South Africa in England 2012

Bopara and Onions in England squad

Andrew McGlashan

July 15, 2012

Comments: 124 | Text size: A | A

Steve Finn leaps for joy after having Chris Gayle caught at fine leg, England v West Indies, T20, Trent Bridge, June, 24, 2012
Steven Finn is making a strong case to be the third quick against South Africa © AFP
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Players/Officials: Ravi Bopara | Steven Finn | Graham Onions
Series/Tournaments: South Africa tour of England

Ravi Bopara is back in the England Test squad for the first match against South Africa at The Oval next week. There are five fast bowlers in the 13-man group, with Graham Onions, Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan competing to form the pace trio with James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Bopara's form in the ODI series against Australia - 182 runs and four useful wickets - confirmed he is primed for a return to the Test side, after a frustrating period during which his opportunities were curtailed by injuries. He was set to make a comeback in Sri Lanka after Eoin Morgan was dropped but picked up a side strain that prevented him from bowling, and so Samit Patel was preferred. Then, at the start of this season, Bopara injured his thigh and was ruled out of the series against West Indies.

That opened the door for Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow, who struggled in the three Tests against West Indies, making 38 runs, and has not had a huge amount of batting since. Bairstow returned to Championship action this week and made a first-ball duck against Hampshire.

The only other debate is who will be the third fast bowler behind Anderson and Broad. England's regular new-ball pair was rested for the last Test against West Indies but Anderson and Broad will return to spearhead the attack for the main event of the season.

In the first two Tests against West Indies, they were accompanied by Bresnan, who was Man of the Match at Trent Bridge after a destructive spell of reverse swing on the third evening sealed the series for England. He currently has a Test bowling average of 26.09 and a batting average of 40.22 and will be tough to dislodge. Finn, however, made a very strong case for himself with his performances in the Australia ODIs.

In four completed matches, Finn took eight wickets at 19.37, including 4 for 37 at Chester-le-Street. He played the final Test against West Indies, when Broad and Anderson were rested, but was out-bowled on that occasion by Onions, who was playing his first Test since January 2010.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "Ravi Bopara has worked hard to regain his place in the Test squad following some injury concerns earlier in the season and is the only player included who is yet to play a Test match this summer.

"We have played some very good cricket over the last couple of months in all formats to win series against West Indies and Australia and after a month of limited overs cricket, preparations are now underway for what is sure to be a very competitive Test series against South Africa," Miller said. "We know we will need to play excellent cricket to win this three-match series and the squad will be determined to start with a strong performance this week during the first Investec Test and set the tone for the rest of the series."

On Saturday, the ICC's annual refresh of the rankings pushed South Africa to third but if they beat England they will replace them at the top of the table. England will retain their spot with a won or drawn series over the three Tests at The Oval, Headingley and Lord's.

Squad Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Matt Prior (wk), Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Graham Onions.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by JG2704 on (July 18, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer on (July 18 2012, 08:05 AM GMT) Hello. Yes you are right in that it's not that often but may I put a counter question your way. How often has our number 6 made a telling contribution in recent years? When I say a telling contribution I mean come in when we'd lost the top order early and helped change the game? I bet I can give more examples where our bowlers have struggled than you can give examples of occasions when our nr 6 has helped save our bacon. In UAE/SL , not once did our number 6 make a valuable contribution and a recent example of when our bowling attack struggled was the 1st test in UAE. My honest opinion is that I really don't think it's even that much of a gamble (if at all) going for 5 bowlers because our 6th batsman has let us down time and again. If Bopara does the business then maybe I'll start to change my mindset. The other point is if/when a bowler breaks down and we have 2+1 or 1+2 (pacers/spinners) ratio left.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (July 18, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

Incidentally, putting an erroneous theory to bed, a 0-1 or 1-2 win put both South Africa and England on 118 points, but South Africa would go #1 as they would be on 118.08 and England on 117.92. Just a win by one Test gives South Africa a 9 point swing. In contrast, a win by one Test gives England only a 4 point swing. England wins by 2-0 and 3-0 give 8 and 11 point swings respectively, but even a 3-0 win gains England just 4 extra points: in all case of an England series win, South Africa drop more points than South Africa fall.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (July 18, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

Just out of curiousity, how often has England's 4-bowler attack struggled to take 20 wickets? Not often!! The reserve attack could not blow away the West Indian tail in he 3rd Test, but that was with the match already condemned to an almost-certain draw and, I suspect, the intensity had already dropped down because of it. We also let Pakistan get too many in the 1st Test in the UAE but, if those calling for a 5-man attack are honest, they will admit that Plan A has worked on the immense majority of occasions. With pitches still likely to have some spice in them from the wet spring and summer, we should not need a 5th bowler if the other 4 are doing their job!

Posted by landl47 on (July 17, 2012, 13:50 GMT)

Personally, I'd play the extra batsman (Bopara), because I think, given that SA have had little match practice, it will be easier (not easy, just easier) to get them out than to score runs against them. Bopara won't take many wickets at test level, but he's capable of bowling a few overs economically and if he picks up a wicket or two that will be a bonus. Then it comes down to the best three seamers plus Swann. Realistically, it's Bresnan or Finn for the third spot. they have almost identical records; both played 14 tests, Bres 55 wickets @26.09, Finn 56 @27.42. Finn's faster, Bresnan can reverse swing the old ball. Finn's 23 to Bres's 27 and Finn is still improving- he will be the better bowler over his career, but is he yet? Bres is the better bat; both are reliable but not spectacular fielders. I'd go Finn myself because of his extra pace and bounce, but I think Eng will go with Bres and it's hard to argue with that.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 17, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

@ashes61 on (July 17 2012, 09:05 AM GMT) I'd say going for the jugular would be playing both in a 5 man attack. If we're playing 4 only then I prob would keep faith with Bres because he is a specialist with the old ball. I'm with mcheckley on (July 17 2012, 09:40 AM GMT) 100%

Posted by JG2704 on (July 17, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

@Prash Ganen on (July 16 2012, 08:55 AM GMT) May I add to Mikey76s comms that (presuming the 2 SA players who have scored the most runs are Kallis and Smith) they will also have played test cricket for longer than any of our players.

