England v South Africa, 1st Investec Test, The Oval, 4th day

South Africa surge after Amla's triple hundred

The Report by Andrew McGlashan

July 22, 2012

Comments: 185 | Text size: A | A

England 385 and 102 for 4 (Bell 14*, Bopara 15*) trail South Africa 637 for 2 dec (Amla 311*, Kallis 182*) lead by 150 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Morne Morkel removed Kevin Pietersen's middle stump, England v South Africa, 1st Investec Test, The Oval, 4th day, July, 22, 2012
Morne Morkel added to a wonderful day for South Africa by removing Kevin Pietersen © Getty Images

South Africa enjoyed the type of day teams dream of which ended with England staggering on 102 for 4 after being overwhelmed by the insatiable hunger of two batsmen. Hashim Amla scored the country's first triple century in Tests, building an overwhelming stand of 377 with Jacques Kallis, as South Africa amassed a lead of 252. The visitors then made major inroads into a dispirited England side who lurched to the close with a huge task ahead to leave The Oval with the series level.

The first two sessions of the day were filled with Amla and Kallis earning themselves a place in the record books. Mostly those honours belonged to Amla who, after overtaking AB de Villiers' 278 as South Africa's highest innings, reached his triple century with a drive which brushed the fingers of a leaping fielder at cover. He barely put a foot wrong and looked as though he could have gone past Brian Lara's 400 if the opportunity had presented itself.

However, South Africa had a Test match to win. Graeme Smith surprised most people at the ground when he declared at tea, rather than giving England's footsore bowlers and fielders another half an hour of drip-drip agony. Smith, though, knew his team were in an impregnable position and it was a show of attacking intent from the captain.

Apart from a period on the first day, Smith has had a wonderful Test both with the bat and in the field, and his decision soon brought rich rewards. By the close Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara were clinging on, still facing a deficit of 150. An escape here would match anything achieved at Cardiff or Cape Town.

With the eighth ball of the innings Vernon Philander - who again shared the new ball with Morne Morkel - found Alastair Cook's outside edge with ball that nipped away to bring the first wicket of the day. By the 11th over, South Africa had as many wickets as England managed in 188 when Jonathan Trott, for the second time in the match, nibbled outside off stump when he could have left the ball. That gave Dale Steyn his first wicket after he had been brought into the attack much sooner than in the first innings.

Kevin Pietersen's brief stay in the middle was not one of his finest moments. A feature of how South Africa batted was that they were willing to give periods of time to the bowlers, but Pietersen wanted to impose himself from the start. When that method comes off it thrills; when it does not it will invite criticism.

Pietersen played two well-timed pulls, one in front and one behind square, but also top-edged another over the keeper. He was then dropped at slip by Kallis when he flapped at a short delivery from Morkel and in his next over Pietersen managed to miss what was basically a straight ball as he was caught on the crease.

The early breakthroughs made life much less pressurised for Imran Tahir and he proceeded to work over Andrew Strauss with a classy over from round the wicket. He located the footmarks to make one delivery spit and also skidded one past the outside edge. Then, in a flashback to England's problems in UAE, Strauss was drawn into sweeping a wide delivery and the resulting top edge looped to square leg. Strauss had turned in disgust before the catch had been taken. This was not the first time an England captain had been humbled by a Smith-led team.

This was the same pitch that, a few hours earlier, had produced a scoreboard that read 637 for 2. Amla and Kallis firstly ensured they played themselves in as Smith and Amla had done 24 hours previously. The first hour brought just 36 runs, but each demoralising over England spent in the field meant it was less likely they would be able to quell the onslaught once South Africa decided to switch gear. The second half of the session saw 75 runs added and a further 123 came between lunch and tea even without it feeling the batsmen went quite into top gear.

Amla's innings was a display of unyielding concentration and determination, yet he rarely lost his graceful touch until he became a little tense in the 290s. His driving continued to be the stand-out feature of the innings and even when England packed the off side he would calmly and carefully pierce the gaps with regularity.

Kallis, who began the day on 80, batted at his own pace and reached his hundred from 227 deliveries with a glide to third man and immediately pointed to his eye, a clear reference to his team-mate, and close friend, Mark Boucher who was forced to retire early in the tour. The incident shook Kallis badly, but like many of the greatest sportsman he has channelled his emotions to the benefit of his team.

It was also, notably, his first Test hundred in England since Old Trafford in 1998. This will be his final Test tour to the country and he appears determined to at least go some way to narrowing the gap between his record here and everywhere else. His partnership with Amla, to follow the 259 for the second wicket, was the highest third-wicket stand against England by anyone and meant it was the first time they had conceded two 250-run stands in the same innings.

It was a sobering experience for the England attack. When James Anderson managed to swing a delivery with the third new ball past Amla's edge the crowd gave him a warm round of applause. Early in the afternoon session all England's frontline bowers went past their centuries, Stuart Broad completing the set when he was driven for three boundaries by Kallis who took the lead in upping the scoring rate while Amla focussed on his triple hundred.

Broad had been off-colour throughout the innings and operated at no more than medium pace on the fourth day. Although that could partly be put down to conditions, England's policy of a four-man attack means they cannot afford to carry any of their quicks especially with Graeme Swann proving ineffective as he sent down 52 wicketless overs, the most he had bowled in a Test innings. Since the start of the second day's play they have looked anything but the world's No. 1 team.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 24, 2012, 7:40 GMT)

@IndiaNumeroFour - Guess you're right there. The 2nd set of tourists last year were very poor indeed , but like you said they were a totally different animal when they had their main man back for the Oz tour

Posted by IndiaNumeroUno on (July 24, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

Not surprised really... always knew if a half decent side without many injured players turned up and the weather behaved, England would be exposed. That's just what has happened.. well played SA!!

Posted by Meety on (July 24, 2012, 2:13 GMT)

@JG2704 - 1nil down, definately need to consider a 5-prong attack. The problem is, I have a (unproven yet) theory about Broad, (I'll wait until the end of the series to see if it is more reliable), is the Saffa attack is quite methodical & I believe are way more likely to dismantle your lower order than other attacks barring maybe Oz, (btw - I am specific about the TEST lower order, which is something our ODI bowlers have not seen in a while - LOL!). The point I am getting at, is that I think 5 bowlers is more risky against the Saffas, however, 1nil, must go for broke. So in a 5/1/5 line up, it's Bopara facing the chop for Finn? In a 6/1/4 scenario, I'd punt Bopara anyways for Compton, & drop Broad for Tremlett. Broad stays in a 5-prong attack.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 23, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

@Meety on (July 23 2012, 07:08 AM GMT) How long have we been trying for that decent number 6 withou success so the answer to that question is no. In UAE 1st test we struggled with 4 bowlers but yes the rest of the series they did ok but I still think there were occasions when we had Pak reeling and a 5th bowling option would have helped us and my point is why have a 6th batsman when our 6th batsman is so continually unreliable. We might as well just have 10 players and a sub fielder for all the use our 6th batsman has been over recent years. Our 7th and 8th batsmen have been averaging better than number 6. We need the win now , surely you must agree 5 bowlers is more likely to take 20 wickets than 4?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 23, 2012, 22:03 GMT)

@CDUP on (July 23 2012, 07:13 AM GMT) Whenever we've had crisis times when we want our 6th batsman to stand up and be counted he has been found wanting. Look at UAE and SL and now when we needed our 6th batsman to stand up. So because our 6th batsman (whoever it has been) is so lacking it's been like having 5 batsmen anyway. Our 7 and 8 has averaged more in recent years. I've always been a 5/1/5 fan - the formation when we 1st regained the Ashes against a decent Oz side in 2005 - but I'd accept the 6/1/4 better if our number 6 came in when the chips were down and changed a game but that never happens and I actually find it painful that Eng have Finn and Onions and they won't add either and if they do it will be by dropping one of our bowlers who have by and large performed well.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 23, 2012, 22:02 GMT)

@crindo77 on (July 23 2012, 07:17 AM GMT) Those Indian players aged a fair bit in 8 months or so after the SA tour. We could probably use the same excuse re this series as we had a hangover from beating Australia 4-0 in the ODI series and lost sight of the real prize. Eng played abysmally in this test and in UAE by the reasoned observer would have seen neither coming just like they would not have seen the 4-0 India series coming. No one was saying that your side were ageing at the time and the selectors picked by and large the same players for the Aus series

Posted by JG2704 on (July 23, 2012, 22:02 GMT)

@zenboomerang on (July 23 2012, 09:16 AM GMT) Mate , this was awful. Yes Kallis adds a bit of bowling depth but I feel it's ok to go for the 6/1/4 if it's winning you matches (so no need for SA to change). We have now lost 5 out of 9 games since becoming number 1 and only beaten WI twice and SL once who your guys beat with ease.

