Tom Curran held his nerve at the death as England levelled the Twenty20 series against South Africa in dramatic fashion at Kingsmead.

A high-scoring contest went down to the wire as the Proteas, chasing 205 to move into an unassailable 2-0 lead, needed three from the last ball - the same task England had failed to achieve in the opening game.

Once again, the bowling side managed to escape with the victory, Bjorn Fortuin only able to paddle a slower delivery from Curran to the hands of the back-pedalling Adil Rashid at short fine leg.

Having started the final over needing 15, Dwaine Pretorius followed up a six with a cover-driven four to reduce the equation to five off three.

A scampered two tipped the balance even further in favour of South Africa, yet Curran dismissed Pretorius lbw before deceiving new man Fortuin with a clever change of pace.

The finish was in keeping with an eventful game that ebbed and flowed throughout. England were indebted to a fast start and a devastating finish as they made 204-7, only for Quinton de Kock to produce a one-man onslaught during the powerplay.

South Africa's limited-overs captain had smashed eight sixes to make 65 from just 22 balls, the last of which saw him swing a high full toss from Mark Wood out to Ben Stokes on the deep midwicket boundary.

Temba Bavuma (31), David Miller (21) and Pretorius (25) made contributions and Rassie van der Dussen finished up unbeaten on 43, but the Proteas came up narrowly short.

England, meanwhile, live to fight another day, with the result setting up a winner-takes-all showdown at SuperSport Park on Sunday.

They had posted their sixth highest T20 total after being put into bat, despite losing the dangerous Jos Buttler for just two. Jason Roy followed up his knock of 70 on Wednesday with 40 at the top of the order, while Jonny Bairstow belted 35 from just 17 deliveries.

Yet it was Moeen Ali who played the crucial hand. Having arrived at the crease with the innings wobbling slightly at 125-5, he was the catalyst for a late blitz of boundaries that yielded 79 runs from the final five overs.

The all-rounder hit four sixes, including one extraordinary sliced drive over point from a Lungi Ngidi full toss, in an 11-ball knock of 39, while Stokes made his highest T20 score at international level as he finished on 47 not out.

England are likely to welcome back Manu Tuilagi for the crunch Six Nations clash with Ireland next week, but Anthony Watson remains out of action.

Centre Tuilagi remained with the England squad after suffering a groin injury in the opening defeat in France, although he did not feature as the Rugby World Cup finalists bounced back against Scotland.

The Leicester Tigers star should be able to feature at Twickenham a week on Sunday, though, head coach Eddie Jones revealed.

England face Ireland, who have won two matches from two so far - beating defending Grand Slam champions Wales last week - to join France at the top of the Six Nations table.

Alongside Tuilagi, England could be boosted by a return for Henry Slade, the 26-year-old having been out with an ankle injury since December.

"Manu is looking very good," Jones told Sky Sports News. "Very promising. He should be in full training by the start of next week.

"Henry Slade ran today and we've yet to get a medical report. It's definitely promising but too early to say whether he will be alright for Ireland or not."

However, Watson - another man, like Slade, yet to feature in the campaign - is still struggling with a calf injury picked up on the eve of the competition.

"Anthony Watson is still a couple of weeks away," Jones said.

Jamie George will continue playing at Saracens next season despite the club's demotion from the Premiership.

The English and European champions have been relegated to the Championship for breaching salary cap regulations, leading to uncertainty over the future of several of the club's star names.

England hooker George is one of several internationals plying their trade at Allianz Park, but he told Sky Sports he will continue to play for Saracens in the second tier.

"I'm pretty sure I'm staying," he said.

"The details of it I'm not too sure about, but I'll be staying at the club and using it for different purposes, but I'll certainly be playing some rugby next year."

George is the first player to publicly announce he is staying put, but it was reported last month that Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Elliot Daly and the Vunipola brothers, Billy and Mako, will stay after three-way talks between Sarries, England, and the British and Irish Lions.

Although unwilling to speak for his team-mates, George believes others will follow his decision.

"I haven't spoken to the other boys," he said. "My decision's been made purely from a personal point of view and I wouldn't want to speak on their behalf, but it's looking that way."

Last week, Saracens were also fined €50,000 for fielding Titi Lamositele against Racing 92 without a valid work permit but avoided expulsion from the European Champions Cup.

South Africa defeated England by one run after an astonishing finish to the first T20 international at Buffalo Park.

Chasing 178, England looked poised for victory after Jason Roy scored a rapid 70 and captain Eoin Morgan added a vital 52 that included some clutch late boundaries.

