South Africa in England 2012 July 31, 2012

South Africa must 'get off the wave'

  shares 22

The only thing standing between South Africa and victory in the second Test at Headingley, which would seal the series and take them to No. 1, is their state of mind, according to middle-order batsman Jacques Rudolph.

After their innings-and-12-run win at The Oval and a batting performance Allan Donald said "can't get any better," there would appear very few areas of improvement for the squad. But, having seen first-hand how the only place to go from the top is down, with England losing five out of nine Tests since becoming the world's best, Rudolph said South Africa have to be careful with how they respond to a big win.

"Our challenge will be to get off the wave of the first Test match, from a mental point of view," Rudolph said. "Obviously it was a convincing win for us but we are not too results orientated. We expect a strong fight back and we are prepared for what we are going to face."

South Africa have a good record at Headingley, having only lost one of the four Tests they have played here since readmission. In 1994, Peter Kirsten's century forced a draw, in 2003, Jacques Kallis' six wickets won the match and in 2008, AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince put on 212 runs for the fifth-wicket to give South Africa what proved a series-winning lead.

Rudolph believes it is the ideal place for them to hold on to their series lead. "From a team point of view, we can take quite a lot of confidence from how we played here in the past," he said.

With that much experience at the ground, including Rudolph's knowledge from five years of playing at Yorkshire, he believes the team will be properly prepared. While Rudolph said the information he is sharing with his team-mates is "not new," he hopes it can provide some important insight.

"There is a strong perception that Headingley is more a bowler's kind of wicket but in my experience here, especially when the sun is out, it's a really nice place to bat," he said. The average runs per wicket has increased from 27.91 in the 1980s to 34.18 in the 2000s, an indication that the green mamba is not as venomous as before, something Rudolph could confirm. "Once you get yourself in and get used to the swing and a little bit of seam movement you can get yourself in."

South Africa have squashed any speculation that will consider an all-pace attack with every member of the squad saying the XI is likely to be unchanged but Rudolph hinted that Imran Tahir, the legspinner, may have to change his approach.

"It won't be as dry as The Oval and it won't be as bouncy or turn as much. From a spinner's point of view, you've got to adapt your game plan and maybe be a little bit more containing as opposed to attacking."

JP Duminy's offspin may have a role to play, in addition to his batting at No.7, although he has not had much time in the middle doing. Duminy has scored a total of 94 runs in four innings on the tour and has bowled 27 overs across the four matches he has played.

Rudolph said too much should not be read into warm-ups because the rest of the preparation has gone well. "We are quite used to playing back to back matches and getting into a rhythm but here we have had a lot of time off and you have to find ways to keep yourself fresh.

"Personally, I find that in the warm up games the intensity is not really there because it is not as competitive as a Test match. But Gary Kirsten is quite strong on the fact that you've got to be aware of your own space and preparation. "

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Kentheavenonearth on | August 1, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    No cricket connoisseur can ask for more. THIS is the marquee match-up in world cricket, probably for the rest of the decade. If England truly are the best team in the world they have nothing to fear - come on England COME ONNNNN

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | August 1, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    SA will win second test also and strauss might get injured.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | August 1, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    A wise man would put his money on South Africa. They are heads and shoulders above Great Britain, sorry England (I get confused with the Olympics).

  • POSTED BY Kentheavenonearth on | August 1, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    Ok world THIS IS IT. If England turn it around against an excellent if imperfect side (Amla was the difference at The Oval) and win, this will go down in history. Headingley has been waiting over 30 years for another mythical Test...

  • POSTED BY SuperSharky on | August 1, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    I agree with MattyP1979, Posted by MattyP1979 on (July 31 2012, 23:23 PM GMT), that England and South Africa are the best sides in World Cricket at the moment, but not with a huge margin. Isn't Australia still second on the rankings ?? I feel that Sri Lanka, India, New Zealand and Bangladesh has lost their peak-form and their form are deteriorating while The Proteas, The West Indies and Pakistan are on the up. England is on a status quo for they are still number one and the Saffers would have never celebrated their Test Match win with so much love and enthusiasm if they thought that England wasn't a good side. It just feels so good when the media makes you the underdog and then you win. Ask the Proteas, Shaun Tomson, Gary Player, Ernie Els, Chad Le Clos, Cameron Van Der Bergh and a lot of Saffers and other sportsmen. If the underdog wins, the celebration is more special.

