England v South Africa, 1st Investec Test, The Oval, 3rd day

Remove Smith, but it's Kallis next

Plays of the Day from day two of the first Test between England and South Africa

George Dobell and Firdose Moonda at The Oval

July 21, 2012

Comments: 64 | Text size: A | A

Tim Bresnan and Matt Prior celebrate the end of South Africa's second-wicket partnership, England v South Africa, 1st Investec Test, The Oval, 3rd day, July 21, 2012
Tim Bresnan lifted England with a wicket, but it was short-lived joy © Getty Images
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Stat of the Day
When Graeme Smith became the seventh batsmen to score a hundred in his 100th Test, that was a remarkable statistic on its own - but there was a more unusual one doing the rounds as well. Veteran journalist Qamar Ahmed has been witness to four of those. Ahmed, who has lived and worked in England for much of his writing career, has seen Javed Miandad, Alec Stewart and Inzamam-ul-Haq reaching their landmarks. He was also in England when Cowdrey achieved the feat, at Edgbaston, but did not make it to the ground in time to see it. Asked which one of the hundreds he thought was the best, Ahmed found it tough to decide but said of Smith's: "It wasn't pretty at all, was it?"

Standing ovation of the Day
Five of the seven hundreds Smith has racked up against England have been in front of English crowds. They are used to him muscling his way to a big score and they don't really like it. You can tell by the noise. As Smith ground out his first fifty, at a strike rate that did not even reach 35, they waited for him to make a mistake with an expectant, hushed silence. As he freed his arms during the second, which came up in only 41 balls, they grew quieter still. Then, when he slashed at a full, wide Tim Bresnan delivery to bring up three figures before lunch, they exploded. Smith received applause from all quarters but got an even more thunderous reception when he inside-edged Bresnan on to his stumps 31 runs later. Every member of the full house was on their feet as massive applause ushered Smith back to the changing room. It said, "We may not like it, but we respect it."

Telling moment of the Day
England have utilised the DRS pretty well in recent times. Though Stuart Broad, in particular, can prove excitable, Andrew Strauss' calm manner and the policy of only reviewing if the captain, bowler and wicketkeeper all agree has led to England enjoying a measure of success with their calls. So it was an indication of their desperation that they called for a review with Smith on 108 and South Africa on 213 for 1. Replays showed that, not only did Tim Bresnan's delivery pitch outside the line of leg stump, but Smith also hit it. As leg before appeals go, it really had very little going for it.

Chilling moment of the Day
England's joy at ending Smith's marathon innings was short-lived. While they were naturally delighted at finally ending the stay of a man with 25 Test centuries, the sight of a fellow with 42 Test centuries walking down the pavilion steps to replace him was enough to pour cold water on their excitement. No bowler can relish Jacques Kallis coming to the crease at the best of times, but with the score on 260 for 2, the sight must have been chilling. There may be some doubts about the South Africa tail, but when the head and the body are as strong as this, it is not the most pressing of concerns.

Celeb spot of the Day
Important people like coming to the cricket. Be it movie stars, professionals of other sports and sometimes politicians. The last of those was in attendance on the third day. Labour party leader Ed Miliband was ushered into the press lounge, where he had lunch. He spent a few overs after the break in the media area outside and chatted to journalists, even posing for a photo or two.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Harmony111 on (July 24, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

For some reason Cricinfo is not publishing my rebuttal to JG2704 although it is completely relevant and is by no means any more volatile than the comments posted by 5Wombats, MattyOhhMaty, JG2704 and SirFreddieFlintoff. I really don't know what is cricinfo's policy for accepting comments. Anyways, @karthik_raja: I second what you say. The Poms were not too humble in their wins and are not gracious in their losses. They don't quite know what is meant by "No Excuses". In any case, losing Zak on day 1 of Lord's test was indeed a huge reason and not just an excuse as compared to the flat pitch theory JG2704 was trying to push given that Eng lost 20 wickets on the flat pitch where SA lost only 2. Dear Cricinfo Mods, I beg you to please publish this comment, just to bring a closure to this so called debate.