Posted by mcheckley on (July 17, 2012, 12:45 GMT)

I do grow weary of all this talk of A B deVilliers as some sort of backup wicketkeeper who can "do you a job" in an emergency, like Crawley of old for England. This man is a THOROUGHBRED wicketkeeper, in his own style as complete a wicketkeeper-batsman as was Gillchrist. Because his batting is so very good, he forced his way into the team before a wicketkeeping vacancy arose, but he is a time-served, fully experienced wicketkeeper of the highest order. He wil be a tiny bit rusty due to a few years of only doing the job occasionally, but he has been keeping more of late in other forms of the game and a couple of Test Matches will soon see him keeping wicket as well as anyone in the international game. He can do the same job for SA as Stewart did for England for many years - except ABdeV is stronger in both aspects than was Stewart, good as the latter undoubtedly was. If I was planning the future of the SA team I would have ABDeV down as my wicketkeeper for the next decade.

Posted by   on (July 17, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

JG2704, Good point but then who trusts ICC rankings? Harbhajan bowled so badly for 2 years that he got kicked out of the weak bowling Indian team more than a year ago and he is still ranked ahead of current greats like Finn and Tremlett as a bowler. And guess who, as a batsman, is ranked ahead of modern greats like Ponting, Tendulkar, Hussey, Bell, KP, Trott and Jayawerdene? A guy called Azhar Ali. Ali who? That's right, after a century against Bangla, he is in the top 10 and all these others are not!

10 753 Azhar Ali 753 v Sri Lanka, 08/07/2012 12 749 S.R. Tendulkar 898 v Zimbabwe, 21/02/2002 13 723 I.R. Bell 822 v India, 18/08/2011 14 720 Misbah-ul-Haq 771 v England, 25/01/2012 14 720 T.T. Samaraweera 775 v South Africa, 03/01/2012 16 718 K.P. Pietersen 909 v West Indies, 28/05/2007 17 709 I.J.L. Trott 856 v Sri Lanka, 26/05/2011 18 705 M.E.K. Hussey 921 v West Indies, 23/05/2008 19 693 D.P.M.D. Jayawardene 883 v India, 16/11/2009 20 691 R.T. Ponting

Posted by SDHM on (July 17, 2012, 11:06 GMT)

ashes61 - watching our catching in recent ODIs, I find it hard to support your case! We are a more athletic side than South Africa though, so our ground-fielding should, and most probably will, be better. SA seem to put more faith in muscle and strength than all-round fitness like England, and AB de Villiers and Duminy aside, aren't quite as agile in the field as they should be. They make up for it by being safe catchers though - Amla for example, is not a natural fielder, but an excellent catcher at bat-pad positions. On team selection, if Bresnan was fit I'd play both him and Finn and I'd drop Broad as he's been way down on pace so far this year and since Lord's against the Windies has been far less effective because of it. That's never going to happen, so I wouldn't risk Bres and bring Finn in.

Posted by mcheckley on (July 17, 2012, 9:40 GMT)

The issue should not arise; England can afford to play five bowlers. I know they do not have a true allrounder, but they have three very fine bowling allrounders; there will not be many innings in which one of Bresnan, Broad and Swan does not make runs. Prior at 6, Bresnan 7, Broad 8, Swann 9. It's STILL a strong tail. If they insist on just four bowlers plus Bopara (a modern equivalent of four bowlers plus Collingwood) then Bresnan is very hard indeed to leave out because his bowling figures are as good as anyone's and better than most, and, for goodness' sake, the man averages over 40 with a bat in his hand - that's more than Atherton did over an entire career! However, with the three bowling allrounders I would definitely go for an attack with five "proper" bowlers, and I am afraid than means Bopara misses out.

Posted by ashes61 on (July 17, 2012, 9:05 GMT)

Bresnan or Finn? Don't know! Perhaps "go for the jugular" with Finn's pace & improved accuracy as a shock tactic at the start of the tour - after all, one decisive session could secure Test. But those sub-continentals who assume Finn's pace must decide it forget that pace is not everything in ENG. Bowlers who can seam & swing - especially thiis summer - can be very effective. Bresnan is definitely a class act, not a mere "bits & pieces" player. So it's 50/50 for me. One facet which has slipped under the radar is the difference in fielding prowess between ENG & SA. We once lagged woefully behind AUS & SA in fielding, but these days we have the best fielding side in the world. (Yet another ENG boast - but it's true!) SA's athleticism used to be a byeword, and not just Bland & Rhodes.This has fallen off v. badly while ENG's has become very slick indeed.Brilliant fielder de V now keeping? Where to hide Smith or Kallis when slips come out? And watch Tahir in the field - he's SA's Monty!

Posted by sephotrig on (July 16, 2012, 20:44 GMT)

@RandyOZ, yes because every team wants someone who averages 30 opening the batting. Think you should be focussing on that weak, pitiful excuse you call Australia, whats happening to you was predicted 15 years ago by many of your former players, face it mate, the cupboard is bare.

Posted by landl47 on (July 16, 2012, 20:25 GMT)

Actually, RandyOZ, England wish that Hughes was playing for South Africa. If SA had a batsman whose record against England was 154 runs in 9 innings, average 17.2, with a highest score of 36, it would make England's task a whole lot easier.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 19:28 GMT)

Finn should be the third fast bowler behind Anderson and Broad. He is tall , fast and accurate , Bresnan can bat , which can come in handy but he doesn't have pace that Finn can provide.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 18:21 GMT)

Most SA fans still hurt from the two drawn games in Centurion and Cape Town in the 2009 series when we were denied by Onions, twice. For us, he is more dangerous as a batsman than a bowler! I hope he does not play as we would not be able to live down a third time. Broad has also proved someone difficult to dislodge in the lower order. Facts: 1) This tests can go either way and will probably be won/ lost in one single session. 2) The two danger men in the Eng side from a SA perspective are Cook and Anderson and 3) Catches win matches. The team hold its catches will be on top, I reckon. Anyway, hope the series live up to its reputation.