Posted by SuperSharky on (July 23, 2012, 15:09 GMT)

Congratulations South Africa. You were the better team. Won by an Innings! It was a hard cricket lesson for England. Even Shane Warne predicted ahead of the series that England would win this series 2-0.

Posted by delboy on (July 23, 2012, 14:33 GMT)

The BEST CRICKET is played on the pitch. If this is the battle of the PACE bowlers I do not want to buy the full video. Please make this a serial then I can choose the episodes I waste my time watching.

Posted by kmun on (July 23, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

A clearly over rated English team.English commentators,especially Naseer Hussian,Your team could not perform in your own back yard against a quality team.Remember English team is not the one of late 80's W.Indians.Lesser mortals.Before pretending,try to assess yourself.

Posted by Hasheem on (July 23, 2012, 12:05 GMT)

The duo of Amla/Kallis have undone what bowlers did for Africa by playing that slow,Wonder what Kirsten was doing when the farce was unfolding. There is a limit to caution and what for what?you are ahead in the game and England was on the mat.Had a Paki pair done that,Spot fixing would have been rife. That period has given England hope to get out of the woods. My call on day one was Outsider Africa wins,Draw going out at long odds or Africa going out after being half money Favourite. Looks like the last one is coming

Posted by Hammond on (July 23, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

C'mon England, I remember a recent series where Panesar & Anderson of all people held out against another vaunted attack, then England went on and won the series 2-1. Fight hard boys and remember how good a team you actually are.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

I was furious by the report that suggested Tim "I've never lost a Test match" Bresnan was playing for his place. Since when was this his fault? He has a lower bowling average than Broad or Anderson. He won a MoM award v the Windies (to be fair, they're a weak side compared to the Proteas).

The batsman have failed to make big (really big) runs on a road, and as always, the bowlers get blamed. They could easily have had 3 or 4 wickets in their first session. Credit to Smith and Amla for seeing it off.

Pick Finn instead of a runless batsman. Bopara exposed, KP too unreliable, Strauss iffy, Bell still unconvincing mentally.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (July 23, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

come on bell... a strike rate of 18% is just not good enough, it puts too much pressure on the other batsmen... have some guts and score some runs... runs = time..

Posted by sulie786 on (July 23, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

lol hope this serves as a good lesson to all englands fans who talked up their team before this match and badmouthing an attack of South Africas calibre didnt help at all. Amla "the genuis", King Kallis & Smith the courageous certanly put the English on their place. Watch out there is a new No.1 in town and they are not taking any prisoners.

Posted by d_the_b on (July 23, 2012, 11:21 GMT)

Well done Amla and co - however as an Aussie I remember a not-too-distant series where Strauss was dismissed without scoring in the first over of the first test... The Oval may be a long way from the Gabba, and Lord's is a long way from the MCG - but it is still anyone's series (though I know which hemisphere I'm backing!)

Posted by passionatecricbug on (July 23, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

looks like the highest contribution to england team total will come from extras, as the beloved batsmen are scoring peanuts

Posted by jezzastyles on (July 23, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

Bopara gone!! Prior needs to step up - he's certainly good enough to mount some kind of rearguard action with Bell. They need to put on at least 120 together and chew up some time. You never know...

Posted by alischeme on (July 23, 2012, 10:39 GMT)

I really wanted Amla to perform. GREAT player.

Posted by CamS71 on (July 23, 2012, 10:36 GMT)

No getting past it, 1st day aside we've been comprehensively outplayed in this game. Finn has to play next Test at very least, plus a few players need to have a serious word with themselves. Still, never hurts to be brought back down to earth every now & then, and this one is not going to be a soft landing.

Posted by CricketFundas on (July 23, 2012, 10:31 GMT)

Bopara just bowled over by Stein. The beginning of the end for England? Heh heh heh.

Go SA!

Posted by cric_fan_ on (July 23, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

England would so badly be missing collingwood, onions and monty, still anything can happen, don't forget it's England! rain is always around the corner :D

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (July 23, 2012, 9:32 GMT)

English Commentary and Press: Day 1: What an amazing england batting lineup, best in the world...bla, bla,bla Day 2: The conditions have dramatically changed, pitch is lively, favours bowling Day 3: The conditions have dramatically changed, pitch is flat, no seam movement. Day 4 (first half): Pitch is flat, nothing happening. (2nd half of the day) Pitch is lively.

When will it stop? When will they realise there darlings arent actually as great as they have built them up to be.

Posted by zenboomerang on (July 23, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

@jezzajstyles... One of the best Oz comments I have read lately - & agree... Lots of two-faced fans - all the none Saffa's bagging Eng while praising SA - yet when their countries are playing the Saffa's, they make exactly the same comments...

Posted by zenboomerang on (July 23, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

@JG2704 :- "surely it's better to get defeated by going for the jugular than by trying to be defensive"... Have to agree - felt both captains began defensively & Smiths declaration was fairly obvious - 4 sessions should be enough to bowl out a team if the bowlers & fielding are up to it... The difference for me is that SA started with 5 FC bowlers (Kallis) while Eng only had 4 - plus Finn was missed in this match more than I thought... While Bopara could draw this match with his batting, his bowling isn't a game changer - 128 FC matches with one 5-for & an average nearly @43... That would be expecting too much against this Saafa batting unit...

Posted by maddy20 on (July 23, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

If they are 102/4 for on a flat wicket, they will be 02/4 on a greentop. Their bowlers have well defined roles and hunt as pack. It also seems like they have worked out the weaknesses of the English batsmen before hand and are sticking to their plans till they worked. You can never take the Saffas lightly, even if you are playing in your own backyard.Aus, India learned it the hardway, Eng will too!

Posted by jackthelad on (July 23, 2012, 9:12 GMT)

Reality call. Against a talented and determined batting line-up (admittedly on a track that gave little help) England showed that they are not truly the all-devouring side some pundits would have us believe. We'll be lucky to salvage a draw from this, and some serious thinking is necessary before the rest of the series comes up.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 9:11 GMT)

Aussies should be concerned, if SA can bat like, then they'll steam roll Australia 3-0. If Australia can put up a contest with SA then you can say the pitch played a part or Smith, Amla and Kallis are never good against Aus. Go figure.

Posted by MrPontingToYou on (July 23, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

the scores by the 4 SA batsmen should be used on sesame street's song "one of these things just does'nt belong here".

Posted by StaalBurgher on (July 23, 2012, 8:59 GMT)

I think everyone needs to calm down now. I said before the series that England and SA are reasonably matched and I will stick to that. Even if SA wins this Test match it doesn't mean England will just capitulate the last two. There will still be some huge drama involved. How can there not be? Their batting line up is good, perhaps less good than they would like to think but still formidable. Swann had a bad game I agree but you don't just go from where he was to being rubbish. He will come back I am sure and overall I think he is better than Tahir even if this pitch will favour Tahir on the last day. England's bowling attack is still good, just not as good as England though they were. Sounds familiar? England have been lulled by playing against weaker batting line ups and an Indian team that just didn't pitch (they are much better than that rank whitewash). They are in love with their long batting line up similar to how SA refused to fix their long tail for the last 24 months.