Posted by Harmony111 on (July 24, 2012, 9:48 GMT)

@JG2704: It is this attitude of you that really irks me and other posters here. If you do not bother then why bother at all? You are now behaving as if it is beneath your dignity(?) to reply to the comments of Indians. And then Meety was saying you are a nice bloke? I don't have a personal enmity vs you. I just don't like the way you sometime put your ideas here. And did you mean that Eng would do well only in Tests in India and not in ODIs? Lol, but you saw that Eng lost 0-3 in Tests and won 4-0 in ODIs vs Pak so that is a huge misjudgment. Add to it the 0-5 whipping in India and one is likely to conclude that Eng too can do well only in their home conditions or in conditions that suit them. And isn't this what is said for India too? I guess yes, and this is precisely what Ind fans have been saying. ANY TEAM WILL STRUGGLE IN ALIEN CONDITIONS, something Poms were loathe to lend ears to. Finally, SA have a more all-weather attack. Eng are good but only in certain conditions - Ref Oval.

Posted by karthik_raja on (July 24, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

@JG2704. "I said to accept defeat graciously and I have done" - No u hv not.. accept defeat graciously means widout excuses(ofcourse, by ur dictionary). Widout excuses means - nothing shud be mentioned except "SA is better team and they won". If u go for reasoning behind the loss like conditions/team combinations/toss etc etc, everything will b considered as excuses - a "culture" started by u poms. When Zaheer's injury in the first session of the Test match (and v played wid one bowler short in whole Test) was cited as reason for first Test loss, it was termed as excuse. Thn, hw do u expect us to accept ur "over head conditions" remark..??? So, to accept defeat graciously u shud say none other than "SA is better team and they won deservedly". Its all started by u mate.. Wt goes around comes back always.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 24, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

@Meety on (July 23 2012, 11:05 AM GMT) Some postees on here you can have constructive debates with while some you can't. A guy called Satish comes on our threads alot and sometimes praises our efforts and sometimes criticises us. A bit like yourself. I don't always agree with his/your views and will try and respond constructively why. Anyway thanks for the decent comms , it's much appreciated. Please publish this time

Posted by JG2704 on (July 24, 2012, 7:56 GMT)

@karthik_raja on (July 23 2012, 09:25 AM GMT) That was actually a mistype and I meant to say that SA had more helpful conditions on day 2 but they also bowled much better than they dis on day 1. I have said that our batting by and large has been poor and that SA made the most of the helpful batting conditions and England did not which surely says it all. Must admit your "And PLEASEEEE, respect other nations" made me chuckle

Posted by JG2704 on (July 24, 2012, 7:55 GMT)

@karthik_raja on (July 24 2012, 02:33 AM GMT) I said to accept defeat graciously and I have done , both in this test and our UAE debacle. I mentioned that SA had the better of the bowling conditions on day 2 but balanced it out by saying that we had the better batting conditions on day 1 and that SA bowled better on day 2 than they did on day 1 and SA batsmen excelled when batting conditions were good where as our batsmen did not.I actually posted another post to you which I will try again. I did once say Eng bowlers CAN (not WILL) win matches on any conditions and I stand by that because this is just one test and against a vastly improved batting line up from our recent touring sides

Posted by karthik_raja on (July 24, 2012, 2:33 GMT)

@Meety. Simple words. Whn Ind toured Eng, Poms including @JG advised us to accept defeat graciously - means, "without excuses". Now, its really fun to see Poms coming up wid same excuses.. lol.. Bt, the point is @JG is trying to twist his own words to make it seem like a non-excuse.. Regardless hw he puts it, Eng attack will suffer in unfavorable conditions.. He once told, Eng bowling will win matches on any conditions.. Jus want to hear frm him if he stands by that even now..