  • POSTED BY Abdurrazaaq on | August 1, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    Regardless of the Oval test drumming, South Africa is the better side without bias. South Africa is stronger in all 3 departments. England will have to pull the rabbit out their hat to win the series, or at least draw the series from here.

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | August 1, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Yes.. A good start will always help but focus only will get through to the end line.. No matter how you start, lifting game is absolutely necessary.. Even during the ultimate game for SA, they did have a minor issue - Middle order not getting to do it in the middle.. Yes it is a complement for them to score 600 odd for 2 but still middle order is not yet in the playground yet.. That will be the only thing that can be mentioned as sort of negative.. With a crushing win, they gained lots and lots of momentum.. Either complacency or choking only will make them to lose their momentum..

  • POSTED BY kensohatter on | August 1, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    One of the few disadvantages to only losing two wickets in a test match is that the SA middle/ lower order have not yet been exposed the the england attack. If England can punch through that SA top order they may take two or three quick wickets in the middle. To do that I believe Finn must play. Bresnan just does not give the same kind of penetration and his batting whilst useful should not overshadow the fact that england were a frontline bowler short last test. Tip England to bounce back this test... Look for a big score from Cook and Bell and some quality bowling from Anderson and Broad. Just for the record im Australian and hated writing that the poms will bounce back but if I was a betting man (and I am) id take England as outside chance to level this series

  • POSTED BY Marcio on | August 1, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Doubt it will be a walkover. Will be a good test for england, no pun intended. If SA get on top early they will probably take a psychological stranglehold on the series. Again, a lot will depend on weather and pitch conditions, and who bowls first. I'm tipping SA this game and Eng for the third.

  • POSTED BY klempie on | August 1, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    @subass...dream on buddy boy. As Nadeem said, SA can't lose this series now. It's either 1-1, or 2-0 (most likely) or even 3-0.

  • POSTED BY Kentheavenonearth on | August 1, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    No cricket connoisseur can ask for more. THIS is the marquee match-up in world cricket, probably for the rest of the decade. If England truly are the best team in the world they have nothing to fear - come on England COME ONNNNN

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | August 1, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    SA will win second test also and strauss might get injured.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | August 1, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    A wise man would put his money on South Africa. They are heads and shoulders above Great Britain, sorry England (I get confused with the Olympics).

  • POSTED BY Kentheavenonearth on | August 1, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    Ok world THIS IS IT. If England turn it around against an excellent if imperfect side (Amla was the difference at The Oval) and win, this will go down in history. Headingley has been waiting over 30 years for another mythical Test...

  • POSTED BY SuperSharky on | August 1, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    I agree with MattyP1979, Posted by MattyP1979 on (July 31 2012, 23:23 PM GMT), that England and South Africa are the best sides in World Cricket at the moment, but not with a huge margin. Isn't Australia still second on the rankings ?? I feel that Sri Lanka, India, New Zealand and Bangladesh has lost their peak-form and their form are deteriorating while The Proteas, The West Indies and Pakistan are on the up. England is on a status quo for they are still number one and the Saffers would have never celebrated their Test Match win with so much love and enthusiasm if they thought that England wasn't a good side. It just feels so good when the media makes you the underdog and then you win. Ask the Proteas, Shaun Tomson, Gary Player, Ernie Els, Chad Le Clos, Cameron Van Der Bergh and a lot of Saffers and other sportsmen. If the underdog wins, the celebration is more special.

  • POSTED BY Abdurrazaaq on | August 1, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    Regardless of the Oval test drumming, South Africa is the better side without bias. South Africa is stronger in all 3 departments. England will have to pull the rabbit out their hat to win the series, or at least draw the series from here.