Posted by mikey76 on (July 16, 2012, 16:14 GMT)

Prash Ganen, once again like many other people on here you believe that this England side is full of SA players. We have 2 out of 11 that are bonafide South Africans. South Africa have a Pakistani spinner so really it's 6 to 1 and half a dozen of the other. Not sure how you work out that SA has a better batting line up either? Alviro Petersen is average at best, while they still don't know who there best no.6 is. All our top 8 with the exception of Bopara average over 40, while Broad averages 30+. You need to know what you are talking about before publishing these things.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 16, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer on (July 16 2012, 10:49 AM GMT) re "Nick Compton's form fell off dramatically after May" . Just wondering how you worked that out exactly? He had one inns vs WI where he scored 21 (so fair enough) and then was ran out for 0 vs SA but surely getting run out does not show there's much wrong with form. The only CC games he played in June was vs Worcs (this ended in June but could have been late May) and against Middx where he scored 1 (poor) but then 69 not out in a game saving inns. I believe you're a Middx fan so I thought you'd remember that as it was the one game we had rained off where the other side would feel more aggrieved

Posted by JG2704 on (July 16, 2012, 15:12 GMT)

@Herbet on (July 16 2012, 09:35 AM GMT) I too think SA should go with 5 bowlers. I think some of it depends on who you have as a 6th batsman against who you have as a 5th bowler. Aus have Hussey coming in at 6 , now I doubt they'll have a 5th bowler who will do a better job with the ball than Hussey with the bat. India - when they were on top would have VVS coming in at 6 - same thing as with Hussey. Eng would have Bopara/Morgan or Bairstow against Finn or Onions and I know who I would have more faith in. SA have Tsotsobe (presumably) as their 5th bowler so if you're saying Tsotsobe or Dumminy I'd go for the former

Posted by JG2704 on (July 16, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

@DirkL on (July 16 2012, 08:03 AM GMT) I can see where you're coming from. I think player rankings do change all the time and if you name those 4 England players as class batsmen you'd certainly have to include Smith and Amla as class batsmen for SA regardless of the rankings.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 16, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

@ Vinay Kolhatkar on (July 16 2012, 06:41 AM GMT) Tsotsobe is another decent bowler (if he is on the bench). May I ask if you know much about their bench strength? Just that because you or I know little about their reserve players doesn't mean they are significantly worse. Who outside of SA knew about Phillander a year or so ago. BTW it won't be 3-1 to either side.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 16, 2012, 15:10 GMT)

@ rahulcricket007 on (July 16 2012, 03:29 AM GMT) Don't agree with you at all. Aus recently won in SL , Eng won in Aus end of 2011 and in the last 3 series between SA and Aus have been drawn or won by the away side. But then you know all that already

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 16, 2012, 13:17 GMT)

I bet England wished they had Phil Hughes to call upon. He is absolutely carving up the (albeit weak) county system.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (July 16, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

@Herbert, some interesting names. Nick Compton's form fell off dramatically after May. He had a poor game for the Lions v West Indies, which probably ended his chances of making a Test debut then and has passed 26 just once in his last 10 innings, making a duck v South Africa. James Hildreth is in excellent form, but he has not even had a ODI or a T20 to test his mettle, so it is hard to imagine that the selectors would put him in the Test side cold. As for James Taylor, there have been a lot of protests about his omission but, by his own admission, he has found the step up from Division 2 to Division 1 to be tough; how much tougher would a further step up to the Test side be? He is beginning to show some signs of form, but he is averaging 28.4 so far in Division 1 (5 Notts players average over 40), which is not a strong case for a call-up.

Posted by SuperSharky on (July 16, 2012, 10:36 GMT)

This is mouthwatering bouncy stuff. Why can't it be Thursday already ??? No-matter what track, I want to see if all the negative comments towards Imran Tahir was worth it. I reckon Paul Harris played a part in South Africa's Series win last time and I have no doubt that Tahir will take some wickets where a lot of people expected he wouldn't. And Graeme Swann will perform as always. The Broad, Anderson, Finn and Onions train vs the Morkel, Steyn, Tsotsobe and Philander train. Allrounders, Bresnan vs Kallis. Keepers, Prior vs AB De Villiers. And the batsmen; Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell and Bopara vs Smith, Amla, Rudolph, Alviro Petersen and Duminy. Let the Tests begin !!!!!

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (July 16, 2012, 9:54 GMT)

Fast_track_Bully, South Africa has already blown two chances to go #1 in the last 9 months. What has changed to make it so much easier this time?

Posted by Herbet on (July 16, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

A lot of people are saying that England should not pick Bopara at 6 and would be better of picking a 5th specialist bowler. Well surely the same applies to South Afric and JP Duminy. Surely South Africa would be better off picking a specialist wicket keeper rather than lumbering one of their best batsmen with the gloves, and drop Duminy. Or pick one of their excellent back up bowlers instead and go in with 5. Duminy's record in tests in general is poor and against England pretty lamentable. If Daryl Cullinan was Shane Warne's bunny, then he is Swann's.

Posted by zenboomerang on (July 16, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

@bobagorof... New to cricket?...Never heard of Shane Watson? - 59 wkts... How about Allan Border - underused by himself but 39 wkts... Mark Waugh 59 wkts... Steve Waugh 92 wkts... Oz as most teams would like to have a batsman/bowler - Doug (KD) Walters comes to mind... It is also current Oz policy (NSP) to encourage batsmen to bowl, as can be seen with Clarke, Hussey, Warner whom all have good bowling averages for batsmen...

Posted by tjsimonsen on (July 16, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

@zenboomerang: Don't know where you have your stats from. According to StatsGuru, Thommo's average in England against England is 31, whereas Lee's is a whopping 45! True, Lillee's much better, but then he relied as much on movement and accuracy as pace.