Posted by JG2704 on (July 23, 2012, 23:18 GMT)

@Harmony111 Not sure why I'm bothering but here goes. In 2011 I said I thought we could do well in tests in India and fully meant what I said. Obviously since that time we had the disaster in UAE but then India have not been doing too great either. Have we seen India at home since the Australia and Eng results? Who knows. Obviously my faith is dwindling but regardless the 5-0 ODI whitewash has no bearing on what happens in tests. Last time we won the Ashes in Oz they convincingly beat us in the ODIs and when we lost the tests 3-0 in UAE we won the ODI series 4-0. I still believe that us and SA have the best bowling attacks with Aus up and coming. And no , I've not boasted about Eng , I've just tried to put a few home truths across in an effort to quieten some but with as little success as our team

Posted by Harmony111 on (July 23, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

@Meety: Nice time to show some brotherly love ha, England need it. I don't need you to testify in favour or against anyone here. I have had a few run-ins with JG2704 and have found him to use the straw man argument a lot. He has usually taken my points out of context to suit his opinion and you are telling me he is a nice bloke? He may be a nice bloke and a passionate Pom but I guess I am not Lucifer's pupil either. In 2011 JG2704 had said Eng would do well in India even on those flat beds and lol they got whipped 0-5 so its easy to see who got +1 there. And do you think me and some other Indians are here on Cricinfo just for wordy bouts? I love this game and could watch it all the time if I had it. I certainly have the passion for it no less than anyone else here. I comment here as and when I have an opinion. You think Indians should not comment on SA-Eng Tests? I thought we lived in a global village. I had merely asked JG2704 to repeat his idea of why Eng bowlers failed ( & Batsmen).

Posted by Meety on (July 23, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

@Harmony111 - mate you're chipping the wrong bloke mate. IMO - JG2704, is one of a handful of quality posters on this site. He doesn't troll, doesn't sledge & gives credit where credit is due. I haven't heard him ever use the term "flat track bully" - so I dunno what your point is? The fact is we are observing a match where Sth Africa have outplayed England, the series is not over, the match is not even lost yet, so this really has no Indian aspect. For what it's worth, most non-bias people will believe that England will do better in India than India did in England - for sure! @karthik_raja - as with my other reply, I think you are barking up the wrong tree buddy!

Posted by karthik_raja on (July 23, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

@Posted by JG2704 on (July 22 2012, 08:26 AM GMT). I don't see anything different in ur statement.. lemme repeat, according to u, "SA bowled well on first day with no assistance frm conditions. Result - less wickets. 2nd Day - overhead conditions - Eng collapsed. 3rd and 4th day - no helpful conditions again - Eng bowlers failed terribly" Am i saying anything different frm u.?? Without helpful conditions, bowlers of both teams failed. Btw, wts ur explanation for the 4 English wickets on final session of Day 4..?? I hope u will remember this statement from me from Ind-Eng series(and ofcourse, ur sarcastic reply). I hv been repeating this after each of ur recent Test series - UAE tour, SL tour and WI series. And I am proved right on each and every occasion. I am repeat again. "Eng is definitely a good Test side. But not as best as it seemed to b, whn it played Ind @ home" And PLEASEEEE, respect other nations.

Posted by Harmony111 on (July 23, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

@JG2704: Ah, I don't hear any provocative lines from you. I don't hear you boasting about your English team that was supposedly going to be the best Test team for the next 10 years. I don't hear you boasting about your World's Best Bowling Attack being good enough to take wickets in any conditions. All I hear from you is that your bowlers failed to take wickets cos "The conditions were not favorable". Looks like the World's best fast bowler Anderson and the best spinner Swann too depend on favourable conditions to take wickets else they get zilch. Of course SA batsmen batted extremely well and exposed your bowling attack. And they also exposed the fact that the English batsmen fail to bat "even on flat wickets" be it in India or in England. I hope form now on the term Flat Track Bully won't be used for the Indian batsman. Even if We are FTB, we are a hell lot better FTB than the English batsmen.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 23, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

@Meety on (July 23 2012, 06:06 AM GMT) - re "Regardless of the result, the England bowlers will be quite sore & tired after their efforts" again 5/1/5. Surely it's about time they were given some support. By all accounts the bowlers didn't bowl waywardly or lacking discipline but had no penetration and some of the shots our batsmen were playing has helped put us in this situation.Maybe SA deal with pressure bowling better than Eng batsmen? I think they might go for a bowling change - Finn for Bres - but when we need to win , surely it's better to gamble on a 5/1/5 than when if we are level. If we draw the series we stay number 1. If we lose the series whether it be by 1 or 3 tests we lose that ranking

Posted by Meety on (July 23, 2012, 6:06 GMT)