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | August 1, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Yes.. A good start will always help but focus only will get through to the end line.. No matter how you start, lifting game is absolutely necessary.. Even during the ultimate game for SA, they did have a minor issue - Middle order not getting to do it in the middle.. Yes it is a complement for them to score 600 odd for 2 but still middle order is not yet in the playground yet.. That will be the only thing that can be mentioned as sort of negative.. With a crushing win, they gained lots and lots of momentum.. Either complacency or choking only will make them to lose their momentum..

  • POSTED BY kensohatter on | August 1, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    One of the few disadvantages to only losing two wickets in a test match is that the SA middle/ lower order have not yet been exposed the the england attack. If England can punch through that SA top order they may take two or three quick wickets in the middle. To do that I believe Finn must play. Bresnan just does not give the same kind of penetration and his batting whilst useful should not overshadow the fact that england were a frontline bowler short last test. Tip England to bounce back this test... Look for a big score from Cook and Bell and some quality bowling from Anderson and Broad. Just for the record im Australian and hated writing that the poms will bounce back but if I was a betting man (and I am) id take England as outside chance to level this series

  • POSTED BY Marcio on | August 1, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Doubt it will be a walkover. Will be a good test for england, no pun intended. If SA get on top early they will probably take a psychological stranglehold on the series. Again, a lot will depend on weather and pitch conditions, and who bowls first. I'm tipping SA this game and Eng for the third.

  • POSTED BY klempie on | August 1, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    @subass...dream on buddy boy. As Nadeem said, SA can't lose this series now. It's either 1-1, or 2-0 (most likely) or even 3-0.

  • POSTED BY shovwar on | August 1, 2012, 2:43 GMT

    The reason y England is a different team than the past is because of the South African cultural mix in the Team. But they are up against 10 South Africans compared to their currently 3.

  • POSTED BY m1991vicky on | August 1, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    @MattyP1979: Lets see how England spans out in the coming year.... Lets take Aug1, 2013..... I am damn sure u will lose every single thing that u have mentioned.....

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | July 31, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    @djdrastic. How about this for reality. We are still no.1 in tests and 20/20. 2nd in ODI, holder of the ashes and 1-0 down in a 3 match series against a team notorious for good starts poor finishes. We might indeed end up losing this series and the no.1 spot in tests, but we are still a damn good side, something I have been waiting for for a long while. SA and Eng are the best 2 sides in cricket right now and probably by some margin.

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | July 31, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    Well, at least the English press haven't published any more 'SA are degrading test cricket and ripping off English fans with poor preparation' articles like they did after day 1 of the first test. Strange selection from them though, I would have brought in Meaker (some pace) and Compton (solid 6) after the Oval disaster. With their South African backgrounds they would both have fitted in well to the team environment too.

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | July 31, 2012, 22:14 GMT

    @cricinfo My comment which hasn't been published for some reason was far more informative and relevant to the article than the rest of the drivel on here. Can't be bothered to type it again so I'll summarise it instead. look forward to seeing rudolph back at Headingley. Never quite cut it at test level unfortunately but good luck to him. Agree that pitch a lot better than it used to be for batting.

  • POSTED BY djdrastic on | July 31, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    @Tigereaver ? England supporters and Reality ? I must be in bizarro world.

  • POSTED BY Nadeem1976 on | July 31, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    South Africa is not going to lose this series now. this will be either drawn series or SA will win it 2-0. Great performance by SA just keep it up and win it. Don't worry about English come back they will but for one day only and then they will back off.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | July 31, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    I place of my well informed and unbias friend FFlunge, i will say that Eng have a good chance to level the series next match. SA and Eng are both very good sides, SA having ther better of the conditions in the first but in the end played far better than us. For those non-proteas and angry anti-anglos (AAA), it must be nice to cheer on a side that can finally match us....even if it not your own. Can Eng put up a better performance this test....not according to the experts on here, as for me and im sure FFL, we think slightly higher of Eng.