Posted by Damo_s on (July 23, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

All the pom bashers (randyOz. Jonesy) thinking OZ will beat SA and then become the true number 1 LOL.

Posted by Selassie-I on (July 23, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

England... we still have faith, this would be a miraculous draw, but I somehow doubt it. Our seamers seem to have flogged life out of dead pitches before, in UAE for example, why all of a sudden can't they do it here, brilliant batting from the saffers admittidly but I really expected us to look more threatening. Please Ian Bell please don't go back to your days of leaving balls that are aimed at the stumps.

Posted by MrPontingToYou on (July 23, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

hope strauss is heavily fined for the pathetic over rates, especially the hour before tea when only 12 overa were bowled.

Posted by Juiceoftheapple on (July 23, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

Boo hoo Zaheer Khan wasnt available due to injury. Tremlett and Trescothick?!!

Posted by SuperSharky on (July 23, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

Well done Proteas. I hope you become number one, because it is frustrating watching you guys fighting the best but never get the honors. You should have been number one for a long time now. With this pack of legends from the coaching staff down to the players you truly deserve this honor. I know in the past you mostly was on the receiving end of bad calls and now Karma will grant you your wish. No more bad propaganda against South Africa.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

Well done South Africa. Slow and boring but so was England. Can't see KP batting at his brilliant best while his concentration is not there. Sort out his problems ECB if you want your top batsman back. England looked underdone. Perhaps too many easy games with the bowlers not extended. Or maybe too many ODIs.

Posted by Ranjan2012 on (July 23, 2012, 8:35 GMT)

England attack is lethal in conditions , wherein the ball "seams" & "swings".In Oval England has not got the aforesaid advantage & historically too Oval has always helped spinners.The worrying area for England will be ,during the tour of India , they can expect simmilar " Oval" kind of surfaces.India play spin well, & Swan will not trouble India too much. In Srilanka , Anderson discovered the right length to bowl in " Spinning " , "batsman friendly" track , that length is missing against SA.Anderson's form can be a headache for English team.

Posted by superShiva on (July 23, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

this match going to be draw!!! Commmon Eng.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

morne mokel completely bowled KEVIN PIETERSEN.amnazing morkel keep on continue

Posted by adeelicap on (July 23, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

hashim amla rocks south africa surely deserving the victory here

Posted by Ranjan2012 on (July 23, 2012, 8:27 GMT)

England attack is lethal in conditions , wherein the ball "seams" & "swings".In Oval England has not got the aforesaid advantage & historically too Oval has always helped spinners.The worrying area for England will be ,during the tour of India , they can expect simmilar " Oval" kind of surfaces.India play spin well, & Swan will not trouble India too much. In Srilanka , Anderson discovered the right length to bowl in " Spinning " , "batsman friendly" track , that length is missing against SA.Anderson's form can be a headache for English team.

Posted by jezzastyles on (July 23, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

As a proud AUSSIE supporter, I have to chuckle at a few of the comments posted by my compatriots - especially the one by chicko1983. AUS are still rebuilding, have several players in the veteran stages of their careers, and our top 3 is very fragile/inconsistent (i.e. handle with care). If we produce the same pitches next Summer as we did this one, our bowlers will be a handfull (providing we can keep them on the park), but what will Steyn & co. do!! Sure, we'll have an advantage in pure pace, but not consistency & quality. I'd be over-the-moon if we draw the series against SA, let alone win it. Whilst ENG appear to be struggling at the moment, let's wait and see the result at the end of the series before making any bold predictions. Teams have fought back from 1-0 down (assuming a loss here) in a 3-match series before - just ask Tugger Waugh and any AUS fan about that memorable tour of India!! Early days yet.

Posted by Juiceoftheapple on (July 23, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

Cycling, now there's a good sport!..... Only Bell can save us now. Well played South Africa. Bit more agression needed in our bowling me thinks, perhaps when plan A doesnt work they need to have the weapons to go for a Plan B, and hate to say it, Finn for Bres. Broad will come good. If SA win this series they can consider themselves head and shoulders above anyone else in the world.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 8:14 GMT)

welldone amla,kalis and smith. congratulation to smith.

Posted by MrBrightside92 on (July 23, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

It must be said what a fantastic clinical performance from the South Africans, I really thought they would be undercooked coming in this series but I suppose the best cliché to use is 'form is temporary (England), class is permanent (virtually all of the South African top order).' It was inevitable that England would find it hard to save the game given the demoralising two days in the field and I think there is more to come from SA bowlers if conditions shift (which I'm guessing England would hope). In UAE, it was a dreadful batting mindset that undone them (no offence to Ajmals skill) but here it was an absolute pounding and psychologically as big as the thrashings Australia used to hand out. A great few days for South Africa with Ernie Els winning the Open (Australian choke?) so we'll have to make do with the Tour de France victory! Another intriguing thought is SA taking No1 ranking then losing it to Australia...Well done South Africa!

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

Give the South Africans their due. This is a really good England side with about the best pace attack in the world and the SA batting tactically took them out and showed how "up and down" they can be in adverse conditions. Morkel and Steyn, Kallis and Philander have come up tops but on day five it is Thahir who should prove he is worth a place in this side. Bell uses his feet.. let us see if Thahir can take advantage of that.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 7:42 GMT)

@Jonesy.....U are talking about Aussies bcos of their 4-0 crushing recently...England is just now discovering that their own 4-0 win last year had a lot to do with their opposition's lack of test class players.Aus soon may be in that position...jury needs to be out till then at least...

Posted by Major_Hammad on (July 23, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

Congrates Hashim Amla, Great and Superb Tripple Hundred Inning by Legend Hashim Amla

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 7:24 GMT)

well done south africa i am a big fan of south african team you people desrve victory today best of luck you guys

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

@ Meety and Selfishkar... Well India did declare while sachin was notout on 194 against arch rival pakistan... can you guys please discuss about dire situation England is in and not bring sachin, BCCI in here...

Posted by crindo77 on (July 23, 2012, 7:17 GMT)

George Dobell , (and not Ravi Shastri), sums it up for England nicely; no 1 ranking by virtue of playing weaker teams under conditions that suit you. Australia in the Ashes 2010, dubbed by the home press as the ' Worst team ever'. Then, India last summer were a disaster; coming off a huge WC 2011 win hangover, a bowling attack rendered impotent by Zaheer Khan tearing a hamstring in the first 15 overs of the series, Yuvraj Singh playing with a symptomatic mediastinal tumour, an aging batting attack, and a general obvious disinterest in Test cricket that was manifest in Oz later that year. The gloating by the English media and fans ( Sky, Flintoff and Vaughn) was embarrassing. And already, Nasser Hussain was saying that England dont have to win in the subcontinent to prove they are the best in the world. Defensive?- Guess what happened in UAE, 0-3. So now they were the worst best team in the world. Confusing. Well looks like the confusion's gonna clear up now, with the English weather.

Posted by CDUP on (July 23, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

@JG2704, Interesting point but on the other hand, it's easy to look back and say the top 5 batsmen performed so 6 wasn't needed. What you forget is the mentality that comes with having a no.6 - the top-order feels far more relaxed and have less pressure if they know in their minds they have steady run scorers up to 6 or 7. Take that away and suddenly it's a score or lose scenario that is far more stressful and could lead to a cluster wicket situation. Remember, batsmen don't have room for mistakes - one error could mean the end - while bowlers can go at it all day, mistakes or no, ball by ball. 4 good bowlers should be enough in test cricket. If a team needs more it means that there is a weak link in the bowling that should be replaced. An extra bowler would have made little difference in this match, on such a tame pitch, but all England's hopes for a draw now rest on that extra batsman.

Posted by brusselslion on (July 23, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

My apologies to NZ fans. In my last post, I said that England had 18 months of easy Test cricket after this SA series. I had forgotten that the NZ series had been shoe horned in there. Tests against NZ are always a challenge; obviously I was referring to England's series against the other two less gifted nations!