Posted by Herbet on (July 16, 2012, 9:14 GMT)

I'm not convinced by Bopara at 6, he's a weak link, but is better than Morgan who can't play outside his off stump, and Bairstow who can't handle bouncers. Compton, Hildritch or Taylor might have been worth a shout against anyone other than SA, but you can't risk a debut against them. I am worried by SA's bowlers; I don't know much about Philander but his stats are incredible, Steyn is the best bowler in the world at the moment probably and Morkel can be dangerous when on form, but can be Harmison-esque. But Peterson is an unproven opener, they've lumbered ABdV with the gloves, Duminy has no clue against spin and Swann will come on the moment he comes in, Rudolph's test record is less than sparkling and Tahir isn't as good as Swann, or Saeed Ajmal. I'd say England are sligh favourites so long as we keep a lid on Smith, Kallis and Amla and Steyn doesn't have the series of his life.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 16, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

Trott, Pietersen, Bell and Bopara can all 'bowl a little', whilst the likes of Bresnan, Broad and Swann are 'bowlers who can bat'. Anderson has also been a good nightwatchman in the past. It will be interesting to see how England rotate their squad!

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

SA have a far suprior batting lineup than Englands. For example Smith is over 8000 runs and I believe Kallis is over or close to 10k. Most of them have scored at least 12 test hundreds and two of them have over 20. Also averages are in the mid 40s. They bat well overseas and at home. They've got a very good bowling attack with a lot of experience. This test series really is a bit like SA v SA. A lot of the players in the current England team are South African.Remove all of those and what are they left with?

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (July 16, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

The only option to threaten SA is spinners and turning tracks...which is an impossible task for England too...So, I think SA can ensure its no:1 position in tests.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 16, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

@rezmata, Morgan is greatin ODI's and T20's but has been undone in the longer forms of the game as he is programmed to play ODI style shots through the slips, he needs a full season in FC cricekt to get this sorted out.

Posted by Hammond on (July 16, 2012, 8:09 GMT)

Who would leave Bresnan out? He is statistically the best all-rounder in the world at the moment.

Posted by DirkL on (July 16, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

@Vinay "In batting, England have 4 world class batsmen in Cook, Trott, KP and Bell whilst SA have two in Kallis and AB." Please drop a hint to the ICC Player Rankings people, they don't seem to have got that message yet. Top 10 includes four SA players at nos 3,4,6 and 10 vs England's one at 9.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

No doubt England has both strength in both batting & bowling with added advantage of momentum, having won everything in sight (Of course, with BIG exception of World-Cup 2011) last couple of years including the Ashes.

But due to the decline in other teams esp wrt fast bowling, English batting has not been really tested. Now, comes the time when this will happen with SA too boasting of comparable fire power - 4 fast bowlers to pick from (Steyn, M. Morkel, Philander & Ttotsobe/A. Morkel). There's Kallis of course too. Imran Tahir is a better spinner than any from West Indies, Australia or even India. Just recall the torrid time that Pakistani spinners gave the present batting lineup of England, not so long ago.

So, it is not a foregone conclusion that England are the favorites to win. The outcome will surely rest on which of the two formidable bowling outfits emerges more successful. SA must watchout for & keep in check, its tendency to self-destruct by choking severly in tense moments

Posted by maddy20 on (July 16, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

@MrPontingToYou Last I checked, he toyed with the listless Aussies too. I would rate Bopara above Watson any day. The best part is he lets his bat do the talking and does not make silly remarks about the opposition's team balance which in the end make him look very silly!

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

how can anyone even consider leaving Bresnan out?

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

With Delange out, SA's attack clearly has less bench strength than England's. SA have 3 good seamers, England has 5 including Tremlett (6 if you include Onions). Swann is better than Tahir. Injuries happen so SA is vulnerable in its attack. In batting, England have 4 world class batsmen in Cook, Trott, KP and Bell whilst SA have two in Kallis and AB. Strauss is in better form than Smith. Prediction: SAf to remain the perpetual bridesmaid, 3-1 to England.

Posted by Hammond on (July 16, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

I really like Onions. Best headline I've ever seen from 2009 "Onions makes Aussie eyes water" after he took fourfa in the third test. Good tall wicket to wicket bowler with decent pace and movement. If he wasn't unlucky to be in this exceptional England squad, he would be playing for any side in the world.

Posted by rezmata on (July 16, 2012, 6:13 GMT)

Moergan is a better player. Ravi hasnt proven himself much yet. Morgan should be in. Big Mistake!!!

Posted by   on (July 16, 2012, 5:47 GMT)

While I see where people are coming from in suggesting we should play five specialist bowlers, there are four compelling reasons why we should stick to fielding our now-customary four-man attack: 1. The conditions. It'll be seaming & swinging all over the place: four seamers (Bopara counts as a legitimate fourth in current conditions; *and* given his recent bowling form) will get the job done just as efficiently & quickly as five. 2. The Saffers have a long tail, which - if his embarrassing travails against both pace & swing in the 2009-10 series are anything to go by - starts with Duminy at No. 7. 3. Against an attack as potent as South Africa's, we *will* need a firefighting No. 6 at some stage during the series. & 4. Bopara is in such scintillating form with both bat & ball at the mo that it'd be a criminal waste to leave him on the sidelines.

Posted by zenboomerang on (July 16, 2012, 4:03 GMT)

@MattyP1979... Agree, think Ravi is a sound pick for no.6 atm in a 6-1-4 team... Unless there are injuries think the bowlers pick themselves...

Posted by zenboomerang on (July 16, 2012, 3:33 GMT)

@Chris_P :- "Thommo's lightning bolts didn't have any impact against the Poms" & "Seam & swing is the main weapon that succeeds in England"... Pretty inaccurate observation on Thommo... Thommo in Eng averaged @16... Lillee @23... McDermott @12... Lee @18... World class bowling averages & all fast bowlers... Thommo has one of the better averages against Eng in Eng... Also seem to remember a number of WI & Pak fast bowlers that did very well in England...

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (July 16, 2012, 3:29 GMT)


Posted by satish619chandar on (July 16, 2012, 3:20 GMT)

England should really try out five bowling options.. Not because they need backup for the already marvellous attack, but Bresnan looks far better bat than the no.6 picked in recent times.. Bopara does merit chance but it would do no harm for England to try Finn, Anderson, Broad, Bresnan, Swann attack.. With Prior, Bresnan, Broad and Swann in good form with bat and Anderson and Finn can dig in as support, they can really afford to have 5 bowler attack..

