eager for the fray.

Related: Ben Stokes fit to play for England in second ODI against South Africa

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