Morgan guides England to promising victory over South Africa

Eoin Morgan led from the front as England stepped up their ICC Champions Trophy preparations with a 72-run victory over top-ranked ODI side South Africa on Wednesday.

The England captain hit 107 off 93 deliveries to steer the hosts to a total of 339-6 at Headingley, ably assisted by Moeen Ali (77), and the Proteas fell well short in their chase.

Hashim Amla (73) and Faf du Plessis (67) top-scored for the tourists in the first instalment of a three-match series, but it was the removal of AB de Villiers (45) in the 38th over that signalled the end of the South African challenge - Chris Woakes (4-38) was instrumental in their downfall.

One point of concern for England, however, will be an apparent injury to Ben Stokes, who spent time off the field receiving treatment during the South African innings.

A minute's silence was observed amid an increased security presence following the terror attacks in Manchester on Monday, as the sun shone down on Leeds.

Jason Roy (1) fell early to a Quinton de Kock catch as England made a shaky start, but Morgan's men had piled on a further 98 runs through Alex Hales (61) and Joe Root (37) by the time De Kock took a second catch to see off the former.

Root - playing on his home ground for the first time since being handed the Test captaincy - struggled to live up to expectation, leaving it to Morgan and Moeen to lay down a challenging target for South Africa.

Morgan and Moeen racked up 117 runs between them in 13.3 overs together in the middle, Woakes chipping in with six after his skipper was seen off by Chris Morris 14 balls from the end of the innings.

The South African innings had started promisingly, and a knee injury to IPL Most Valuable Player Stokes threatened to cause England a major headache as they prepare to head into a home Champions Trophy as favourites.

However, after De Kock fell with the score on 33, the quickfire wickets of Amla and Du Plessis sent the Proteas on a downward spiral, with only De Villiers showing any sign of resistance.

The loss of De Villiers left South Africa 225-7, and they added just 42 more runs before Woakes wrapped up the win with his fourth wicket of the match and with five overs to spare.

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