Posted by nafzak on (July 16, 2012, 2:17 GMT)

hey Marlboro 19.. no so quick. Ain't no way N.Hussain would captain over Kanhai. Also what about Sonny Ramadhin, Len Baichan, Faoud Bacchus, Inshan Al, Rapheek Jumadeen, Deryck Murray, Dinesh Ramdin, Joe Solomon and a whole lot more from Guyana and Trinidad.

Posted by threeslipsandagully on (July 16, 2012, 1:20 GMT)

@RandyOZ Onions takes his wickets at 29.90 apiece, with a strike rate of 50.1. Quite the opposite of a "huge blow".

Posted by mikey76 on (July 16, 2012, 1:05 GMT)

Onions inclusion just for cover, Bresnan and Finn are the ones battling it out. See a real opening with Petersen, he doesn't look a test opener to me. Kallis record in England is shocking and AB now has the gloves which must be a distraction. Amla and Smith are the key wickets. If we can get on top of those two then SA has a long tail. Steyn & Morkel haven't exactly set the world alight in the county matches while KP has just smashed a double ton, Strauss a ton while Bell, Cook and Bopara have been in top nick in the one-dayers. Defo advantage England for the first test.

Posted by bobagorof on (July 16, 2012, 0:50 GMT)

Interesting how the No. 1 Test teams over the last 20 years haven't had an all-rounder. I remember hearing (I don't know if it was from an Australian or an Englishman) that they needed an all-rounder to provide better 'balance', but the top teams from the 90s (West Indies, Australia) and 00s (Australia, India, England) haven't had an all-rounder during their march to the top. They've relied on 4 specialist bowlers and 6 specialist batsmen. I also remember England striving to find an all-rounder during the late 90's/early 00's and it weakened their team, as they tried Mark Ealham, Craig White and then Andrew Flintoff. If you've got 4 specialist bowlers who can't do the job, what's an extra guy going to do?

Posted by MattyP1979 on (July 16, 2012, 0:45 GMT)

Some indifferent comments here on Ravi. Personally i think he is a pretty good player. I feel he fits the team nicely being a decent fielder and can bowl a few too. Wish him all the best as I think he will be needed. As for comments about Bresnan, you cannot replace him with Finn, they are not like for like. Finn is cover and will get his chance, if he replaces anyone it should be Broad.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (July 16, 2012, 0:38 GMT)

Some two eyed comments on here, that is the biggest suprise of the day. This will be a fantastic contest by easily the 2 best sides in cricket right now. WHich ever way it goes none of us really knows but I beleive Eng are favourites. Hope for a great series and the weather improves, this is by far the wettest drought I have ever known lol.

Posted by Meety on (July 15, 2012, 23:55 GMT)

@@mrm2011in - IF speed was everything, Oz would of won the last Ashes as all their bowlers were faster than England's. So speed is not as critical as accuracy & lateral movement.

Posted by Chris_P on (July 15, 2012, 23:53 GMT)

@@mrm2011in. Agree with Hammond, but take it a step further. Have you ever played competitive cricket? Extreme pace means squat in England. case in point, Thommo's lightning bolts didn't have any impact against the Poms, whilst Terry Alderman's 130kph swing bowling netted him 83 wickets in 2 series. Seam & swing is the main weapon that succeeds in England, if you can do it with pace, that is a bonus.

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 15, 2012, 23:43 GMT)

Onions in the squad? Oh dear. Huge blow for England. Bopara looked good in the ODIs so good luck to him.

Posted by jb633 on (July 15, 2012, 23:34 GMT)

Seems to be a fair few people commenting negatively about the Bopara selection. At the end of the day he performed well in the ODI series in UAE and then against Oz. Personally I think Morgan is the better player, but after his shocker in the UAE, it had to be Bopara. I hear that we are meant to have a dry week this week. Lets pary the weather God's favour these green pastures.

Posted by Hammond on (July 15, 2012, 23:03 GMT)

@mrm2011in- Have you ever actually faced someone bowling at 140kmh? In my view anyone who regularly is in the one 140's is clearly NOT a medium pacer. 150kmh is truly exceptionally fast and not many in the history of the game have hit 150 regularly. Bresnan, Broad, Finn & Onions are all "Fast" bowlers and Anderson can bowl that quick when he wants to as well, except that he is concentrating on swing bowling and it's more difficult to control at faster speeds. To me England clearly have more firepower in the fast bowling department than any international test team, and that also goes for South Africa as well.

Posted by gibbs.175 on (July 15, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

SA has poor smith....if he wants to play in test ,he should leave the captainship...and try to make some runs on the board to give a good start....otherwise i m sure SA openners can not make 50 runs for first wcket in all test matches (if smith play as opnners)

Posted by RodStark on (July 15, 2012, 22:47 GMT)

Should be a really fascinating series. Both teams are pretty settled. For England, the number 6 position is the only missing piece in the jigsaw, and it seems like Bopara now has the right amount of experiece and is in good enough form to solve the puzzle. Letting him settle in at number 6 for an extended run (not doing stupid things like trying to make him into a number 3 against Australia in 2009) should give him every chance to succeed. And, on a much less important note, he does provide a better 5th bowling option than Trott. For SA, the main doubts have to be whether De Villiers is really up to standard as a test-class keeper and whether they've had enough warm-up preparation. They also have few players like Tahir, Rudolph, and perhaps Peterson and Philander, who haven't really proven themselves over an extended peiod yet as 10 of England's XI have--which is not to say that they're not good players, just that it's a bit early to say yet. It should be fun if the rain stays away.

Posted by Saffie1987 on (July 15, 2012, 22:31 GMT)

@Robster1, to South-Africa's attack decent is huge understatement! I'd understand if you'd call the Kiwi's attack or the West-Indies attack decent, but South-africa, just like England have World Class attacks!!!

Posted by marlboro19 on (July 15, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

btw i think we have enough player of Indian decent who didn't play/have never played for India to make a separate team- captained by N.Hussain, openers- Hamish Amla and R. Bopara, middle order- M.ramprakash , s.chanrapaul , A. KAllicharan, Rohan Kanhai pacers :R.Rampaul, spinners : M.Paneser , sunil naraine still need a w/c though. any improvements ?