Posted by Meety on (July 23, 2012, 7:08 GMT)

@JG2704- I know your reasonings regarding 5 bowlers, I accept that, & there is justification for them. Not wanting it to sound like a sledge, but it probably will to some, but wouldn't it be easier to find a decent #6? My main arguement against 5 bowlers, is that even in the UAE - England took wickets regularly & were let down by the batting. I'd also say that being a batsmen short in the 1st test v SL - cost England that test. On the #6 position I was surprised England went with Bairstow against the WIndies, it really should of been Taylor (not in great form at the time, but well qualified), or Compton or even Root (retrospectively). Anyways - there is every chance that Bopara will step up & make a difference.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

I thought 0/1 down and it should be a draw, 2/3 down and it's 50:50, but 4 down and SA are strong favourites. What a chance for Bopara to cement his place though and if England are say 5 down at Lunch and no more than 7 at tea ( with a 50 run lead by then) who knows. Will be an exciting day if England can keep going. A draw here for England will give them momentum into the next test as we have seen before. Fingers crossed :-)

Oh and guys...don't feed the trolls...ignore them and they will go away... post sensible and relevant ( the current state of the game) comments for the more mature readers to enjoy and discuss.

Posted by brusselslion on (July 23, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

No doubt England have been totally outplayed by a very good side with both bat & ball. I would definitely bring Finn in for the next Test. Anderson & Swann at least made SA work for their runs. Bresnan bowled too many leg side deliveries while Broad bowled too many 80mph short pitched deliveries so one of them should go. Tremlett has not played enough cricket to be considered this series. Difficult to see England turning this series around, however, my fellow England fans shouldn't despair too much, after this, we have 18 months of matches against very ordinary opposition.

Posted by CDUP on (July 23, 2012, 6:56 GMT)

As usual, most people on here are jumping the gun. As a South African I can admit that the one things SA is even better at than putting up an amazing performance such as this is throwing away a good position unnecessarily - the thing which caused them to draw 5 of their last 8 test series. Also, writing England off after one match is just as pathetic. The English has shown a winning mentality over the last few years - far more than SA - and will undoubtedly put up a far greater battle on better pitch conditions. This match, because of the pitch, was a battle of the bats and not the bowlers, despite what everyone expected, and in the batting department SA has more outstanding individuals. The matches to come will be on more bowler friendly pitches and then things will be difficult for both teams. People should stop making absolute predictions, since they could end up looking like proper fools.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

If Lady Luck doesn't shine on South Africa this time- after Smith becoming the First South African to score a Ton in his 100th Test and Amla becoming the First South African to score his country's first Test Triple Ton- Cricket will certainly be a game of glorious uncertainty. England has come full circle at the Oval. Like Boycott said in Test Match Special- 'I wouldn't bet me money on 'em' :(

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (July 23, 2012, 6:41 GMT)

More than the match i like the comments of jonesy2 and RandyOz :) realistically speaking SA are favorites now. Bell and prior might offer some resistance but i dont see bopara/bresnan can withstand steyn and morkel on 5th day.Looking forward to a productive 5th day.

Posted by Jack_Tka on (July 23, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

The pitch is flat. But after looking at how the English bowlers fared, I must say that the SA bowlers did a tremendous job on Day 1 and 2. The English attach seems toothless in this pitch. Even Swann is out of ideas now. So now England is in dilemma. If they prepare green pitch, then they have to face Steyn and Co.. If not, even then they are not sure of themselves. But time and again, SA has proved why they fare so well in all the pitches around the world, including Sub-continental pitches. Hats Off to SA.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 23, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

@praveen4honestremark on (July 23 2012, 00:51 AM GMT) Sorry , but realistically SA have at least 90-95% of winning with 0 chance of Eng winning. The odds on a draw might have been better if Cook or Trott were still at the crease but they're not

Posted by JG2704 on (July 23, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

@Meety ctd - I think there are a load of reasons to try the 5/1/5 formation. Freshness to bowlers , more bowling options, reduces risk of strain injury etc and when you have guys like Finn and Onions and Monty (on spinners) waiting in the wings it's not like the 6th batsmen situation where we're SEARCHING for that ideal player - that ideal player is there already. Yes our bowlers have rarely let us down and our batsmen have been far worse but in UAE first test our 4 bowlers struggled albeit partly because of no 2nd spinner. Whatever , we are going to need to win one of the next 2 tests at least and surely 5 bowlers is more likely to take wickets faster/cheaper than 4. I said at the start of the series I'd have Compton in there if they were going for a 6th bat as he is the sort of player who could not care less about the run rate and is obsessed with keeping his wicket. Now I feel the goalposts have changed

Posted by JG2704 on (July 23, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

@Meety on (July 22 2012, 23:55 PM GMT) - I have put this out countless times and it's not just the potential it would add but the fact that IMO (and stats back it up) our number 6 has been by far the weakest link consistently for years so you're not really losing anything batting wise. I have constantly asked supporters of the 6/1/4 to give examples of when the number 6 has made a game changing difference and have had no answers. All I get is that it's been a successful formula , but that's because our top 5 have done the job as well as bowlers with bat and ball. This isn't meant to sound cocky but in any of the tests we won I reckon we could have gone in with 5/1/4 even and still won and by the same token the ones we lost I reckon if we swapped a bowler for a batsman at change of inns we'd have still lost by similar margins.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

test tets tets tets tets test ets test e

Posted by jonesy2 on (July 23, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

one thing is for sure the aussies will be hoping england management continue to fail at their jobs and keep picking strauss, bell, bopara, broad and bresnan

Posted by jonesy2 on (July 23, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

at least Front-Foot-Lunge has a sense of humour especially with the ian bell bit but i think thats a bit harsh on bell. or maybe not he is a joke of a player i guess

Posted by disco_bob on (July 23, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

Sometimes we wonder how a batting unit will take 20 wickets. This English 'best bowling attack in the world", must be wondering how they are going to take 10 wickets.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

test test tets test test test

Posted by jonesy2 on (July 23, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

well this match has just backed up everything ive been saying for the last 2 years: england have an ordinary bowling attack that cant do anything in less than helpful conditions and the leader of the attack would be a third or 4th seamer option for most teams, swann is ok at best but i even thought he was better than he actually is none for 140 on this surface is nothing short of embarrassing (nathan lyon would have rolled SA on this pitch), bresnan is far from a test bowler he would stuggle to get games for an aussie 1st grade team, ditto broad. and last of all they have the most one dimentional batting line up in test cricket with the worst batsman to play test cricket batting at 6. absolutely no depth aswell. england never should have been ranked number 1, we know that and it looks good for SA to whipe england and then australia to have a chance to beat SA this summer to be number 1 by the time the next ashes series comes along england will be 4 or 5th. this is going to be fun

Posted by DocBindra on (July 23, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

Right, lets go English United fans, lets hear the excuses...this will make it 5 out of 6 right? You are getting it handed to you in your own backyard by an outfit that has mightily underachieved for years now. It never looked like Amla or Kallis would EVER get out, nor did it look like the proclaimed best spinner in the world would get even one wicket. Same track SA could have scored over a 1000 runs on, England is tottering. Sir Ian and Michael Atherton poked fun to the same fact. English reign is over before it got started.

Posted by Starboomber on (July 23, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

It's funny when people are saying SA played slowly forgetting how defensive the English were. 3rd new ball no slip at all...

Posted by rock.rockyin on (July 23, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

Congrats Amla .... u r a mighty player. I am hoping SA will win it today before Tea or lunch . It needs heroics from Bell and Bopara to draw this match for England

Posted by ahweak on (July 23, 2012, 5:38 GMT)

Hashim Amla is pure class. SA have laid down the marker. This series should be an interesting one.

