England defending unbeaten record

August 24, 2012
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Alastair Cook's England go into the five-match one-day series against South Africa defending an unbeaten record in the 50-over game in 2012.

Series whitewashes over Pakistan, West Indies and Australia have taken England to the top of the world rankings in 50-over cricket, but that position will be at stake when they take on the Proteas, just as it had been in the recent Test series.

England have won ten of their 12 ODIs in 2012, with the other two games having been lost to the weather, with the series opener in Cardiff on Friday under threat from forecast rain.

However, Cook, whose side are 2.00 to win the series, believes that there is more to come from his side, saying: "It's really encouraging that we've won two series this summer and one against Pakistan at the beginning of the year.

"But I feel in this side there are elements we can improve and there are people still finding their feet in certain roles.

"To win this series would be a really good effort against a very strong South Africa side. It would cap a really good one-day year for us."

Meanwhile, Cook's South African counterpart, AB de Villiers is expecting a tough test and has played down the importance of the Proteas' 2-0 Test series win over England, adding: "They'll feel refreshed and re-energised.

"Their ODI team is a totally different unit and I can't see them carrying a lot of scars from the Test series."

South Africa are 1.80 to win the five-match series, with De Villiers 4.75 to be his side's leading batsman.

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