Posted by marlboro19 on (July 15, 2012, 22:02 GMT)

wow, that's gonna make it more spicy :) sorry , i had to say it.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 15, 2012, 22:01 GMT)

@Vinay Kolhatkar on (July 15 2012, 09:39 AM GMT) Broad and Bres are 2 different bowlers. We should not really compare them as Broad is a new ball bowler whereas Bres is better with the old ball. Bres's stats might well have come down (as did most with the bat in UAE) and Broad has been one of our most consistent bowlers in the last year or so. Also Broad's batting has twice helped Eng out of bad situations - vs Pak in 2010 when he and Trott came together after losing 6 cheap wickets and vs India last year when India ripped through our batsmen and looked like bowling us out for less than 150. He was also man of the series there.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 15, 2012, 21:55 GMT)

@Rob.Thorley on (July 15 2012, 08:46 AM GMT) Definitely 13 names there

Posted by JG2704 on (July 15, 2012, 21:54 GMT)

@mrm2011in on (July 15 2012, 17:20 PM GMT) What's this obsession with pace? Glen Mcgrath was one of the best in recent years and he's not express pace.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 15, 2012, 21:54 GMT)

Interesting to see more and more comms going for the 5/1/5. It's also my preferred formation with Monty being the 5th bowler in SC and Finn or Onions in UK , but TBH it aint going to happen. Reckon the 11 with be very predictable Strauss,Cook,Trott,KP,Bell,Bopara,Prior,Bres,Broad,Swann,Anderson

Posted by JG2704 on (July 15, 2012, 21:53 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith on (July 15 2012, 12:48 PM GMT) You have a point but by the same token both guys had plenty of overs against the WI tail. I put that Onions outperformed Finn in that test but that was more to a poster who queries Onions being in the squad. I think Onions has been doing very well in the county game. I'd be happy with either player

Posted by Buggsy on (July 15, 2012, 20:10 GMT)

England win the series 1-0. The other two Tests are washed out.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 19:50 GMT)

I would like to see Finn in playing eleven

Posted by landsite on (July 15, 2012, 19:39 GMT)

All you Bopara haters will be shocked when Bopara comes to the rescue coz England aint that hot as you think.BTW Bopara is always picked when the opposition is tough,remember how Bell was given the chance to re-ignite his chances against Bangladesh.Whats become of Joyce and Morgan,England needs a full Saffie team so stop banging on about Bopara.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 15, 2012, 19:34 GMT)

@mrm2011in, (post on July 15 2012, 17:20 PM GMT): what does that matter? Speed alone does not bowl sides out in tests. Fast + straight with no consistency, plan, stamina etc. will seldom win matches. I'd have Finn and Steyn in my team anytime over any of the others you mentioned. Look at what all this talk about 'Australia's battery of super-fast bowlers' mounted to in the recent series... The best bowlers in the series were Finn, Bresnan and McKay (oh and don't forget Bopara!). Now that hardly sounds like a fearsome quartet of ultra-fast bowlers to me! You?

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

england has inly one fast bowleer that is finn.SA has two in the shape of steyn and morkel.Amla will make 100 in this test!!!

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 18:08 GMT)

The side that bowls well will win the series, both teams look well balanced on that count, England should go in with the tried and trusted combo of Anderson,Broad, Bresnan and Swann while the Proteas in all likelyhood field Steyn,Morkel,Philander and Tahir. It looks to be a cracker of a contest for sure.

Posted by cleanfox on (July 15, 2012, 17:46 GMT)

SA and England have great players. I think the SA factor will be the deciding factor -by that i mean the English players with their SA connection and a highly motivated SA side will dictate the course of the match. Its going to be absorbing but England have had a good season thus far.SA are a bit underdone.Then there is the Boucher factor-its a match marked " for Bouch" I tip a good draw........

Posted by mrm2011in on (July 15, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

5 fast bowlers???england not have single genuine FAST some extent yes finn is special talent and got bit of pace but he is inconsistent when it comes to bowling 145+ all the time..steyn can bowl 150+ when he is on song....only few bowlers after lee is bowling at 140-145+ consistently in every spell of test match and those are ROach,Umesh yadav,johnson if fit,

Posted by Robster1 on (July 15, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

Got a feeling that Bopara will again struggle against a really decent test attack as in South Africa's. Boucher will of course be a loss for SA too. can the weather please improve - there hasn't been a single warm, dry day in England this summer. And what a shame this isn't a five longer series. Too many pointless ODIs.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

This will be a cracker of a series, but England may have the edge playing at home. I reckon for the next few years, the top ranked team would be the one that has the best 'fast bowling' attack, coupled with a very good spin bowler. That team looks like England at the moment.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 16:21 GMT)

England are looking very strong: swinging conditions and their wagging tail will help them win the series. South Africa are very rusty, fragile at the top, and Morkel could self-detonate at any time. Boucher's absence actually strengthens the batting line-up because it allows Duminy in at 7. England to win the series 2-1, with SA taking the dead rubber match!

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 16:10 GMT)

@threeslipsandagully Bairstow is weak against genuine pace and steyn and morkel are both genuinely quick makes sense to drop him

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 15:36 GMT)

england is favourite for oval test england selected 5 fast bowlers for oval test. i think eng should go with stuart broad, james andersen, and steven finn.

Posted by Sinhaya on (July 15, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

England has some great batting depth. I think worth playing Steven Finn along with Anderson, Broad, Swann and Bresnan and worth dropping Bairstow. South African batting lacks depth as they mainly depend on Smith, Kallis, Amla and De Villiers. England having 5 specialist bowlers will mean they will be invincible at home. South African tail is flimsy than England. Looking at SA bowling, Morkel and Philander have been consistent than Steyn who can go for runs at times. Three of England's 5 bowlers can occasionally bat well too.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

Nice to see genuine English boys coming up fast, who can gradually replace the imports. In bowling, FINN is the best example. For allrounder- BRESNAN. In ODI's BELL didn't make us miss KP at all. BAIRSTAW will surely bounce back. Many have mentioned Nick COMPTON. Even for the genial captain Strauss, there is a potential replacement for the opening slot in the form of the very very young ROOTES. Good foreboding ... Looking for the day I can watch and clap for a genuine English team ruling cricket world... as I used to in my young days.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

comparing the two teams, i think eng have better chances to win the series and retain their spot(no1). Meanwhile, ravi bopara deserves no6 spot.But eng captain certainly have the headach to pick the bowlers........