Posted by DINESHCC on (July 23, 2012, 5:36 GMT)

Blue_Android. Where are you man? Your prediction of 645/4 has been achieved by SA.

Posted by Uppercut07 on (July 23, 2012, 5:29 GMT)

:D didnt david saker, england bowling coach say the current english attack is as good as the great aussie attack with mcgrath and warne??????????????????cant remember this happening to them(aussie attack with mcgrath & warne) LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

Posted by takenaback on (July 23, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

@chicko1983 You are too optimistic! Australian bowlers may have improved and if they can stay fit will cause other teams problems but our batting is so thin that I don't think we will be causing the top teams problems for a while. I enjoy seeing England getting thrashed but I have to disagree with comments of the England fans being smug. Good luck to them as us Australians smug commenters certainly had a long time at the top so it can only be fair that other fans enjoy it for a while. In saying that I hope England get thrashed good and proper!

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

After Amla's triple, this England side remain the only 1s along with NZ & BD who doesn't hav a triple centurion in deir ranks......daddy/grand daddy hundreds ne1????huh....

Posted by Isu00 on (July 23, 2012, 5:20 GMT)

It was England who made the fault.They were afraid of SA bowling attack and they prepared a flat pitch.But they forget what their strength which is there fast bowling attack.They were looking flat on this pitch.Anderson.broad & bresnan all are traditional swing bowlers where steyn is a speed star who moves both ways.morkel hit the deck type bowler who always keep batsman guessing while philander is a great line and length bowler.So SA had a nice blend to take wickets even in this flat pitch.England prepared this pitch expecting swann to do the damage.But it was not easy against kallis and amla.brilliant batting.thanks for the entertainment.it was worth watching

Posted by dariuscorny on (July 23, 2012, 5:12 GMT)

i can see some Aussies here who say coming Oct/Nov they will defeat SA and will become no.1 once again.can you imagine,is it that much easy as they say?well if SA plays good cricket doesnt means Aus automatically plays good.rememember Aus has worst batting line up for every format of the game,bowling is decent if not good.they are also suffering with same dillusion after defeating ageing India.Indians are also in rebuilding phase,only SA seems settled.....

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 23, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

@MattyP1979. You asked for "thoughts" as to why SA, ranked no.3, are crushing Eng, the no.1 ranked team. The answer is clear: the test rankings system utterly useless. It has been apparent for years that the system reflects only the interests of the dominant cricket boards as it favors the teams that play more. A year ago the no.3 team, England, whitewashed the no.1 team, India. Today the no.3 team is thrashing the no.1 team. 10 days ago the top rankings were: Eng 117, SA 116, Aus 112. The next day they changed: Eng 122. Aus 116, SA 113 because of the unfathomable Byzantine stupidity of this system. It is blatantly obvious that Kendix concocted a Frankenstein, but the ICC are too hidebound to admit it is a farce, & while Aus, Ind or Eng hold the top spot no way will they change. It is really rather sad the way some cricket followers cling to these absurd rankings and squabble over a farcical, irrelevant set of flawed numbers unrepresentative of the reality of international cricket.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 5:04 GMT)

The 100% chances are in favour of SA winning this match...and they should do this by the end of 2nd session...demolish the english & destroy them & snatch away the rankings...as they are not eligible for that NO.1 Ranking...Bcoz they are just want to maintain the rank 1 in for Test Matches, not for ODI...They are not capable for the NO.1 rank...Dear SA team, plz go for the kill & finish the english ASAP.......

Posted by dariuscorny on (July 23, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

all other nations other than SA are in decline,see Ind,Aus,SL and defeating them moresoever at your own conditions,dillusioned Eng as they always do,now they face the sweet chin music,Eng will face the reality of their cricket.guys have you observed any difference between the South african players of Eng and SA?for eg Amla is miles ahead of Trott,as is Kallis when compared with Pieterson and etc.that is why they are playing for their native countries and not have migrated coz were not good enough to play for SA......

Posted by Meety on (July 23, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

@chicko1983 - shhhhhh! That plan including the bit about pretending to play the ODIs against England was meant to be a secret!

Posted by TheJester79 on (July 23, 2012, 4:47 GMT)

Its for this exact reason that I never shoot my mouth off making silly predictions of 3-0 white washes, no matter what kind of form my team is in. Even now reading through some of the comments I just shake my head. One things for sure, dont count Eng out... They'll be coming back, and they'll be coming back hard, make no mistake about it.

Posted by Meety on (July 23, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

@Vinay Kolhatkar - whilst I rate Tremlett above Bresnan (particularly in Eng), I think you'll find that Tremlett is almost the slowest of the English pacers & Bresnan (Finn aside), the fastest. Tremlett rarely gets above the low 130kphs. Broad has had a very good run & can easily turn things around, however, I half agree with your bowling line up - I'd go Anderson, Tremlett & Bresnan with Swanny. I don't agree with your assessment of Swann - it's hard for a spinner when the pacers are not taking wickets - just ask Ashwin! re: "Yes, India would have never declared with any batsman 182 not out" - arguably the BEST comment made by an Indian fan on this site EVER! Could you imagine the outrage if Sachin was "stranded" on 182no, by a Dhoni declaration??? The outrage, cricingo match report would have about 10,000 comments before the servers crashed, Dhoni would have to face an Inquiry & probably resign the captaincy - in shame. Great comment!

Posted by Oldpunk on (July 23, 2012, 4:37 GMT)

Amla n. - South African term for a real batsman. Pietersen n. - South African term for a slugger.

I love the way Kev presents the makers name and holds the pose for the cameras... ... only to hear the death rattle as his furniture is rearranged. Nobody missed the shot ...... except Kev.

Posted by tjsimonsen on (July 23, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

Absolutely awsome display of power by SA! The first day apart, this is basically what England has been doing to all visitors for the past 3 years, just roles reverse. I don't think anyone can claim that Kallis has anything to prove now!

Posted by Rezaul on (July 23, 2012, 4:24 GMT)

Yes, SA could have attacked more and score 60/70 extra runs. I wanted Amla at one end and another end to go for all out attack on out of sort English bowlers. Surprisingly, they kept batting as usual way without any real urgency. But I liked Morkel, Tahirś attacking bowling. I would love to see Tahir bowling with forward short leg, silly point, gully, slip, leg slip on 5th day pitch and cant wait to see how English middle/late order face this music.

Posted by Romenevans on (July 23, 2012, 4:12 GMT)

The Best Swing attach of the "No.1 Team" only manged to get 2 wickets? ROFLMAO! Dreams are over poms. Go SA, what a team! Go Amla, What a player!

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (July 23, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

In a five day period of test cricket you got be lukcy like Kallis and Amla to bat when picthes behaves dearly to you..they got the luck they got the runs..

Posted by p77gin on (July 23, 2012, 3:47 GMT)

england on the mat? wow! what a turnaround! didn't someone say this was the best england attack of all time?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 23, 2012, 3:34 GMT)

Wow! Barring day 1, England have been vastly outplayed in this game. I didn't see any of England's second innings so I don't know how much was good bowling and how much was poor batting but, either way, after England's ineffectual display with the ball, it's a big concern. Even if England eke out a draw here, SA will have been the far better team. Never has there been a better time for Bell and Bopara to stand up and prove their critics wrong. I reckon they both need to be still there at lunch for there to be any chance of a draw, and probably at least one at tea too. Prior is a good bat but his strength is attack, not defence. There was talk of England's strong tail before the game and they may need all of it here. While I don't see him as a saviour, England would be crazy not to bring Finn in for game 2 in some capacity. Both teams had an innings win in the last series in SA so England can obviously still come back but it's looking like a very uphill climb.

Posted by 9ST9 on (July 23, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

George Dobell on day 1 said this about Cook : " It will be no surprise to wake up the day after the apocalypse and find Cook taking guard and nudging a single off his hips" LOL... apocalypse came in the form of Amla, and unfortunately unlike Dobell thinks cook was too stunned by the apocalypse..