@JG2704 - manning the pumps well on this thread! I guessed well that the Saffas would have a lead of 250 at lunch, unfortunately for you - near worst case scenario came true "...I don't fancy our chances of saving the game if Bell and Bop etc enter with us still behind.." The first hour Day 5 will be a cracker for intensity. Regardless of the result, the England bowlers will be quite sore & tired after their efforts, luckily this series is not back to back to back. Dunno how the selectors will go with the make up of the next team, if England are down 1nil, I think they'll consider 5/1/5, if all square, I think they'll go 6/1/4. If it is 4 bowlers, I think they'll drop Bresnan for Finn, but that would depend on whether Broad really has a serious injury or not.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 22, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

@Harmony111 on (July 22 2012, 09:19 AM GMT) It has been an awful test for us but I'm not admitting something I don't believe. Our bowlers were slaughtered - there's no hiding from that - but I'd prefer to say that Amla, Kallis and Smith played exceptionally.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2012, 14:10 GMT)

FYI Hashim Amla is on fast. Its Ramadhan and this is guy is batting without any food, without any water, and he is now batted for almost two days, unbelievable. This is Faith, this is belief, speaks so much of his mental strength - AMAZING

Posted by MMahmood1 on (July 22, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

SA should bat till 1 hour after lunch and scoring quickly will give them a lead of around 200. They will atleast need 4 session to bowl englan out and will require half a session to knock the score down. SA should start with Steyn and Morkel when they start bowling. For england they can only go for a draw. Dont let SA score quickly and bat positively, SA will get openers very quickly as Steyn an morkel will be pumped up, they will rely heavily on Peterson, Trott & Prior. I have some doubt in bell and Bhopara against quality attacks.

Posted by Harmony111 on (July 22, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

@JG2704: So finally you admit that the English bowlers can bowl well only if the conditions help them. Hmmm, this admission must have been painful for you ... or did you go through some catharsis in the recent months?

Posted by chapathishot on (July 22, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

@ satish619chandar what @JG2704 means is that conditions make champions and in non helpful conditions champions are ordinary .Was the same with Aussies when they were champions . Hoping for more excuses LOL

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 22, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

Does anyone else think RandyOz should be given his own message board on this site? One that's open only when England have an average day in the field, and closed whenever Australia lose (every match they play then)?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 22, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

@ Meety- I'm not arguing on your points here. The fact is that - be they flat tracks or whatever they didn't bowl them out twice on those tracks. This pitch as it stands is dead flat and the more realist Eng fans on here weren't reading too much into what seemed a 267-3 scorecard on day 1. Steyn and co did not bowl well either. On day 2 we get both different quality from the bowlers and different overhead conditions which helped them. I didn't see yesterday's play - I had a debacle stuck 23 miles from home unable to home as I lost my keys to the lock on my pushbike - but it sounded like almost a road to bat on , but credit SA you still have to do it. On hindsight maybe it was not the best toss to win but no one was complaining when we had a good 1st day.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 22, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

@ maddy20 on (July 22 2012, 01:29 AM GMT) Again nonsense. No one knew exactly how the wicket would turn out otherwise surely we'd have played a different formation - 2 spinners as Monty would have been more economical on this pitch. Must give you credit - your posts are consistent and you know which bandwagons to jump on.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 22, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

@ rahulcricket007 on (July 22 2012, 02:15 AM GMT) Ind had drawn in SA only 8-9 months earlier and most neutrals were predicting a tight series and many Indians were predicting a thrashing the other way. It was pretty much the same Indian line up which drew that series in SA. And I'm not jumping in the sky. I posted "They did to India what no bowlers had done before and laid the blueprint for Australia to do the same" - what exactly is categorically untrue about that?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 22, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

@ karthik_raja on (July 22 2012, 02:47 AM GMT) SA had overhead conditions on day 2 and no it's not just to overhead conditions - they also bowled better on day 1 , but also Eng did not have those conditions for a long period - only at the start of the SA inns , but we took the better conditions for batting on day 1 so we take it on the chin now. SA still obviously batted superbly. I posted another comment which did not get published and I've tried to post again

Posted by JG2704 on (July 22, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

