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Yardy enjoying spin role

Michael Yardy is still thankful for the day when he made perhaps the best decision of his life - to abandon his medium-pace efforts and turn himself into a spinner.

The Sussex captain took two more wickets yesterday as England narrowly completed an unbeaten ICC World Twenty20 warm-up campaign, with a five-wicket win over South Africa at Kensington Oval.

Yardy has taken five for 45 in two days, putting himself in the frame as a near certain ever-present second spinner once the tournament proper gets under way for England next week.

Yet when he began his first-class career, Yardy - still a frontline all-rounder in county cricket - was a batsman who bowled seam up as a second string to his bow.

How his fortunes have changed since he decided to take the pace off.

"I just changed, because my seam wasn't working," he said.

"I thought I'd try something that was a little bit less heavy on the legs.

"But I've really enjoyed bowling spin, especially in one-day and Twenty20 cricket.

"Whatever happens now, it definitely has paid off."

England are now the grateful recipients of Yardy's rethink, yesterday restricting South Africa to 125 for five before Eoin Morgan (63) revived their run chase from nine for three at one stage.

Kevin Pietersen made a first-ball duck on his belated return, after spending some time with his pregnant wife in England, and openers Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter also missed out.

But Morgan shared a stand of 71 with Paul Collingwood, and then Luke Wright hit a towering six off Rusty Theron to clinch the deal with three balls to spare.

Yardy is heartened not just to have won against Bangladesh and South Africa but to have done so at the venue which will host matches in the later stages of the tournament, including the final.

"It's been good to have two warm-up games here - because if we were to get through, then obviously we play here," he added.

"The pitch has got decent pace and bounce and is gripping a little bit for the spin, so all in all we're well suited for it."

He is naturally delighted with his own performance.

"My goal here is to come out and play it game by game, and I'm really happy with the way it's gone.

"Obviously, these are warm-up games. But it's great for the team and me to get off to a positive start with two wins against two decent teams.

"It means we can start the tournament full of confidence."

Ravi Bopara played a match-winning hand against Bangladesh but lost his place to Pietersen yesterday.

Yardy believes the Essex batsman is still in the equation to return as England assess their options for two Group D matches against Ireland and West Indies in Guyana next week.

"Ravi certainly played very, very well the other day - and has in the IPL too.

"So I think it's a great headache for the selectors to have."
 
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