5 talking points ahead of England v South Africa

Here, Press Association Sport identifies some of the main talking points ahead of Sunday's decider in Cardiff.


Both camps were keen to reject the notion that the manner of South Africa's victory in Taunton has set up a Cardiff grudge match. The Proteas were within their rights to appeal when Jason Roy got in the way of Andile Phehlukwayo's throw and became the first batsman in the history of T20 international cricket to be dismissed for obstructing the field. But England skipper Eoin Morgan raised a few eyebrows when he suggested the "spirit of the game is open to interpretation" - and there is no doubt what happened in the closing stages on Friday night provides extra spice to the finale.


England have pretty much dominated the first two matches besides the final five overs of their Taunton innings. Yet South Africa are still in there with a chance of pulling off an unlikely series victory. You could argue that, but for Roy's bizarre dismissal and the contest being concluded in gathering gloom, England would have had the series wrapped up by now. But Morgan conceded that defeat in Somerset was down to not backing up an excellent start with the bat, a salutary lesson that England have to keep their foot to the pedal at all times.


Surrey blaster Roy cut a troubled figure during the ODI series against South Africa and this month's Champions Trophy. He failed to make double figures in three innings against the Proteas and his brain became so scrambled that he was eventually dropped for the Champions Trophy semi-final with Pakistan. But Roy put his game back together at Surrey and had the Taunton crowd ducking for cover with 67 from 45 balls. It is evident that Roy is a match-winner on his day and England will hope that he comes off again, especially with Jonny Bairstow missing the decider to prepare for the forthcoming Test series.


Tom Curran made the most of his first England opportunity on a hard and fast Taunton track. The 22-year-old Surrey seamer almost removed Proteas opener Reeza Hendricks with his first ball in international cricket before actually managing it with his very next delivery. Curran ended up with figures of three for 33 on debut and the extra yard of pace he has put on during the winter troubled most of the South African batsmen. The wicket might not be so much to his liking in Cardiff, but playing against the country of his birth clearly inspires him and he could make a real impact again.


All through the Champions Trophy you could not escape the murmurings about Cardiff. Whether it was the underwhelming attendances or question marks over some of the pitches at the SSE Swalec Stadium, Cardiff came in for a fair bit of criticism. Morgan has said that the England players like performing at Cardiff and, to be fair, they have a pretty decent record there. But Cardiff needs a big day to silence those doubters who feel it is a venue not suited to staging international cricket. A sell-out crowd would do for starters, so too an atmosphere to fit the occasion of a series decider.

  England batsman Jason Roy has returned to form in the NatWest International T20 series against South Africa
England batsman Jason Roy has returned to form in the NatWest International T20 series against South Africa