The tourists only needed seven from the last seven balls but Morgan holed out to long on to set up a tense finale before a tremendous last over from Lungi Ngidi (3-30) saw him remove Tom Curran and Moeen Ali.

Adil Rashid was left needing three from the final delivery for victory or two to force a super over, but he could only manage one as the returning Dale Steyn and captain Quinton de Kock combined for a runout that sparked joyous scenes in East London.

Earlier, South Africa were well set for a huge total before England recovered to limit them to 177-8.

Roy's superb innings – which saw him become the country's first player to score three consecutive T20I fifties - took just 38 balls with seven fours and three sixes as Morgan's men made a strong start to their reply.

Morgan appeared ready to put the finishing touches on a strong run chase but a dramatic conclusion meant it was South Africa who took a 1-0 lead in the three-match rubber, with their opponents finishing agonisingly short on 176-8.

England are now in danger of losing their first T20I series since July 2018 and this morale-denting defeat was an unwelcome start to a year that builds towards the T20 World Cup in October.

Keaton Jennings and Ben Foakes have been recalled for England's Test series in Sri Lanka but there is no place for Jonny Bairstow or James Anderson.

Jennings has not played for his country since being dropped following the series defeat to West Indies a year ago, but the opening batsman returns along with Foakes.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Foakes has also been overlooked since the loss in the Caribbean, despite making such an impressive start to his England career in Sri Lanka in November 2018.

Jennings and Foakes both scored centuries in a 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka, where the latter was named man of the series.

Bairstow was brought back into the Test squad for the recent 3-1 win in South Africa, but failed in both innings of the defeat at Centurion and played no part in the rest of the series.

The Yorkshireman misses out along with Anderson, who will continue his recovery from the cracked rib suffered in the second Test at Newlands to prepare for the English season.

"Jonny Bairstow has been in England squads across the three formats without a significant break," said national selector Ed Smith. "This two-Test tour presents a good opportunity for Jonny to be rested.

"Jimmy Anderson will continue to work with Lancashire and the ECB so that he is ready for the start of the County Championship season leading into the Test series against the West Indies in June."

All-rounder Moeen Ali remains unavailable selection in the longest format, but fellow spinner Jack Leach has recovered from illness to take his place in the 16-man squad.

Uncapped leg-spinner Matt Parkinson is also included for the two-match series, which starts in Galle on March 19.

 

England squad: Joe Root (captain), Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Ben Foakes, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Matt Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) described reports linking Rassie Erasmus with the England job as "100 per cent inaccurate", insisting no approach has been made for the South African to replace head coach Eddie Jones.

Speculation emerged from South Africa that England were lining up Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks coach Erasmus to succeed Jones.

Erasmus, who reverted back to his position as director of rugby after overseeing South Africa's victory over England in Japan last November, attended Saturday's Six Nations clash between Jones' side and Scotland at Murrayfield.

However, the RFU distanced itself from speculation after England boss Jones ended a run of back-to-back defeats.

"The reports are 100 per cent inaccurate. There has been no meeting. There have been no talks whatsoever about any position at the RFU," said RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney.

Jones and England kick-started their Six Nations campaign with a 13-6 win over rivals Scotland in Edinburgh.

England now have blockbuster clashes looming against Ireland and Wales in Europe's annual six-team Test competition, which could be in line for change.

South Africa are reportedly in line to join the Six Nations after the 2023 World Cup, but Jones is against the proposal.

"It's called the greatest rugby tournament in the world and I think it is," Jones said. "So why would you want to add other teams that are going to decrease the level of competition? I can only talk from experience.

"Super Rugby was the golden egg of rugby: 12 teams, brilliant, competitive. As soon as it expanded it lost its allure. You want the best teams playing against each other.

"There's something about the Six Nations – because of the history of the relationships between the nations – that makes it outstanding. There is a lot of meaning to a lot of people for a game like this."

Mark Boucher said missed opportunities cost South Africa as they suffered a two-wicket defeat to England in the third and final ODI in Johannesburg.

Despite a late wobble with the bat, England claimed victory with 40 balls unused on Sunday to ensure the three-match series finished level at 1-1, the second game in Durban having been washed out.

Boucher felt his team were "30 to 40 runs short" when making 256-7 with the bat, while they then made an abysmal start with the ball as Jonny Bairstow (43 off 23 balls) got stuck into Lungi Ngidi and Beuran Hendricks.

Although South Africa fought back, dropped chances from Joe Denly and Tom Banton hindered their hopes of turning things around.

"We were probably 30 or 40 runs short and then, with the ball, we just started off really, really poorly and we were playing catch-up after that," said Boucher in a news conference.