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 13:33 GMT)

This will be a good series... these two are the best Test teams at the moment.All others have fallen behind quite a bit.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 15, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

Makes perfect sense to me. Onions is there as a suitable bowling replacement; ODI is a totally different format I know, but most of these guys will have gelled well together and if they can continue that form in the test arena, this will be one fantastic showdown with SA. Was 50:50 with me a few months ago... to be honest, not much has changed! Boucher will be missed by SA, but ultimately it's the bowling that defines test cricket and both teams are bountiful!

Posted by Moneypenny on (July 15, 2012, 13:03 GMT)

Don't call these slightly quick spinners "Fast Bowlers". Malcolm Marshall will be very upset in heavens.

Posted by threeslipsandagully on (July 15, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

I'm not sure why the England selectors insist on persisting with Bopara, he's proved on several occasions that he can't cut it at Test level and has been given more chances than anyone. If they were set on dropping Bairstow I'd have much rather seen Nick Compton, who remains the most prolific FC batsman in England in 2012, in his place ahead of Bopara or Morgan. It's great to see Graham Onions retaining his place though, he's been extremely unlucky with injuries and has always looked impressive with the ball. Either he or Finn could make a valuable contribution if Bresnan isn't fit for the first Test.

Posted by TheMightyPirates on (July 15, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

England with Anderson, Broad, Finn, Bresnan and Swann become an even more threatening and potent team. Having five quality bowlers will keep constant pressure on the quality SA batting order and restrict the scoring of their dangerous middle order stroke players. Bresnan and Broad in particular, as well as Swann, give England substantial depth in the lower order and offer these now experienced players a chance to step up and create an even more dynamic and diverse team. The series will rest on the performance of the bowlers for each team as both batting line ups are stacked with quality players in form. Finn is the quickest of the English and deserves a spot based on his recent performances and potency as a more mature cricketer than the one who kept bowling short to Hussey and Haddin in 2010/11. Bopara is a fine county batsmen and a useful medium pacer, however his four wickets in ODI's against the Australians counts for little coming into a TEST series against the South Africans

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (July 15, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

Just to put the record straight... Had the simple catches been taken off Finn's bowling no-one would be saying Onions outbowled Finn... Finn bowled a couple of great spells that created more chances (that were put down) than Onions and Finn was the more penetrating bowler... That is not ''out-bowled on that occasion by Onions''...

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

England has came through a long way , as is evident in tesr ranking, pacers are in weighting list , when will they get their turn , symbol of great team ,i want them to win because of one noble man i,e Andrew strauss ,good guy ...

Posted by landl47 on (July 15, 2012, 12:17 GMT)

The only surprise to me is that Onions is in the squad. I'm wondering if that means Bresnan, who was rested from the last ODI against Aus with a sore elbow, is not 100% yet and Onions is there as cover? Bopara, whose first-class average is 42 to Morgan's 36, deserves another chance. His last serious run in the England team was in 2009, when he was just turning 24, so he's a more mature player now and a better batsman. He can bowl a few economical overs as second-change to give the seamers a break, as well. It's good to see that it wasn't thought necessary to have cover for Swann in the squad. The only question is whether Finn plays instead of Bresnan- I can't see England going with someone whose FC average is 28 at #7 against this SA attack, so one of Finn and Bresnan will miss out. If Bres's elbow IS dodgy, then likely it will be him, otherwise England might go with the extra batting strength Bres provides. P.S. Count 'em again, Rob.

Posted by duncanmoo on (July 15, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

Bopara played the off season in South Africa for the Dolphins I think, got him some additional exposure to SA players. Hope he does well.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

England are on a high! They need to now pick up Trophies as they move along.

Posted by ashes61 on (July 15, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

Whatever the final XI, this is the best "strength in depth" we've had in Test cricket since the mid-1950s. We were also the best around 1970/1 but only briefly (and the Saffers would contest that statement anyway) and our strong dominance over AUS in the late '70s & '80s originated in the Packer Curcus defections Down Under and coincided with overall W Indies superiority, so the current No 1 status (actual rather than mere ICC rankings) is the clearest for nearly 60 years. Once again, built on a top rate bowling attack with plenty of bowling reserves ready to come in without weakening the side one bit. I suspect this series & the India tour will widen the gap too.

Posted by Meety on (July 15, 2012, 11:34 GMT)

Honestly - a month ago I would of said the Saffas would definately win this battle. I am not so sure for 2 reasons; 1) The Saffas haven't really had match practise - & that is important, 2) England's performance v Oz in the ODIs, different format, but MAY suggest either an increased comfortability in the playing group or extra depth - dunno but either way it SHOULD lead to better performance! This is shaping up to be cricket's RUMBLE in the JUNGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by aarfeen on (July 15, 2012, 11:30 GMT)

I guess the selector should have given another chance to MORGAN especially bcoz S.A dont have saeed ajmal ..rahman ..hafeez..etc.

Posted by Markdal on (July 15, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

As much as I hate to admit it, England is the #1 ranked Test team. That's a big rap on the selectors as well as the players, so I wouldn't be criticising too many of their selections! Bopara at 6, with Finn and Onions the unlucky losers. England wish they had that sort of depth 15-20 years ago.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

With the batting ability of Bresnan, Broad and Swann, England would be better served playing 5 bowlers rather than have Bopara (or any of the other inferior options) batting at 6. The standard team line-ups are based on the standard quality of available players, but when a team has a distinct advantage in the skill levels of a certain type of player (ie England's current crop of quicks) you should play to your strengths. Onions and Tremlett are test class, but Anderson, Broad, Bresnan and Finn all should be in the best England XI

Posted by TontonZolaMoukoko on (July 15, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

People who think that Bopara is an all rounder clearly don't know English cricket that well, it's like calling Sehwag/Tendulkar/Ganguly an all rounder when they are all clearly batsmen who can bowl a bit. I am sceptical as to whether Bopara is good enough at test match level but he's scored good runs in county cricket and deserves his chance.