Posted by Rowayton on (July 23, 2012, 3:18 GMT)

Love the work of Frontfootlunge below who reckons that Bell has been battering Australia for years. Yeah, sure, average of 32 in 18 tests. I'm sure the Aussies are terrified of him.

Posted by legb4 on (July 23, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

As an Aussie i would love nothing more than to come on here and bag the Poms but all i can say is how good did Amla look you can bag the bowlers as much as you want but that was quality batting.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 2:55 GMT)

South africa current team is the best team after clive lloyed's team in 1983. They will definitly win this series......................!

Posted by MattyP1979 on (July 23, 2012, 2:38 GMT)

SA could of got 100000 runs in this match if it doesn't produce a result what is the point. As long as Eng get away with a draw they might of done us a favour, Finn needs to come in. Where the hell is the rain anyway, wettest summer since Adam/Eve all we needed was Eng cricket to want some and fffzzzzaaappp not a drop.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (July 23, 2012, 2:36 GMT)


Posted by jango_moh on (July 23, 2012, 2:30 GMT)

great day for SA.... i think theirs is about the only Bowling unit rite now that can perform well on any of the different pitches in the world... specifically dale steyn... eng bowlers really need helpful conditions to be really effective...

Posted by RoJayao on (July 23, 2012, 1:56 GMT)

Oh boy, hope you are enjoying the carnage, smug Pommy fans! Not much of a number 1 team are you?! Oh no it doesn't swing or seam, what will we do?! Pathetic. SA are very clearly a better side, and the best side, though it's just as clear that their weak captain is what has truly held them back from being the number 1 side since the end of the great Australian era of dominance. May the best side finally get to the top, enough with the pretenders already!

Posted by chicko1983 on (July 23, 2012, 1:56 GMT)

its all falling into place for Australia, let Sth Africa win the series and take no.1 off England and then defeat SA at home in Oct/Nov.

The Number 1 ranking will be Aussies before the end of the year. Back where it belongs.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 1:46 GMT)

Not quite right to be a critic of SA tactics but with 8 wickets in hand, they shud havev gone all broke once they had a 175 lead and ended up with a +300 lead now they have still left the door ajar for england to play for a draw or add a bit more after the deficit and leave saffers with no time. even after reaching 300 amla didnt do a mad dash neither did kallis - are not outs so important? SA played painfully slow even after they were secure -why not give a chance to AB to hit a few . willl know tomorrow if its a grave error

Posted by Oz_khan on (July 23, 2012, 1:31 GMT)

Hats off to Hashim Amla what a player and more over a gentle man....He is one of the very few of modern cricketers (including Rahul Dravid, Mohammed Yousuf, Glenn McGrath, Ian Bell etc) which still prove that the CRICKET IS THE GENTLE MEN'S game.....

Posted by Badgerofdoom on (July 23, 2012, 1:29 GMT)

Well not point beating around the bush England have been outplayed and it will require someone to play a pretty epic innings to save a draw. England's batsmen have really played a big role in their own downfall. Still lets not get too down, still two matches left in the series. Might have to consider Finn in the team next match.

Posted by Ross_Co on (July 23, 2012, 1:15 GMT)

Maybe the ECB could declare that the South African side is now 'England' and the 'England' side is now South Africa - the real nationalities of the sides aren't much of a problem after all and that way 'England' can retain its Number 1 status. Worth thinking about.

Posted by jezzastyles on (July 23, 2012, 1:09 GMT)

SA look to have this one well and truly wrapped up - England need Prior and the lower-order to perform in order to conjure a miracle draw - can't see it happening. Swann's didn't bowl crap! 52-overs and wicketless, but an economy rate of 2.90 means he at least contained the SA batsmen. Just goes to show that a convincing win in a 1-day series vs. AUS in the leadup to this game was basically meaningless - even though, judging by many of the comments posted on this site back then - you would would swear that 1-day cricket form carries over into the longer form of the game. It doesn't (just look at India), and yet the short-memory England supporters were carrying on as if they had already secured the NEXT Ashes series - home & hosed - on the back of a 3-0 test series loss to PAK in UAE. However, this is Test cricket, and quality sides (as England are) need to fight back, either on day 5 or over the course of the remaining 2 matches. Let's see if they are up to the task.

Posted by Hodra99 on (July 23, 2012, 1:08 GMT)

Where have all the big noting English posters gone??? England have a slender No 1 ranking for a very short period of time and most of their supporters think they are the best team that has ever played the game.....reality check Pak 3 Eng 0...now getting not just beaten but absolutely hammered....normal service in the cricketing world has been restored.

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (July 23, 2012, 0:51 GMT)

My match analysis : SA outplayed ENG in every department of game in 4 days of game in this test match.102/4 on 5th day where ENG resumes their proceedings with 90 overs of cricket left. There are still three possible results that can come out of this game. But the percentage of that is: 80% SA win.19% Draw. 1% ENG win. England wins only if SA looses. Means it is if SA plays worst cricket to achieve a target of some 120 in 30 overs, if Bell, Bopara, and Prior along with lower order contribute by hitting 2 tons and some runs then only ENG can win. 1% possibility. England bowling is completely exposed in this game. They may be better than this. Second test match will answer that.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 0:46 GMT)

South Africa only need 6 wickets but they could've batted for far too long. England just need to hold on on the last day then all things will be okay. A well judged declaration or just letting Kallis and Amla achieve personal milestones. I like to see this SA beat Aus in Aus, they done it in 08/09, can they do it at the end of this year? The pitches at the last two tests will be different.

Posted by Talubar on (July 23, 2012, 0:45 GMT)

The self appointed "best bowling attack in cricket" looked decidedly ordinary against some very disciplined batsman. Swann in particular never looked like he bothered anyone. Maybe England have been spending too much time reading their scrapbooks and simply have not taken SA seriously? Having said that I'd be surprised if England don't bounce back, quickly.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 0:43 GMT)

south africa at times have some of the hardest pitches to bat on againt green seaming pitches with lots of swing and pace, and is shows with this pitch was no trouble for them at all, you could just see the technique of the batsmen on handling good pace and swing, both these teams have quality attack and batsmen and at the moment SA are in control but this series is far from over, i was surprised there was no steve finn, he is a giant man who has pace and movement, he would have made a good impact in this game, this series will be a great one, im expecting Philanders to clean up,,that man cant go a test with out bagging a 5fa.

Posted by kunderanengineer on (July 23, 2012, 0:32 GMT)

People were debating after Day 3 whether SA's massive score of 403/2 at the end of the day's play was more the result of a subcontinental pitch or the fact that England's bowlers lacked a strategy combined with very patient batting by SA's top order. I think SA's performance on Day 4 both with bat and ball emphatically put an end to that debate.

Posted by DanielNarayan on (July 23, 2012, 0:30 GMT)

A great contest between the 2 top sides. For a while there on the first dat it seemed as if it might be very one sided. No excuses for England, they are at home, they batted first, and they are about to lose by an innings. The visiting side is also playing their first match of the series in these foreign conditions.You cant get more emphatic than that! After the way England has dominated certain teams over the last couple of years though it makes you realise that the level of cricket at the moment is exceptionally poor, with most sides just home tigers. There doesnt seem to be a dominant side fom either of the subcontinental teams or the others who can perform in foreign conditions. P.S. For the people with agendas and bias, please stick to the subject!