"We had chances and we didn't take our opportunities. When you are 30 to 40 runs short, you have got to bowl well, especially up front, and you've got to take your opportunities.

"We didn't do that. That's why we lost."

South Africa and England both rested frontline players for the ODI series, and Boucher indicated the Proteas would continue to experiment in their next 50-over matches against Australia.

"It's a long time until the next [50-over] World Cup, so we can afford to do that," he added.

"There are a lot of good things that happened and a couple of things we need to work on, obviously, but it is quite difficult to judge over two games.

"We'll probably use the next three games against Australia to find out some answers and ask some questions. We do believe we're going in the right direction."

Former skipper Faf du Plessis is likely to return against Australia, though, after being rested and replaced as captain by Quinton de Kock for the ODI and T20 series with England.

"We feel at this point in time he [Du Plessis] needs a bit of a break away from the game," Boucher explained.

"I would like to think, against Australia, the rest will be enough and they [Du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada] can come back and play."

Ellis Genge took a swipe at the "sausages" who criticised England following a Six Nations defeat to France after they beat Scotland to regain the Calcutta Cup on a bleak Saturday at Murrayfield.

The Rugby World Cup runners-up made a poor start to the tournament last weekend, paying the price for an error-strewn performance by losing 24-17 in Paris.

England rolled up their sleeves to respond with a 13-6 victory in a Storm Ciara-battered Edinburgh, Genge scoring the only try 10 minutes from time.

Jones' side showed they were up for the fight in driving rain and strong winds and the replacement prop let his feelings be known after they lifted the Calcutta Cup for the first time in three years.

Asked about the emotion of scoring the winning try, he told BBC Sport: "I don't know; I can't remember. It was 20 minutes ago, and it was all a bit of a blur, it happens quite quick.

"We played well and luckily I was the one that picked it up. Quite a few of the boys are getting drug tested so it's quite quiet in the changing room.

"We are buzzing to win but there is more to come. We had a bump in the road last week and people were saying we were not good enough.

"It's classic – you have a lot of sausages that say things that come to their head. What are they on about? We go away and win in Scotland in the rain and they are full of praise again. I hope we have shut them up."

Jones is hopeful his side can kick on with a showdown against Ireland to come at Twickenham following a weekend off.

"Apart from 15 minutes, we dominated the game. We had a few poor kicks, but we dominated possession and we finished it off, which we didn't do last week," said the England head coach.

"It was an old-fashioned Calcutta Cup game, swirling wind and an aggressive crowd without manners.

"There is a lot of growth for us. I under-prepared the side for the first game but we'll get stronger as the weeks go on."

Ellis Genge scored the only try of a scrappy battle in horrendous conditions as England regained the Calcutta Cup with a 13-6 defeat of Scotland at a sodden Murrayfield.

There was little to separate the fierce rivals on a bleak Saturday in Edinburgh, lashed by Storm Ciara, after Adam Hastings' penalty brought Scotland level following Owen Farrell's strike from the tee in the first half.

That was until replacement prop Genge touched down 10 minutes from time after England were awarded a scrum five yards from the post when Stuart Hogg was adjudged to have made downward pressure on the ball, having spilled it over his own line.

Farrell missed three penalties, with the rain teeming down and wind howling, but was successful with a second to increase his side's lead after adding the extras to Genge's try.

A second Hastings penalty reduced the deficit to seven points, but the Rugby World Cup runners-up held on to beat their old rivals the first time in three years.

England deserved to win an ugly contest after losing to France on the opening weekend of the Six Nations, while Scotland have lost two out of two - Hogg's mistake proving to be pivotal after the captain inexplicably dropped the ball when he should have scored against Ireland.

Dale Steyn has been included in South Africa's Twenty20 International squad to face England and Quinton de Kock will captain the side in the three-match series.

Steyn has not played for the Proteas since last March, but the paceman is set to return against Eoin Morgan's side.

De Kock was named as permanent ODI skipper ahead of the ongoing series with England and will also lead his country in the shortest format, as Faf du Plessis has been granted an extended period of rest.

Kagiso Rabada has also been given extra time off after being rested for the ODI series, which South Africa lead 1-0 with one match to play at the Wanderers on Sunday.

Uncapped batsman Pite van Biljon and seamer Sisanda Magala were included in the squad for a T20 series that gets under way with a day-night contest at Buffalo Park, East London next Wednesday.

Magala's participation is dependent on him passing a fitness test. 

Cricket South Africa acting director of cricket Graeme Smith said: "We are pleased with the group that we have selected for this upcoming T20 series against England.

"We have once again taken the opportunity to reward some of the hard workers of our domestic franchise system while some of our key senior players continue with their much-needed rest period and we have again, put our faith in Quinton to lead this group of exciting cricketers, picking up where he left off in India where he showed exemplary leadership."