@ dariuscorny on (July 22 2012, 03:56 AM GMT) None of the SA bowlers looked threatening on day 1 either.Just one of those things. I still back our bowlers even if we lose this test. I still think we should add a bowler at Bopara's expense but I think of our last 20 or so tests only on 4 or 5 occasions have we not bowled the opposition out twice , once in UAE , once in Aus and the other 3 occs on rain truncated tests in England

Posted by JG2704 on (July 22, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

@ satish619chandar a much larger post but it did not get published. I said on day 1 that we had the best of the conditions for batting on. On day 2 SA had the best of it and they did have some overcast conditions with them which does help. Eng had those conditions for a short while until the rain came down and those conditions cleared and the conditions became better again. In case my full post doesn't get published again I'll say that even if SA had better bowling conds on day 2 they still bowled a whole lot better than they did on day 1 and even if SA had decent batting conditions on day 3 they still had to make use of these conditions and they did so magnificently. We won the toss so no complaints. If SA win (as looks likely) it will because they deserve it.Mentioning bowling conds was purely a response to those who say Broad and co are 2nd rate as Steyn and co also struggled on day 1 and I wasn't saying they are hype jobs then either

Posted by JG2704 on (July 22, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

Predictable dose from the usual suspects.Well played SA - credit where credit's due.The pitch was flat but you still have to do a job and Smith/Amla showed the way.As I put yesterday,I was worried about how we might struggle to take wickets with 4 bowlers against this side but didn't expect it to be this bad.I was worried about SA's depth but we've not even seen much below top 3.We had the better of the batting conditions on day 1 and the improved bowling conditions along with improved quality from SA on day 2 pegged Eng back.Unfortunately Broad and Jimmy could not find the edge of Smith's bat when bowling conditions were better earlier in SA's inns and now we're paying for it.As an Eng fan (as the rain seems to have gone) I hope that Smith maybe is a little slow in declaring (as he has been before) and that the pitch stays the same and our top 4 can take us past the SA lead. I don't fancy our chances of saving the game if Bell and Bop etc enter with us still behind. Please publish

Posted by satish619chandar on (July 22, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

@JG2704 : Is it really you? Usually u give credit where it takes mate.. Looks so odd to see you giving excuses..

Posted by Last_ride on (July 22, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

Hehe English fans on day 2 were talking about swann spinning england to an innings victory.But right now it seems like Imran Tahir is going to do the opposite.Swann just hasnt been good enough even in the series against Westindies.

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 22, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

@Hammond - "we" "we" "We" WHy would an Aussie support England? Your comments warrant about as much credit as a 2 cent piece.

Posted by dariuscorny on (July 22, 2012, 3:56 GMT)

@JG2704 ask yourself, do you really feel Bresnan and Broad look threatening?neither of them has pace and on a flat deck you cannot expect them to tear apart SA's strong batting lineup.this is the problem,in conducive conditions they are threatening not when the conditions are favourable for the batsmen

Posted by karthik_raja on (July 22, 2012, 2:47 GMT)

@JG2704. So u mean to say, SA did well on day2 only due to the "overhead conditions".??? So, without "supporting" conditions, neither team's(eng,SA) bowlers cud do well hah..?? hmm.. that shud b a well made point..

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (July 22, 2012, 2:15 GMT)

@JG2704 . ENG & AUS THRAHSED INDIA BECAUSE INDIA'S BEST HAS ALREADY GONE . MANY PLAYERS LIKE SACHIN , DRAVID , LAXMAN , ZAHEER , SEHWAG HAVE REACHED THEIR EXPIRY DATE . INDIAN TEST SIDE IS SO WEAK AT THIS STAGE THAT EVEN WI & NZ CAN DEFEAT THEM EASILY . SO NO NEED TO JUMP IN THE SKY AFTER DEFEATING THE WEAKEST INDIAN TEAM OF PAST 15 YEARS .

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 22, 2012, 1:54 GMT)

Yesterday's game proved what I have been saying for a while now; this English attack, bar Anderson, isn't that good. Wins against a weakened India and Australia lulled them into a false sense of security but now that a team applies some pressure they go to water as I predicted. As I also predicted Broad and Swan both struggled. Broad really needs to fix up his attitude. I would have imagined Finn would've been a lot more effective than Broad today. This English side is poor and the even the English now must admit the comparisons to the great Australian side are farcical.

