Cardiff: England suffered an embarrassing eight-wicket defeat to Wales in a Limited Overs match at Sophia Gardens on Monday.
Wales skipper Steve James dented England's hopes ahead of the June 27 to July 13 triangular series against India and Sri Lanka by hammering an unbeaten 83 not out in a 110-ball innings which included nine boundaries. The Wales side, featuring nine Glamorgan players, one from Somerset and South African Jacques Kallis, took full advantage of an undisciplined batting performance by England who could only manage 189 for nine from its 50 overs. England tossed away its first four wickets with some cavalier batting after James won the toss and sent England in to bat.
Acting captain Marcus Trescothick smashed a quick-fire 38 but Nick Knight, Michael Vaughan and Graham Thorpe all fell cheaply as England struggled to reach 55 for four. Paul Collingwood and Ronnie Irani tried to steady the innings and disciplined innings by both batsmen helped guide England to 104 for six before they fell to Robert Croft, who snared two wickets for a miserly 36 runs from his 10 overs. Alec Stewart and Andrew Flintoff then tried to inject some urgency into the England innings with a stand of 58, but Wales struck back by claiming three wickets for just four runs. Big-hitting Flintoff, who bludgeoned 29 runs off just 34 balls, aired Steffan Jones to a grateful Matthew Maynard, before Stewart was run out after top-scoring with 39. James Kirtley then followed Stewart into the pavilion with a run out to end the England innings.
Croft began the Welsh reply with an all-out attack as he took up the mantle of pinch-hitter by blasting 30 off just 26 balls. The Welsh batsman punished some erratic bowling from the normally reliable Matthew Hoggard, who conceded 24 runs from a 10-ball over which included four no balls. It took a scorching yorker by James Kirtley to end Croft's innings, but by then James was beginning to spray boundaries on both sides of the wicket. James shared a second wicket stand of 132 with David Hemp, who scored 57, before Kirtley dismissed the left-handed batsman. Kallis then joined James at the crease as the Welsh cruised home with nine and a half overs to spare.