Posted by brusselslion on (July 15, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

Re Tremlett: He is just back bowling for Surrey after back surgery. He's played a couple of 2nd XI matches, a handful of 20/20 games and completed his 1st championship game this past week. I doubt that he will have played enough cricket to be considered during this series but, personally, I would like to see him taken to India this winter. Finn caused the Indian batsmen problems with his speed and bounce in last winter's ODIs and Tremlett could do the same. (Yes, I know who would you leave out?; nice problem to have).

Re the SA series: This should be a cracker. The two best bowling attacks in the world operating on wickets which should suit them both. Result too close to call.

Hope that Bopara manages to cement his place in the team. A good, exiciting player who has been unlucky with injuries coming at unfortuante times.

Posted by mlewis185 on (July 15, 2012, 10:47 GMT)


Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

awesome attack of anderson, broad. Then when the SA batsmen think they are settled, in comes finn and bresnan. If they are 5 down within 30 odd overs they have contend with swanny, there hasn't been this much depth in an england attack for years. Why bopara, don't need another bowl/bat, give morgan another go in english conditions. I feel that both bat and bowl are balanced right, no need to go anywhere just yet. it is chopping and changing that unsettles an 'in form' side.

Posted by Samiiiii on (July 15, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

i agree with u , i also personally feel that ravi bopara is not a technicaly sound batsman. we can use him in t.20 & ODI's . bt not in tests. becoz test is only for pure batsmans game.

Posted by MrPontingToYou on (July 15, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

Bo-peep has only made runs against the 'mighty' windies, its going to be fun watching him get blown away by Steyn, Morkel etc.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (July 15, 2012, 10:29 GMT)

Trenlett is still feeling his way back slowly from injury. After a spell in the 2nd XI he has played some T20 and one First Class match in which he took 1-82 (the rained-off game v Lancs). He's a long way from being ready for Tests and it is doubtful that he would be risked on tour any longer anyway,

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

The selectors think Bopara is Test material, and that is all that matters.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

Bopara is an average all rounder and can only struggle to make an impact at test level Neither his bowling nor his batting are upto test class He may be impressive on the county circuit but that's simply not good enough England are better off going with specialist bowlers who can bat or vice versa than bits and pieces chaps

Posted by allblue on (July 15, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

There used to be a time when the announcement of an England squad was newsworthy because there would be a fascination to see who had been plucked off the merry-go-round this week. These days we can all name the squad in advance because we finally have a proper selection procedure by people who know what they're doing. As long as Bresnan's elbow is ok the First XI will play, which is as it should be. I think Ravi goes into this game with a huge amount of goodwill from England supporters, we want him to succeed because he is a high quality cricketer and if he can make that jump and establish himself he will be a real asset to England for years to come. We can also be sure that he has been told that he is now the man in possession, and he will be given time to secure his place. That no-6 spot is his for the taking. The days of new batsmen batting on a trapdoor (think Ramps etc) are thankfully long gone. Can't wait till Thursday!

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 10:06 GMT)


Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 9:53 GMT)

Where's the Hercules? I mean chris Tremlett?He should be in the team.!

Posted by thebarmyarmy on (July 15, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

Where is Tremlett? I still feel Morgan has more of a future with England at test level. Cant judge Morgan on the Asian tour last year.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

why do they assume that bresnan is inferior to broad? recently he has bowled and batted better than broad. Finn should be a certainty, he is the only one with raw pace. If a 5 man attack plays, bres bats at 7 behind Prior. otherwise bopara plays and broad is the one who should miss out. onions should not be there. wonder what happens when tremlett is fully fit.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

Ravi Bopara has had several chances but has not really met the challenges of test cricket, I think he will follow Graeme Hick and Mark Ramprakash talented but will not be able to step up. I would personally select Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn and drop Broad. I think Stuart Broad is overrated and his tantrums are not good for cricket .

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (July 15, 2012, 9:32 GMT)

Morgan 16 Tests/24 Innings/2 Centuries/30.43Avg...Bopara 12 Tests/17 Innings/3 Centuries/34.56Avg. Keep in mind Bopara had a stop start test career while Morgan got an extended run til the UAE disaster. Not out of the question that Bopara has been short changed by the selectors. Bad debut under Vaughn in SL...recalled a year later for WI home and away where he scored 3 tons then had a bad ashes 2009, the guy who replaced him at the Oval test is now a legend in his own right and Ravi never got a look after that. Maybe the selectors were too quick to give the #6 spot to Morgan but anyway Bopara is back and I hope he secures the #6 spot with both bat and ball.

Posted by rajattiwaari on (July 15, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

WOW!! What a team. The only weak link is bopara. I am sure there are better batsman than him in the ENG setup. Steyn & co will destroy him.Rest of the players in this ENG team are probably among the best in the world.

Posted by Min2_cric on (July 15, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

eng is going to lose...congrats SA...

Posted by SamRoy on (July 15, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

Don't play Bopara if you want to win. Better play, 5 batsmen and 5 bowlers. Anyway, Prior is a specialist batsman and Bresnan, Broad and Swann are very capable with the bat. Play either Finn or Onions.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 9:10 GMT)

Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooodddddddd...But Will Enough To STEYN??????????

Posted by Jezinho on (July 15, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

I would be tempted to include both Finn and Bresnan alongside Jimmy, Broad and Swann with Prior batting at six and Bres at seven. That leaves us with a tail that can wag if the top order fails and enough firepower to give us a chance of getting 20 wickets.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (July 15, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

The only surprise is he adding of the 13th man to the squad, presumably as a thank-you to Onions and encouragement to keep going to re-gain his place. The final XI is totally predictable, with Finn and Onions the discards.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

Finally Bopara is in............a great player,

Posted by skumar8494 on (July 15, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

Ravi Bopara is expected, so no surprise in the team. as per me, Tim Bresnan should play in XI

Posted by Rob.Thorley on (July 15, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

Who's no. 13? I only count 12...

Posted by   on (July 15, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

unfortunately, bopara is not a test batsman. nor is he a test no 6 all rounder.england right now are a 10 man team

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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