Posted by maddy20 on (July 22, 2012, 1:29 GMT)

@JG2704 On Day 2 Eng bowled in the same overcast conditions. On day 1 too the skies were overcast but SA took some time to find their zing. Honestly speaking Eng dug their own grave. They thought they can negate the SA pace battery by making a slow wicket but their plan back-fired magnificently. The odd ball was keeping low and they should have taken advantage of it by bowling a tight line and an atrocious length. SA on the other hand learned that they can force errors by bowling full, just a few inches wide of the off-stump Clouds or no clouds SA will hammery England on day 4 and put them in with around 30 overs remaining. No prizes for guessing what happens next. Sure England did outclass India by preparing grazing fields but a slow and dry wicket has spelled their doom!

Posted by Hammond on (July 22, 2012, 0:34 GMT)

I just hope we don't go into a panic and change everything around. Onions may have been good on such a flat wicket, Finn is raring to go. Maybe one change in the bowling department may be warranted, but it was concerning to see how little penetration we had (albeit on such a lifeless Oval pitch). England need to believe (as South Africa did on the first day) that a (couple of) bad days in the office does not a poor test side make.

Posted by Meety on (July 22, 2012, 0:19 GMT)

@JG2704 - I believe that the Pak v Saffa series in the UAE, was played on pitches totally different (in nature), to the ones that England played on. Form memory, the curators copped a lot of stick for producing arguably the most boring pitches this century. If you look at the scorecards & read the reports on that series, the series was almost pointless as a result was always going to be near impossible. The only good thing that came out of the series was, it gave Pakistan confidence, which they took out on Sri Lanka then England in UAE. The UAE pitches for the England were really the most pro-bowler pitches there in a long while. As for this match, I think if the Saffas bat thru to either side of Tea (just before or after), they SHOULD have a 250 run lead, whisch will gove them enough to make England sweat, unless of course we are looking at a Gabba repeat?????

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (July 22, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

Lol I see the excuses have started piling up already. Stop blaming the pitch and the conditions, Strauss chose to bat first.

Posted by AnotherCricketFan on (July 21, 2012, 23:22 GMT)

No one is mentioning the great job done by Kristen. They come in, dust off the rustiness, forget the beating on Day One, pound the board leaders with merciless, methodical Test class batting. It is not only Smith, Amla and Kallis ability but the way they believe in themselves, the Steyns, Morkels too to mention a few. England gloating on their wins against a hyped India, a talent-less Aussies and toothless WI - now face the real men of modern day cricket , honed by the one of the finest coach.

Posted by Peterincanada on (July 21, 2012, 21:57 GMT)

@Dariuscorny Flat tracks are what separate champions from want to bees. The great W.I. and Aus teams played a lot of matches on batsman friendly pitches but managed to find ways to get twenty wickets and win more than their share anyway. This England attack is good but is not and never will be great, however, calling them laughing stocks is a bit of a stretch.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 21, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

@SICHO on (July 21 2012, 20:29 PM GMT) Not overhyped at all. They did to India what no bowlers had done before and laid the blueprint for Australia to do the same. SA couldn't bowl Pak out twice in any of their tests and could not defend 300+ at home vs Australia. Great conditions for batting and Smith and Amla showed their quality.SA's attack looked ordinary on day 1 , then on day 2 they get some overhead conditions and they're firing. Both bowling attacks are quality , no need to trash it up

Posted by mahjut on (July 21, 2012, 21:36 GMT)

have to agree with a few of the comments i've read... braod and bresnan together while finn an trmelett remain on the bench or not even picked seems odd - still have to say a draw is most likely outcome so not an overly costly wake up call for Eng

Posted by punter-gilly-haydos-mcgrath-warne on (July 21, 2012, 21:31 GMT)

I am loving the SAs grinding the Poms! For some reason I am getting the feeling that Strauss is playing to defensively. (maybe Pat Cummins could get the SAs out but it doesn't look like the Poms are doing it)

Posted by dariuscorny on (July 21, 2012, 20:42 GMT)

Eng thinks Bresnan and Broad are the incarnations of Brett lee(of young) and Gillespie.in flat pitches they are exposed.in ultra green track against an ageing and depleted batting line they were like champions but now they are a laughing stock......

