August 7, 2012

South Africa in England 2012

Graeme Smith seizes the initiative

Akhila Ranganna

Following Stuart Broad's five-wicket burst on the fifth day at Headingley, England would have been looking forward to the third Test at Lord's with a smile, according to Vic Marks. But Graeme Smith's decision to declare with a lead of 252 was a calculated risk and worked to regain the initiative his team had lost. More from the Guardian.

So who had the bragging rights (which are of modest value) by the end of it all? In the last hour Smith was the only captain who could have won the game, having enticed four wickets in the run chase. England had been brave but their willingness to chase against the odds may have betrayed an anxiety about how the devil they are going to prevail at Lord's.

If England are to win at Lord’s and retain their No. 1 status they will have to get past Graeme Smith first, writes Simon Hughes in The Telegraph.

Smith is the reason South Africa rose to the No. 1 team in the world in 2008 and threaten England’s status now. He has desire, he has ambition and he has considerable presence. He is a leader of men. He is the Table Mountain of South African cricket, robust, immovable, standing tall.

Wins at The Lord's are hard-earned and England should consider going with five bowlers to have a strong chance of dismissing South Africa's strong batting line up twice, says Jonathan Agnew, in the BBC.


Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Akhila Ranganna

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.