He added: "With a T20 World Cup not too far away, we have begun the process of identifying several players whom we will be looking at over a period of time and hope that by the time September comes along, we will have the best possible squad of 15 representing South Africa."

 

South Africa squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Pite van Biljon, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, JJ Smuts, Beuran Hendricks, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Sisanda Magala, Bjorn Fortuin, Dale Steyn, Heinrich Klaasen.

James Anderson has told England's selectors he wants a seat on the plane to Sri Lanka next month.

England's record wicket-taker says he has recovered fully from the broken rib he sustained during the second Test victory over South Africa in early January.

That blow forced him to miss the third and fourth Tests, both of which England won to tie up a 3-1 series success.

Anderson, 37, hopes England pick him for the two-Test trip to Sri Lanka, even though he has struggled at times on tour against the Lions, in conditions not conducive to the Lancashire paceman masterful seam and swing.

He took just one wicket across two Tests in a November 2018 series, with Jack Leach, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali spinning England to a 2-0 lead before being rested for the third match, which the tourists also won.

Anderson said he was now "all healed" from his rib setback and doing gym work - welcome news for England, given Jofra Archer will miss the Sri Lanka series because of an elbow injury.

"I've been training for a few weeks now, getting my bowling back up to speed. I feel really good," Anderson told Sky Sports.

"The aim for me is to get fit for whatever is next and, at the moment, that is Sri Lanka.

"With a broken bone, you are just waiting for that to heal, you've not lost any fitness. It's about building my bowling back up now. We've got a month before that tour, so we have to just wait and see what the selectors think."

With 584 wickets, Anderson has claimed the most victims of any fast bowler in Test history.

"If I'm fit I want to be playing for England, wherever that might be," he said.

"I showed in South Africa that I can still do it abroad. I think I've been unlucky in the last few months with injuries, but I think my record before that has been pretty good injury-wise."

South Africa and England were frustrated by rain as the second ODI in their three-match series was abandoned on Friday.

A succession of downpours in Durban delayed play, then interrupted the action after South Africa began their innings, and finally brought about a soggy end to the contest.

England were seeking victory at Kingsmead to make up for their thumping seven-wicket defeat at Newlands on Tuesday, while the hosts were aiming for a win to seal a series success.

Play began almost two hours later than planned due to the wet weather, and South Africa reached 37-1 in 6.3 overs – Joe Root bowling dangerman Quinton de Kock for 11 - before heavy showers forced the players off.

A no-result outcome looked inevitable as the outfield took a drenching, but an early-evening inspection saw the umpires give the go-ahead for play to resume, with the match cut to 26-overs-a-side.

South Africa pressed on and Reeza Hendricks reached an unbeaten 35, but the fall of Temba Bavuma lbw to Chris Jordan for 21 - leaving the home side 71-2 - coincided with the return of rain.

Confirmation of the abandonment came just over 20 minutes later, with the teams now heading to Johannesburg for Monday's final match in the rubber.

Stuart Hogg says Scotland are too consumed with plans to turn over England at Murrayfield on Saturday to engage in a war of words.

England head coach Eddie Jones yet again started the mind games by referring to Gregor Townsend's side as "niggly" and a team that look to "goad" opponents.

Back-row forward Lewis Ludlam also vowed that the Rugby World Cup runners-up will be prepared to go to "war" against the Auld Enemy in the second round of the Six Nations.

Yet captain Hogg says Scotland are only interested in giving themselves every chance of retaining the Calcutta Cup, which they have held since 2018.

The British and Irish Lions full-back said: "Look, my job is to make sure I'm concentrating on getting my performance spot-on but also making sure the team is switched on.

"We're here for the right reasons, not listening to what others have got to say.

"We're concentrating on what happens within the four walls of our changing room and making sure we are focused and ready."

Scotland and England were beaten by Ireland and France respectively on the opening weekend, and Hogg is confident Townsend's men can respond with a victory.

"I think I've made it pretty clear I've got a lot of respect for England," the Exeter Chiefs man added.

"I've been fortunate enough to play for a few of their boys on Lions tours and they're world class.

"But we want an opportunity to turn them over. I fully believe in our team, that we can do that and we'll do everything in our power."

Rajasthan Royals remain hopeful that Jofra Archer can play in the Indian Premier League despite the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealing he would miss the tournament.

The ECB on Friday stated that paceman Archer has been ruled out of England's Test tour of Sri Lanka and the IPL due to a low-grade stress fracture of his right elbow.

