THE CORDON HOME

BLOGS ARCHIVES
SELECT BLOG
July 21, 2012

South Africa in England 2012

Time to offer Amla some cheesecake

Jarrod Kimber
Hashim Amla recorded his 15th century in Tests, England v South Africa, 1st Investec Test, The Oval, 3rd day, July 21, 2012
Hashim Amla did a Jonathan Trott  © PA Photos
Enlarge

RELATED LINKS

I've not been inside Jonathan Trott's head for the last two days, but I bet he's had more than one nightmare in that time. You know the nightmare. You mark your guard on a flat pitch, twice, face a whole host of dot balls, clip a few on midwicket till you get to 60 runs, and then suddenly realize you're naked as the bowler comes in and you play a rash cover drive giving up a hundred.

To make Trott feel worse, he's had Amla showing him exactly what he should have done. Make a big hundred and bat the opposition out of the game. There is a little Trott in Amla, but not as much Amla in Trott.

Trott is not an ugly batsman to watch; if Graeme Smith is a Morlock (and he is) when he bats, then Trott is an Ewok. But Amla is something far more fetching. He bats in a way that tests the sexuality of many cricket fans. Every back-foot push through the covers sent the Oval crowd in semi-orgasmic murmurs. And, like Trott, he can bat for days and days without seemingly being affected by the world around him.

On a flat pitch like this, getting out players like Cook, Smith, Trott or Amla requires a shovel and industrial sized black bags.

South Africa were poor on day one, and they were lucky Trott helped them. Aside from Swann, the England bowlers were worse on the third day than South Africa were on day one. They haven't been helped, as the ball hasn't swung or seamed much, or at all.

The England seamers were punished for all the times opposition teams have had to stand there mute as English batsmen ground to massive totals. Had you stumbled into the ground after emerging from a coma, you'd have laughed at anyone suggesting this was the best bowling attack on earth. They were waiting for mistakes, and they might have to wait a few days for all ten of them. Their lack of creativity was staggering, and they seemed to lose their ability to keep the pressure on.

When Broad had two short midwickets for Amla as he bounced him, it stuck out as perhaps England's first radical plan in 100 overs of cricket. It didn't work. I'm not sure how you get Amla out on a pitch like this, but neither are England. You could offer him cheesecake in the hope he's lactose intolerant. Surely England have a coach for that?

The ordeal seemed to send Strauss crazy. He was running around like a five-year-old school girl and breaking his glasses at various times. And he had a smile of a chilling serial killer, rather than his usual determined blank look. England have been so used to steam rolling opponents with efficiency, that they never expected South Africa to bounce back up. But they did, with the second new ball, and now the bat.

It's not Trott's fault. Many English players have been below par so far in this game. But I bet as Trott jogs from fine leg to fine leg, he's thinking of how much he'd prefer to be the person boring and blunting the bowlers, and not just watching it. It's what he does well, but over the last two days, it's what Amla does better.

Jarrod Kimber is 50% of the Two Chucks, and the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

RSS Feeds: Jarrod Kimber

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Andrew on (July 24, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

South Africa's bowlers were more creative, created more swing, more movement and more spin than England's. And South Africa's batters made England's look second rate. Not much more to say really.

Posted by mazy on (July 23, 2012, 20:22 GMT)

guys, im confused, wanna know if Amal really fasts while playing during the month of ramadhan? I was thinking that he might have been excused from fasting as he is involved in his profession as well as he could be considered as a traveller.

Can anyone authentically confirm if he really does fast while playing? if so its truly awesome...

Posted by Mazy on (July 23, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

guys, im a bit confused, does Amla really fast while playing!? I know he greatly keen in his religion. I was thinking that he would have got some sort of excuse from fasting during the month of Ramadhan, as he is involved in his profession as well as he could be considered as a traveller.

So can any one authentically confirm if he really fasts while playing during the month of Ramadhan?! if so its awesome!!!

Posted by Mazy on (July 23, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

guys, im a bit confused, does Amla really fast while playing!? I know he greatly keen in his religion. I was thinking that he would have got some sort of excuse from fasting during the month of Ramadhan, as he is involved in his profession as well as he could be considered as a traveller.

So can any one authentically confirm if he really fasts while playing during the month of Ramadhan?! if so its awesome!!!

Posted by sami on (July 22, 2012, 20:43 GMT)

Only rain can save England's No 1 status. This SA team is far better than English side.

Posted by Tshepo Tshotetsi on (July 22, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

Shocked at the number of ENG fans who are surprised with the performance of SA.. They really expected to roll the SA team over, a team that is better than them.

Posted by cricketfan on (July 22, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

England no. 1? Hahaha. Routing indian ageing batsmen in the backyard doesnt make them no.1. They were white washed in one day series after that. Pakistan white washed them in uae. They still have to come to india for full test series. They will be humiiliated by SA the real champs of crickrt world today.

Posted by ZA Cricket Junkie on (July 22, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

When is the day that South Africa gets a little more recognition for their cricketing prowess? In the last 20 series played, they have only lost 1 (compared to England's 6), and although the previous series between the two ended in a draw, this would largely be thanks to two tests where England survived by the skin of their teeth. Lets hope we see the cream rise to the top in the battle for test supremacy.

Posted by Jeremy Styles on (July 22, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

Ahhh, the joy of Test cricket. Day 1 ended with England on the ascendancy, but since then SA have fought back and are in command. All of the gibberish heaped upon SA bowlers has now been redirected to the English bowlers. England need to fight to the bitter end, 3-57 as I write this in the 2nd dig. I would not be surprised if Prior makes a courageous rearguard action, they'll need him to the way things are shaping up. However, even if England lose this match, there are two more to play, and SA had best not underestimate them, they are a quality side. I'm an Aussie fan, and I like Pankaj Joshi's comparison of Amla to Laxman - true praise indeed.

Posted by Pankaj Joshi on (July 22, 2012, 11:17 GMT)

Quite well said, as a Cricinfo article put it Amla is the successor to Laxman in the ease-batting stakes. And for the bowlers its only a teaser of what awaits them in India. Broad - big manly Broad - could not cross 75 mph yesterday. Gentlemen. Welcome to the big bad world.

Comments have now been closed for this article