Posted by Drew2 on (July 23, 2012, 0:27 GMT)

In the unlikely event that England survive, the blame should go to Kallis, who was far too carefull with his batting when resuming at 2/402. You do have to get your eye in, but once again Kallis has one eye on the win and the other on his batting average. South Africa couldn't lose from 2/402 so all out attack was the only option and Smith should have declared with this lead well before tea to have a double dip at England. It's doubtful that England will survive, so this over cautious display by Kallis will largely go unnoticed.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 0:26 GMT)

I think the english team is made up of a bunch of talkers - namely the english commentators who create such an expectation - imagine comparing Swann and Anderson to McGrath and Warne - what an audacity!!! bunch of trash talkers if you ask me

Posted by ashes61 on (July 23, 2012, 0:26 GMT)

Brilliant displays by Amla & Kallis, even in such helpful conditions. Amla reminded me why he is one of my two favourite overseas players, alongside Mike Hussey. The turning point (so far) in this Test was the series of soft dismissals of ENG batsmen on day 2, which left ENG at least 100/150 short of what they should have accrued after being 267/3. Possibly over confidence but certainly a careless lack of application. Re "battle-hardened England", not quite. Anderson has not bowled in a 1st class match since 10th June & the other seamers not much more. KP's continued lack of application in Test innings far outweighs instances of the right approach when he bats. I wouldn't persevere with him any longer. My 3-0 prediction is now untenable, as ENG will now only draw instead of winning this one, so 2-0 instead. Saffers - remember Athers & Onions! And ask the Aussies about Jimmy & Monty! Our Saffers are already out but "born in England" English grit will see us through tomorrow OK.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 0:24 GMT)

SA has always been a very good side espically in Tests .they are also very good in ODIs. I think SA will win the series and become No.1 in rankings. Now I would love to see SA vs PAK .the only two good Test playing teams at the moment (talking about Tests only )

Posted by disco_bob on (July 23, 2012, 0:24 GMT)

@MattyP1979, it's a bit rich saying 'SA should hang their heads in shame' considering the scenario you propose is simply a desperate fantasy.

Posted by Just_love_it on (July 23, 2012, 0:22 GMT)

I was looking for that article some GENIUS posted yesterday that this is so FLAT track and this kinda track will kill test matches and bla bla....well HE is right in one way that it's due to flat track that all 4 SA bowlers could take only one wickets each on 4th day otherwise match should be over by now if track was NOT flat.BTW HOW MANY MONTHS THIS SO CALLED CHAMPS ENGLAND LASTED AT #1 ?

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (July 23, 2012, 0:22 GMT)

Poor Wicket..Poor Bowling..Poor Fielding Records galore.....Boring..They should stop playing at Oval..Period..Kalis survivied and gifted with this batting wicket Lucky..Amla very boring player to watch...on this easy conditionds..

Posted by poms_have_short_memories on (July 23, 2012, 0:21 GMT)

All I can say is thank god Trott and Pietersen don't play for Sth Africa, they would be almost good enough to actually beat the Australian team 1995-2004, and imagine how frail England's batting would be without them!

Posted by disco_bob on (July 23, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

End of day one England expected an easy victory. End of day two came the excuses due to the rain. End of day three England expected an easy draw at least. End of day four England fantasists dream of a difficult draw at best. Good test cricket.

Posted by   on (July 23, 2012, 0:13 GMT)

England must replace allrounders with real bowlers. That means Tremlett and Finn for Bresnan and Broad. A Finn, Tremlett & Andersen attack is still not the equal of Morkel, Philander & Steyn but gets awfully close. Finn is a Broad-like bowler, only faster. Tremlett, despite his size, relies on swing like Bresnan, but is quicker and can also bowl threatening, lifting deliveries. Of course, if Swann cant get wickets even at the Oval, he will be useless elsewhere like he was even against a demoralised Indian team. So Bresnan can replace Swann then. Yes, India would have never declared with any batsman 182 not out, especially one who is piling records like Kallis and a 200 was coming.

Posted by applethief on (July 23, 2012, 0:12 GMT)

@Hoady Except, you know, Sri Lanka and Pakistan

Posted by applethief on (July 23, 2012, 0:10 GMT)

@landl47 what now of all the "promises" we heard at the start of this series? Jus need to wait for Tahir to wrap up the tail and this will be a humbling on all accounts

Posted by IndiaRulesEverybody on (July 23, 2012, 0:09 GMT)

Really glad this abomination of having the England team as the No.1 team is going to end soon.

Posted by disco_bob on (July 23, 2012, 0:08 GMT)

There some similarities between this match and the one between Australia and India where Clarke made 329

Posted by kunderanengineer on (July 23, 2012, 0:05 GMT)

To all those who confidently predicted on these very posts that England would win the series 3-0 after watching the first day's play of the first test: what are you having your crow with?

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 23, 2012, 0:04 GMT)

English Media, what are your opinions on Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad now? These primmadonna journeymen have been keeping quality English talent (haha) out of the side. Finn should definitely be there in place of Broad as his 120kmph pies do not cut the mustard. "Swann far better the Tahir" was a tune we all often heard before this series - well guess what, Swann bowled 52 overs of iddly squat. Andrew Strauss would make a Sydney grade side yet is somehow still picked. Looks like Smith will end a third English captain.

Posted by Meety on (July 23, 2012, 0:03 GMT)

OK - stumps Day 4, much easier to get the crystal ball out & make predictions tomorrow. I see the Saffas making fairly consistent breakthroughs thru out the day, although I think one of England's "tail" may hit out & play a great counter attacking knock (no idea if it'll be a cameo or much more substantial). At Lunch - England 7/220, & then all out for 300ish near Tea, giving the Saffas a "simple" chase of 50 to 80 runs, that gets tricky as a) the weather closes in, & b) Bopara runs thru the top order (Yes I said Bopara) - the Saffas win by 5 wickets. I predict Bell will fall within the first 6 balls he faces. Phillander & Tahir will get most of the remaining 6 wickets. There I've said it, lets see how far I'm out.

Posted by gullycover on (July 23, 2012, 0:03 GMT)

@ Hoady - So you back this English Team against every other test side at the moment? Well, this same test side was thrashed by Pakistan 3-0 at UAE. Dont make absurd claims. Finally, this is South Africa's time to shine. They have match winning batsmen, amazing fast bowlers and a world class leg spinner. It will take some effort to stop this team.

Posted by Ramcharitarvishal on (July 23, 2012, 0:02 GMT)

Congrats to Amla, would've really like to see you have a go at Lara's recordifthe opportunity had presented itself.

Posted by Meety on (July 22, 2012, 23:55 GMT)

@JG2704 - 5/1/5 strategy would be better suited for England IF they were to lose this test. The only thing (IMO) a 5th bowler would of done in this test for England is allowed Anderson & co to be a bit fresher. This is the 1st time in ages that wicket taking has been a problem for England. The problem atm, is that a lack of penetration is combined with a batting slump (14 for 200), which I think is the bigger worry. On a different note, should the Saffas win, & then there are other hammerings in this series (hopefully England winning the 2nd test to make the series really interesting), I would say that it would suggest that there isn't much difference between the top teams in the Test world, just who grabs their chances at any given moment. I can't explain how India get whitewashed twice in a row in their fall from #1, & England straight up get stitched up to nil in their first series as #1. Oz lose a series as #1 ODI to nil, & Eng are getting stitched here by the "3rd" best test team!

Posted by   on (July 22, 2012, 23:32 GMT)

I'm really pleasantly surprised by the outcomed so far as a South African, because I felt we were going into a Test serie, seriously undercooked - as in no game time - whereas England have been battle hardened. The match is not won and the series not done, but I think credit needs to be given to the coach, Gary Kirsten. I have never seen a South African team start so strongly. Andrew McGlashan fails to mention Mike Atherton's 160 odd to save a Test match at the Wanderers. I had the agony of sitting through most of that. Is there anyone in the England team who can follow suit? We will see. I doubt it, this English team now looks brittle.

Posted by Nerk on (July 22, 2012, 23:29 GMT)

This is one test. It hasn't even finished yet. Yes, England will probably lose, but it is no certainty. Also, South Africa have a history of waltzing away to a great win in the first then falling away badly for the other matches. The fact is, England played great cricket over the last couple of years, they have beaten Australia in two test series, something South Africa hasn't been able to do, they thrashed India at home, something South Africa hasn't been able to do. So lets wait for the rest of the series to pan out before evaluating who deserves the number one spot.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (July 22, 2012, 23:29 GMT)

well played RSA, great skill and concentration from their bats, and impressive bowling, hopefully Flower, gooch & saker will be taking notes... it certainly shows the difference between Arthur and Kirsten... Kirsten took india to the top and will try with RSA... Arthur, well, enough said, look at what he's doing! struggling for positives for eng, even with bell and bopeep at the crease... and get some walkie talkies eng!

