Proteas coach Russell Domingo talks to Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock during a training session. Photo: Chris Ricco, BackpagePix

Proteas head coach Russell Domingo feels his squad is headed in the right direction following their seven-wicket win against England in the third One-Day International (ODI) at Lord’s in London on Monday.

The 2-1 series loss completes the squad’s ICC Champions Trophy match preparation ahead of their opening game of the tournament against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Saturday (11.30am start).

Although it was a dead rubber, the squad has shown progressive improvement since the disappointing loss in the first ODI at Headingley, and can build on the growing confidence which peaked with moments of brilliance at Lord’s on Monday.

Domingo hopes the players will take the positives from the series into the tournament. “Every international game has importance,” he said after the match at Lord’s on Monday.

“Whether we are 2-0 up or 2-0 down, we try to approach it with the same sort of intensity. There have been a lot of benefits and a lot of positives in the last two games that we can take through towards the Champions Trophy. I’m happy with the way things have panned out for us today.”

Domingo welcomed the return of Morné Morkel – playing his first ODI in over a year – who added strike power to a lethal pace attack led by man-of-the-match Kagiso Rabada (4/39) and Wayne Parnell (3/43).

“He (Morkel) only bowled four overs,” he said. “It’s a catch-22 situation; having Morné might strengthen our bowling, but it gives us a longer tail not having the three all-rounders.

Morné Morkel bowled four overs in his return from injury against England. Photo: Reuters

“He hasn’t played a one-day international in a while, it’s good to have him back. He has had a long injury, and a long layoff and the players who have played in his absence have done really well. I always felt it to be fair to them to give them first bite. Morné is a quality bowler, and it is great to have him back in the mix.”

Rabada, who has also found his rhythm and form as the series has progressed, is confident of the squad’s championship hopes after the emphatic end to the series. 

“We have really good players, amazing talents and experience as well,” he said.

“We have been playing good cricket, if we had won the game before, we would have won the series. To win this game will give us confidence, and I feel the team goes into the Champions Trophy feeling strong. We have great names, and if we play well, we can win this.”

Imran Tahir and David Miller will continue to be monitored throughout the week, but remain on course to be available for selection for the opening ICC Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

African News Agency (ANA)

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