Posted by   on (July 21, 2012, 20:35 GMT)

Wow, i'm sorry I missed todays play, but I did predict a long day in the field for England... Having not seen todays play it's difficult to say too much, but you'd think come day five the roguh would be building up for Tahir to bowl into and that a big fella like Morkel, hitting the pitch hard, would start to find a bit of variation in bounce. It's hard to see a way out of this one for England other than a few quick wickets first thing in morning but te next new ball is the best part of a session away, far more probable that we'll see South Africa on the front foot and building up a handsome lead. What a turnaround.

Posted by SICHO on (July 21, 2012, 20:29 GMT)

SA 1st innings with the ball: 1 & half day=10 wickets. Eng 1st innings with the ball: 1 & half day= 2 wickets. Ouch, clearly this isn't what most of us expected from the overhyped 'best attack in the world', is it?

Posted by i_witnessed_2011 on (July 21, 2012, 20:26 GMT)

Well done SA!! :) Now it would be crucial how many overs tomorrow SA plan to bat. There are 25 ov before new ball is taken by england. So SA needs to attack in these 25 ov. May be 4 to 4.5 ov runrate is good enough. Then they can bat 10-15 Ov catiously and then again they can attack for next 10 Ov. and declare. I hope they will come aggressive tomorrow and get lead of 200. Kallis and ABD batting will be crucial tomorrow. It would be interesting to see how Engalnd would try to contain SA batsmen. They have not made to work hard in recent times (even in UAE scores were not huge) by opposition, So it would be interesting to see Eng Strategy.

Posted by Spelele on (July 21, 2012, 20:06 GMT)

On a more serious note, where the hell is Finn!!!? I think the English management have been misled by previous series where this attack was able to shoot mediocre batting line-ups out with ease (although the signs were there even against the West Indies). Surely one cannot play Bresnan and Broad (who are at best good medium pacers) together in the same match? Add to that a military medium Anderson, and there is absolutely no spark in the attack. Bring Finn back please; the whole world is being deprived of seeing a very capable talent here!

Posted by MattyP1979 on (July 21, 2012, 20:04 GMT)

Oh dear. Well another bad day in the field for Eng, at least as far as wickets. Thought they bowled ok. The only wicket to fall was a pretty lucky one too!. Swann was a disapointment for me, SA had a plan to negate him and executed it very well. Lets see how day for proceeds but are backs are now against the wall now! It will still be tough (but not impossible) to get a result here.

Posted by dariuscorny on (July 21, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

Eng will pay the price for not playing Finn and playing Bresnan and Broad together in a match.now Eng faces a dillemma of whether to select another bowler or to selct an extra batsmen as the SA attack is threatening,might run through the brittle line up within a blink of an eye

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (July 21, 2012, 19:50 GMT)

That was brutal in-the-zone batting from Smith, Amla and Kallis. Relentless concentration. The pitch really seems pretty lifeles, though. A pace attack of Ambrose, Wasim and McGrath would struggle to take wickets on that. South Africa had more intensity with the ball on day two, though, and that is what got them back into this. Would like to see one Test of this series where Cook, Trott, Kallis, Amla, etc have to brave it out on a seamer's wicket where the ball is swinging. England need extremely early wickets tomorrow. If de Villiers gets to come in with the lead already over 100 he can play freely and that is when he is most dangerous.

Posted by dariuscorny on (July 21, 2012, 19:49 GMT)

Eng has to get out of "select a player who can ball and bat a bit"attitude.look where they are at against a quality and eager team.Finn should have been a certainity as he's the most sharp Eng bowler besides mediocre bowlers Broad and Bresnan.both lack in pace and penetration.Amla will grind these with ease all day long,i bet.mark my words if SA wins this test match they wont let Eng comeback in this series....

