January 6, 2010

England in South Africa 2009-10

Broad was foolish but he is not a cheat

George Binoy

England were not guilty of ball-tampering at Newlands on Tuesday but I do think Stuart Broad was foolish to step on the ball, an act which led to suspicion here, writes Nasser Hussain in the Daily Mail.

I do not think it was malicious or calculated even if some people are adamant he has done it before in this series. And, after what happened with Broad and the umpires over a review at Centurion, you would have thought he would want to stay away from any possibility of trouble.

But we have to remember that the ball was spinning when he stepped on it and if Broad thinks he has the ability to stick his spikes into the scuffed side of the ball in that situation then he is in the wrong game. He should be a footballer!

Miracles happen, increasingly so in modern cricket with pitches that might have been prepared by Dorian Gray so young and unblemished do they remain throughout a Test, but with two days of the third Test remaining all the indications are that England and South Africa will decamp to the Wanderers next week all square and ready to shoot it out for the series, writes Mike Selvey in the Guardian.

In the Times, Mike Atherton says: "The scene is set for a charge on the fourth morning and a declaration in the afternoon, after which England must steel themselves against South Africa’s pace attack. They will need to show resolve against a team whose competitive spirit and fighting instincts have been impressively displayed these past three days and who will have noticed the frayed English tempers as the fielders and bowlers wilted in the heat."

The Umpire Review Decision System was introduced with the aim of correcting umpiring howlers and it did just that on day three at Newlands. Paul Weaver has more in the Guardian.

It happened at the start of South Africa's second innings. With the last ball of the third over, bowled by Jimmy Anderson, Ashwell Prince wafted at a ball going down the leg-side and was given out by Mr Harper. A horrified Prince asked for a referral and the bashful Mr Harper [he keeps his bashfulness to hand because it is required at regular intervals] reversed the decision. Perhaps the official thought, wrongly, that Prince was walking, for he left his crease briefly. But it classified as an official howler.

Most South Africans love a braai but there was something beyond mere appetite driving South Africa’s captain, Graeme Smith, after he scored a momentous 162 and it smelt like revenge, writes Derek Pringle in the Telegraph.

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George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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