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England v South Africa, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston, 1st day
David Lloyd: An abject performance by England
July 30, 2008
England were bundled out for 231 on a good track. Now they're playing catch-up
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'I would think that Paul Collingwood would want to get back into county cricket to find his feet and find some form' © Getty Images

Andrew Miller: A day that started promisingly for England but then degenerated. David Lloyd, 231 all out really isn't good enough?

David Lloyd: Well, an abject performance, it really was. Michael Vaughan at the toss, you could see lots of glee, 'yes we will have a bat'. And everybody in the country would be saying when. They batted dreadfully today. No application, no skill, a couple of fifties, 76 for [Alaistair] Cook and 50 for Ian Bell. But my word, the rest of it, on a pitch that both captains said that it's a good pitch, groundsman said pace 6 out of 10, very placid; nothing really to shout home about the bowling, it was just a good steady performance by South Africa, but England were bundled out.

AM: It was triggered off by a slightly bizarre dismissal of Andrew Strauss - hoping back into his crease - you don't really see too many hit wickets in Test cricket?

DL: No, and he doesn't usually get that far back and he didn't slip either. He just went back with his back foot and disturbed the middle stump. It went back six or seven inches and off you go. But, with 68 on board it just showed you that it's an easy pitch and you've just got to be a little bit careful on the drive. I just think the aftermath of this will be the manner of the performance. Sometimes you can play poorly but this was something else.

AM: Well, two men in particularly are going to be under scrutiny after this performance, Michael Vaughan (with a first-ball duck) and Paul Collingwood who was controversially brought back into the side but he didn't really look good for his four today.

DL: I just don't see how you can bring a player back into the team who is patently out of form and try and get him back into form in a Test match. I just know that, the emails that are coming into the commentary studio, and there are thousands of emails saying that this smacks of a chummy little club. It is a pleasant little outing for a bunch of 12. I think it's a real own goal, particularly Michael Vaughan to say that Paul Collingwood is good in the dressing room. I think that is absolutely nonsense - he fits in well; he is a good chap - that has nothing to do with it. I would think that Paul Collingwood would want to get back into county cricket to find his feet and find some form.

This is an international cricket match; you don't come into these matches woefully out of touch and out of nick and expect to just get back into it. You earn a place in a Test match side on merit and being on top of your game and clearly he isn't.

AM: And what about the captain, did he nick it, does it matter really, he got a duck.

DL: The snicko would say that there is little bit of something there. But the wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who is never shy of a appeal, he is a real street fighter of a wicketkeeper, he didn't throw the ball up as he usually does and there was no appeal from him. But there is something on snicko and his bat is away from his pad. Michael Vaughan very clearly gave the indication that he didn't hit it, but it's a very tentative shot that he played at a delivery that you would know is coming - everybody in the country would know that it's going to be full, it's going to be straight, round about off stump and he will have a little nibble at it which he did.

AM: The man who set it up for South Africa was Andre Nel, or Gunther as he is better known these days. He really made a difference to South Africa's attack today.

DL: Yes, Dale Steyn not playing this game because of injury so Nel comes in. But he is a seasoned professional this guy and he is probably the captain's dream I would think. He looks and believes that he can make something happen, and he is constantly at the batsmen in his mind and wanting the batsmen to play him and not the delivery. England walked away and did not get involved with him. Nevertheless, he bowled well, he bowled good spells and he bowled at either end, he picked up wickets and so they look to have a good replacement for Steyn.

AM: It all degenerated really in that final over for England - with [Andrew] Flintoff hitting a six and a four and then two run outs. Have you seen anything quite so village in international cricket?

DL: Well, you know that's a good word, village. It's shambolic and it summed up the innings, 231 is not nearly good enough. The last over was comical and farcical. It's been an awful performance.

AM: Is there any way back for them in this sort of situation?

DL: Well, I wouldn't have thought so because it's a good pitch. There is a little bit of swing out there and they will have to make sure that they make South Africa struggle against the new ball and swing. But after that we have seen Paul Harris bowl, and he didn't turn the ball.

Monty Panesar, all the talk before the innings was pile the runs on in the first innings as this pitch will turn at the back end. Well, it looks as if England are going to be on the receiving end of the back end.

AM: Well, there you have it. England have had a dreadful day at the office. You've been listening to Cricinfo Talk.

Comments: 8 
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Posted by Dawie on (July 31, 2008, 12:52 GMT)

The problem with the English is that they are scared of losing their wickets. Thus they are so negative at the crease, who cares about stats... Even if you have a couple of ducks, in the long run batting agresive will give you the upper hand over the bowlers. Learn from the Aussies, thats why they are nr1 in the world. Go SA!!!

Posted by Allan on (July 31, 2008, 12:31 GMT)

I agree with everything written here. Collingwood being selected after just one Test out is a joke. Surely with both Flintoff and Broad being able to score some runs then there is scope for a five-man attack with these two involved, surely Broad offers more with bat and ball at the moment than Collingwood? I also think that Ambrose time is running out, perhaps time to look at Mustard for Tests, or even Foster or bring back Prior? Vaughan is looking awful, but then generally does against SA, why? maybe its time for him to go, give the captaincy to Strauss and play Shah, Bopara, Key or even Carberry instead? I would think about this team for the last Test, especially if we are 2-0 down: Cook, Strauss, Shah, KP, Bell, Broad, A.Wicketkeeper, Flintoff, S.Jones, Sidebottom, Panesar.

Posted by Andy on (July 31, 2008, 8:49 GMT)

England are looking very poor. Vaughan is past it. Agree with the comments about it being a cosy little club - it certainly is for the batsmen who only rarely seem to get dropped. Key and Shah must be considered for the next Test - surely they can't pick Collingwood again?

Posted by Colin on (July 31, 2008, 7:20 GMT)

How is it that England bat with so little patience. South Africa just plug away on or about off stump and sooner rather than later someone will play a rash shot. There were very few jaffas bowled yesterday. There was a fair amount of poor technique on display as well eg Pietersen,Ambrose,Collingwood and Strauss. It is not as if one day cricket has confused them because the England side play less than most other countries. I agree that Vaughan has passed his sell-by date.

Posted by Paul on (July 31, 2008, 4:58 GMT)

I'd Like to know what added value Peter Moores and his backroom staff bring to the party, I think it is time he went and we reverted back to a tough single minded coach with a winning ethic there is too much of a cosy atmosphere around England, they always seem to acknowledge how poor they have been and its always going to be put right tomorrow.

Posted by James on (July 31, 2008, 2:31 GMT)

The bowlers found the 'corridor of uncertainty'. The batsmen replied by 'knowing where their off stump is'. Now bowlers don't know where the wicket is and batsmen don't know where the ball is.

Posted by Christopher on (July 30, 2008, 23:30 GMT)

Surely it must be about time that the England selectors realise that both Vaughan and Collingwood are finished as England players. Both their performances over the last year have been hopeless. We need new players to come onto the scene, i.e Luke Wright. I aslo feel that Ambrose is just not cut out to be a test batsman. Why not give Foster ago.

Posted by Andrew on (July 30, 2008, 19:39 GMT)

I'd like to see England try to relax and enjoy their batting, as South Africa seem to be able to do. These fraught performances are difficult to watch, win or lose.

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