Thursday, 18 August
At the first drinks break between the Proteas and England at Chester-le-Street on Tuesday, the umbrellas came out with the refreshments to give the fielding home side a reprieve from the sun.
Rassie van der Dussen and Janneman Malan, batting at the time, hydrated and carried on.
The temperature, at one stage, reached 36 degrees Celsius, making it a hugely important toss to win as the Proteas carded 333/5 from their 50 overs and went on to win by 62 runs.
Van der Dussen, with a sublime knock of 134 (117), was the hero, hitting just 10 boundaries in his innings as he batted for three hours and showed incredible concentration and fitness with his running between the wickets world-class.
Speaking after the match, Van der Dussen acknowledged that the scorching heat – there was also a heavy wind – had made batting difficult, but that the Proteas had handled the conditions better.
“It was pretty hot. I think it was mid-30s, but for us coming from back home, it wasn’t too bad,” said Van der Dussen.
“We had just had a tour in India, obviously, which was a lot worse, but it was pretty hot.
“We could see the toll it took on the English players, so fielding first was a good toss to win in that regard. For us, it wasn’t too bad.”
While the Proteas were raring to go, England had just completed a three-match ODI series against India on Sunday and Van der Dussen wondered how much that had impacted the hosts on the day.
“They’ve been playing a lot of cricket and we could see that today,” said Van der Dussen.
“It was obviously very hot, and it just looked like we were a bit more up for it.”
Van der Dussen also provided some perspective on what the Durham conditions would equate to back in South Africa.
“I would say it was like Bloemfontein size-wise, and maybe the same temperature with a little bit more wind,” he said.
“There wasn’t a lot of bounce out there today and you had to play with a straight bat because it was starting to stay low.
“With the wind, it was also difficult to hit sixes on one side, so we pretty much had 25 overs with no sixes possible. We had to accumulate runs rather than bludgeon it. I ran a lot.”
The second ODI takes place in Manchester on Friday, where cooler weather is expected.
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