Posted by Spelele on (July 21, 2012, 19:43 GMT)

Hahahahahaha! The so-called 'best bowling attack in the world' got shown up as being over-reliant on favourable conditions and bowling to mediocre batting line-ups like India and Aus! Lol! Doesn't look like they will bowl SA out even once in this match (yet SA has already done this in the first innings). Which attack is better then? ENG may have won the first day due to SA's rustiness, but over the last two days, they have been comprehensively outplayed by a superior unit. Bring on Day 4!!! :)

Posted by maddy20 on (July 21, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

What an innings from Amla! Agreed that Smith's one was a true classic but Amla was aggresive and solid at the same time. The cover drives were as delicious as extra cheese on a stuffed crust Pizza! With Kallis at the crease and AB, JP and Rudolph still to come I expect the Saffas to go all guns blazing tomorrow. 45 overs and a lead of around 200+ then put England in. The day 5 pitch will do the rest! It is alsodelightful to see these English fans , players and so called experts(wiz: Tony Greig, Vaughan, Hussain etc.,)fall silent. When India toured Eng last year, it was true that the Indian team was truely outclassed. What hurt us the most was the media's name calling and players shooting their mouth off. If I remember correctly, Tim Bresnan said if "Indians are not interested in Playing they can go home" or something along those lines. Yeah tim Talk na!

Posted by landl47 on (July 21, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

Well played, South Africa. I didn't think England bowled badly; they hit good areas and never let SA have an easy time of it, but Amla, Smith and Kallis were just too good. SA has great stars, we all know that and their numbers prove it. To beat them it's necessary to get the big guns early and England didn't manage that. No doubt SA will be looking to bat till somewhere about teatime tomorrow and put up a lead of 250-300 runs. Then it will be up to England to fight a rearguard action. Lots of good cricket to come and it was great to see good weather at last, but today was all South Africa.

Posted by QuarterMILE on (July 21, 2012, 19:14 GMT)

England got a taste of their own medicine. For years we have known that SAffers are the best test team, now they are about to prove this beyond doubt. England should learn to be happy with 2nd rank from now on, while rest of the test trash like the subcontinental teams can play at home and keep breaking batting records :P

Posted by   on (July 21, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

SubhanAllah .Hashim Amla was fasting whole day in this month of Ramadan ,still he managed to get 183 .Really he is a role model for Muslims.

Posted by SICHO on (July 21, 2012, 18:51 GMT)

Hah!! Since we were undercooked for this series, looks like England are overcooked

Posted by SurlyCynic on (July 21, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

Perhaps in future the English press and fans won't write off opposing bowling attacks as average and overrated until they've at least seen both sides bowl on a given pitch. This one is flat, but the so called best attack in the world has certainly looked toothless. England rely on taking quick wickets with their 4 bowler strategy, if a team gets big runs they risk their bowlers being ground into submission.

Posted by newnomi on (July 21, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

How come Amla doesn't get a mention in any of the plays? He was sublime all day.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 21, 2012, 18:28 GMT)

Do any English fans feel like Shane Watson at the moment? It was said that England would likely have the advantage in lower-order runs but there's every likelihood that England won't get to bowl at the lower order, in this game at least.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 21, 2012, 18:25 GMT)

That was a tough day to watch as an England fan. I don't think that England necessarily bowled badly. In fact, I think that they probably bowled better than SA did on day 1. There just wasn't a great deal of penetration and they just didn't bowl well enough to trouble batsmen who were very patient just batted very well. One advantage SA had on day 1 was that they bowled so many wide balls that England left a lot of them so didn't score too quickly. While there were a few good scores from England, even Cook and Trott lost concentration and contributed to their own downfall. Whether it be as part of a 5 man attack or not, having Finn's extra pace today may have made a difference. The game is beyond England's winning but batting conditions are still good so they have every chance of drawing the match, if they don't let the scoreboard pressure get to them. It would also help psychologically if they could bowl SA out but it's looking like a declaration at this stage.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 21, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

Magnificent display from Amla. The infamous English 'summer' this year has meant the one dry pitch, at the Oval, long the dustiest pitch in England, has had it's life sucked dry from it. Amla knew what to do, as did Smith and Kallis, and blunted whatever England tried to throw at them. Endless maidens played out were succeeded by chancy but high-percentage shot selection. Well played.

Posted by Shafaet_001 on (July 21, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

The "plays" is incomplete without the sunclass event. Strauss's sunglass dislodged from the hat and went up in the air while he picked the ball from the ground, than his throw destroyed the sunglass in the air!! That was one of the most funniest scene i ever saw in cricket.

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