Archer is due to commence a rehabilitation programme with the ECB medical team with a view to facing West Indies in a three-match Test series in June.

Yet the Royals, who signed the quick for 7.2 crore (£800,000) in the 2018 IPL auction, have not given up hope of Archer playing in a tournament that gets under way at the end of March and finishes on May 24.

Rajasthan head coach Andrew McDonald told ESPNcricinfo: "It is a blow but these things always confront teams. These are the setbacks that you have to contend with.

"First and foremost, our thoughts are with Jofra. Getting an elbow injury when you are at the top of your game is far from ideal, but watching him from afar it's been great to see what he's been able to achieve.

"We'll see what happens. The ECB have been reasonably solid on ruling him out of the IPL, but we still hold out some hope that he may recover.

"We'll get those details over the next 24-48 hours as to the extent of the injury, and we'll work with the ECB as to what that may or may not look like.

"I'm sure he's keen [to play in the IPL]. He loves playing for Rajasthan, but injuries happen, and until more details come to light, we will always hold out hope for a player of that quality.

"It doesn't look good at the moment, but we won't be in any rush to replace him at this moment in time."

The opening round of fixtures in this year's Six Nations did not disappoint.

Wales served up a feast of tries to kick things off, the defending champions showing a cutting edge as they thrashed poor Italy 42-0 in Cardiff.

The score was far closer at the Aviva Stadium, though, as Ireland edged out Scotland. New captain Johnny Sexton was the hero for the hosts, scoring all their points in a hard-fought 19-12 triumph. Next up: Wales.

England, meanwhile, got their just deserts following a shocking start against France. Failing to score a point in the opening half of a game in the tournament for the first time since 1988 left Eddie Jones' side with too much to do in Paris, Les Bleus delighting the home crowd by holding on for a 24-17 win on Sunday.

So, what will be on the menu for the second week? With help from Opta, we whet your appetite for the upcoming games.

 

Ireland v Wales

- Wales have lost just one of their last five Six Nations games against Ireland (W3, D1). However, their solitary defeat in that spell came the last time they travelled to Dublin in the tournament (2018).

- As for Ireland, they have an outstanding home record, losing just two of the last 22 Tests they have played in front of their own fans (W19, D1). Those defeats? Against New Zealand (November 2016) and England (February 2019).

- Wales gained the most metres (563) of any side in last weekend's opening round, ahead of Ireland (413). Wales also topped the charts for clean breaks (12) and defenders beaten (26, level with Scotland and France).

- Ireland's Jordan Larmour made the most carries (19) and metres (138) of any player last weekend, while Wales' Leigh Halfpenny ranked second in both categories (17 carries, 107 metres).

- Josh Adams crossed for a hat-trick against Italy, taking him to 13 tries in Test rugby since the beginning of 2019. That tally is two more than any other player has managed over that same period of time.


Scotland v England

- Scotland are unbeaten in their last two Six Nations matches against England (W1, D1), this after losing seven in a row before that. Not since 1982-1984 have Scotland gone unbeaten in three straight Calcutta Cup fixtures (W2, D1).

- Only once since 2000 have England suffered successive defeats to open a campaign (2005), but they have lost five of their last seven away outings, including the last two.

- England won 17 of their 18 lineouts in the defeat to France, their 94 per cent success rate the best of any side. In contrast, Scotland's 78 per cent success rate was the worst out of the nations.

- Stuart Hogg beat eight defenders against Ireland, more than any other player in week one. Team-mate Jonny Gray excelled in defence, ending as the joint-top tackler (22, level with Bernard Le Roux).

- Owen Farrell is 20 points away from reaching 900 for England in Test rugby. His highest haul in an international match came against Scotland in 2017, as he landed seven conversions and four penalties to finish with 26.


France v Italy

- France have won 18 of their 20 clashes with Italy in the Six Nations (L2) – scoring victories in each of their 10 home games in that run. They have averaged four tries per game against the Azzurri in the Championship, too.

- Italy hold an unwanted record, having now lost their last 23 Six Nations games. No other side has lost more than 17 consecutive games in Five or Six Nations history.

- France were not flush with possession in the match against England, yet they conceded the fewest metres (224) and clean breaks (6), as well as making the most tackles (182).

- Only England's Maro Itoje (44) hit more rucks in the opening round of this year's Six Nations than France duo Gregory Alldritt (43) and Charles Ollivon (37, level with Peter O'Mahony). Alldritt hit the most defensive rucks of any player (25) and slowed the opposition ball down on 16 occasions at the breakdown.

- France are beginning a Six Nations campaign with two successive home games for the first time since 2016, which also happens to be the last time they began with back-to-back victories.

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