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | July 31, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    Tigerweaver - I have to agree about the drivel. I just can't help thinking of him/her as Front-foot-in-mouth. However, as much as I am hoping for a Proteas victory I don't think any of us has a clue as to what that the post Headingley reality will be. Both teams are unpredictable, and neither has established a pattern of consistent dominance. I expect Eng to come out swinging as their backs are against the wall. They know they are in a fight that will define their future, but can they avoid swinging too hard & losing their balance. SA's challenge is keeping themselves focussed & the pressure on Eng. Can they maintain the relentless grinding of the last 4 days at the Oval and break their pattern of big win followed by big loss. I suspect the match will be lost by the team that collapses, rather than won by the team that dominates, although my hopes are for both to bring their best game, & a true contest that keeps us guessing until the final session.

  • POSTED BY subbass on | July 31, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    Choke alert ! Final series score will be 2-1 England.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    Wish i could like your comment Tigereaver! Ha ha!

  • POSTED BY Tigereaver on | July 31, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    No doubt Front-foot-lunge will be here shortly to copy & paste the same drivel he has been posting on all the threads. I really hope he is here to face up to reality after the second test.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Tigereaver on | July 31, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    No doubt Front-foot-lunge will be here shortly to copy & paste the same drivel he has been posting on all the threads. I really hope he is here to face up to reality after the second test.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    Wish i could like your comment Tigereaver! Ha ha!

  • POSTED BY subbass on | July 31, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    Choke alert ! Final series score will be 2-1 England.

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | July 31, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    Tigerweaver - I have to agree about the drivel. I just can't help thinking of him/her as Front-foot-in-mouth. However, as much as I am hoping for a Proteas victory I don't think any of us has a clue as to what that the post Headingley reality will be. Both teams are unpredictable, and neither has established a pattern of consistent dominance. I expect Eng to come out swinging as their backs are against the wall. They know they are in a fight that will define their future, but can they avoid swinging too hard & losing their balance. SA's challenge is keeping themselves focussed & the pressure on Eng. Can they maintain the relentless grinding of the last 4 days at the Oval and break their pattern of big win followed by big loss. I suspect the match will be lost by the team that collapses, rather than won by the team that dominates, although my hopes are for both to bring their best game, & a true contest that keeps us guessing until the final session.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | July 31, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    I place of my well informed and unbias friend FFlunge, i will say that Eng have a good chance to level the series next match. SA and Eng are both very good sides, SA having ther better of the conditions in the first but in the end played far better than us. For those non-proteas and angry anti-anglos (AAA), it must be nice to cheer on a side that can finally match us....even if it not your own. Can Eng put up a better performance this test....not according to the experts on here, as for me and im sure FFL, we think slightly higher of Eng.

  • POSTED BY Nadeem1976 on | July 31, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    South Africa is not going to lose this series now. this will be either drawn series or SA will win it 2-0. Great performance by SA just keep it up and win it. Don't worry about English come back they will but for one day only and then they will back off.

  • POSTED BY djdrastic on | July 31, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    @Tigereaver ? England supporters and Reality ? I must be in bizarro world.

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | July 31, 2012, 22:14 GMT

    @cricinfo My comment which hasn't been published for some reason was far more informative and relevant to the article than the rest of the drivel on here. Can't be bothered to type it again so I'll summarise it instead. look forward to seeing rudolph back at Headingley. Never quite cut it at test level unfortunately but good luck to him. Agree that pitch a lot better than it used to be for batting.

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | July 31, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    Well, at least the English press haven't published any more 'SA are degrading test cricket and ripping off English fans with poor preparation' articles like they did after day 1 of the first test. Strange selection from them though, I would have brought in Meaker (some pace) and Compton (solid 6) after the Oval disaster. With their South African backgrounds they would both have fitted in well to the team environment too.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | July 31, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    @djdrastic. How about this for reality. We are still no.1 in tests and 20/20. 2nd in ODI, holder of the ashes and 1-0 down in a 3 match series against a team notorious for good starts poor finishes. We might indeed end up losing this series and the no.1 spot in tests, but we are still a damn good side, something I have been waiting for for a long while. SA and Eng are the best 2 sides in cricket right now and probably by some margin.