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

SA's game to lose. IMO, b aggressive. Let ENG make some shots but don try to b negative as its been goin on for most of the countries. BEST OF LUCK DALE STEYN n CO...

Posted by Hoady on (July 22, 2012, 23:18 GMT)

I wouldn't be so critical of the English side. There is no shame getting done by this particular SAF side. 4 batsmen with averages over 49, and nearly 100 centuries between them. 4 bowlers with nearly 1000 test wickets between them, and Kallis has the worst average of all of them. I can think of only two other teams in the last 30 years with a line up like that, under Clive Lloyd and Steve Waugh. I would still back England against every other test side at the moment.

Posted by Selfishkar on (July 22, 2012, 23:16 GMT)

If it had been Dhoni, instead of Smith, India would not have declared with Sachin on 311 notout. Sachin's hundred is more important that team's victory as was case in Steve Waugh's last test when Sachin scored 240 and India did not declare till 700. Tendulkar has been playing test cricket for 22 years, yet he can't score 250 against even Bangladesh or Zimabawe at home. Usually when facing a dauting total against a quality attack as was the case in this test, Sachin prefers the comfort of dessing room over the heat at the pitch. In fact, India did not score as much runs as Amla in any of the the eight completed innings against the same English bowlers

Posted by premclement on (July 22, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

This test is beginning to prove the point that England can play very well at home especially against teams that out of form and complacent (India) or teams beginning to rebuild (Aus, WI). Also, they can not play in sub-continent. I wonder how Eng managed to reach no:1 status in tests, which, perhaps, they deserved for a very short time. Even India managed to no:1 for more than 2 years!

Posted by MattyP1979 on (July 22, 2012, 22:38 GMT)

To all Anglo bashers, how many chickens have you got? Wait they haven't hatched yet. One day to go lads, although we still might lose Eng should be able to get a draw. If that happens what does that say about Eng and SA. It tells me Finn needs to come in and SA batsman need to put the team before themselves. If SA do cross the line the same applies. Eng need some luck, I hope they get alot.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (July 22, 2012, 22:30 GMT)

Well played to SA and congratulations to Amla on his history-making efforts. Probably a 637 for 2 pitch and certainly not 102 for 4. Of the Eng wickets to fall today you'd have to say that only Cook got a decent delivery and the others were guily of gifting their wickets. From a neutral's perspective, this was not good to watch as there was nothing in the pitch for the bowlers and the SA scored painfully slowly for a lot of their innings. It will be interesting to see how Eng's lower respond to batting for saving the game when they are are ones who usually turn competitive scores into match-winning ones.

Posted by jr1972 on (July 22, 2012, 22:26 GMT)

Where's the rain when we need it. Joking aside SA have been superb and should wrap this one up by the middle of the afternoon session.

Posted by Hyderabadi_Nawab on (July 22, 2012, 22:24 GMT)

What a partnership from Amla and Kallis - classic test match batting at its best, it was engrossing to watch them play defence, tribute ti their straight bats!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (July 22, 2012, 22:22 GMT)

The terrrifying and awesome stupidity of arranging a 3 test series between teams of this calibre is starting to wreak its full ghastly import.I keep hoping against hope that this mad dream will end and that a fourth Test will have been added. Absolute disgrace by the authorities. Just imagine if the wimbledon's Men's final was suddenly reduced to 3 sets.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (July 22, 2012, 22:16 GMT)

Congrats to SA anyway. One thing we won't be doing is going on every single story about SA and having a pop at them just because they knocked us off the no.1 spot by beating us fair and square.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (July 22, 2012, 22:15 GMT)

Another very bad day for Eng, totally outplayed. However.....all Eng need is one half decent partnership and for the tail to wag a little to ensure this goes down as a draw. If that happens SA should hang their heads in shame, one thing pilling on runs but at a rate that will not ensure victory. I wonder why they have so many players top of the rankings yet their team is 3rd???? Avg's over results maybe....thoughts?

Posted by yorkshirematt on (July 22, 2012, 21:57 GMT)

SA will be safely back in the pavilion toasting their victory by mid afternoon. For the last three nights we have hoped vainly that tomorrow England will improve and show why they are, soon to be were, no.1. Don't see why tomorrow will be any different to days 2, 3 and 4.

Posted by teo. on (July 22, 2012, 21:56 GMT)

Wow!! After such a crushing, humiliating display by SA...I don't think anyone can argue about them being the true #1 team, and have been for a while... regardless of the outcome of this series. It's true, SA simply just don't play as often as the others...

Posted by disco_bob on (July 22, 2012, 21:55 GMT)

We should not forget the prescient captaincy of Smith, his declaration precisely at the moment when the 'flat-track-road-featherbed' turned into a devious, spiteful, squirming, minefield, was uncanny.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (July 22, 2012, 21:53 GMT)

Ok ....So this is how's it's going to tomorrow..... Ravi and Belly will get into the groove and complete equal time 100's. Then with about an hour to tea the crumbling pitch will give the batters nightmares. Prior and Broad will chance their arms and get 60 and 40 apiece. England will be bowled out with a meagre lead of 180. Smith, Amla and Kallis will fall to Swann (who'll open the bowling on a crumbling wicket) leaving SA on 33 for 3 at tea. England will mop up the rest with Swann taking 8 for 40 and win the test by 80 odd runs. You'll see...... (OK doctor - I'm ready for my medication now...) Could happen..... COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by tests_the_best on (July 22, 2012, 21:51 GMT)

Well played SA. Outside of India, SA are my favorite team. Tough, competitive brand of cricket minus the boorish on-field behavior of the Aussies. Respect frm an Indian fan.

Posted by letsgoproteas on (July 22, 2012, 21:50 GMT)

Great work from the Proteas.

Hopefully the boys will clean up whats left of this batting line up. Smith, Amla and Kallis.... perfect. And whats great is, we didnt even need to see AB in flow. Morne and Steyn were fantastic. Philander will come into his own and show Anderson what swing bowling is.

Posted by djdrastic on (July 22, 2012, 21:49 GMT)

Welcome to Fortress England !

Posted by sonicattack on (July 22, 2012, 21:46 GMT)

It was a brilliant performance from SA, couldn't be faulted and made England's attack seem toothless - it's not, of course, as performances have shown over the last couple of years - but give all the credit to SA - Amla, wonderful! Can't see England saving the game tomorrow, if by some magic they do - could be the making of Bopara!

Posted by DaveMorton on (July 22, 2012, 21:43 GMT)

Perhaps England had started to believe some of the rubbish written about them. This is a competent, well-led, organised side; it is not a great side. I have watched them lose -most recently in U.A.E., before that in W Indies and in Sri Lanka - and I have enjoyed the win in Australia. They were the weaker side in S Africa, but through strong character managed to hang on for a draw in the series.

Let's appreciate them for what they are, a worthy representative side, and let us stop using the G word in connection with the team or any of the individual players.

Trueman and Statham were great; Anderson is not. Laker was great; Swann is not. And that is not to denigrate the abilities of Jimmy or Swanny, fine cricketers both.

Posted by Buggsy on (July 22, 2012, 21:43 GMT)

Wow, I did not expect this. Congratulations to Amla.

Posted by Rolfardeo on (July 22, 2012, 21:39 GMT)

It seems that SA are well on their way to win, but its a chance for Bopara to show everyone that he belongs in the team. If England manages to save this match it will be an amazing achievement. Result or draw this is an excellent match! I love test cricket!

Posted by heathrf1974 on (July 22, 2012, 21:34 GMT)

Well played SA. This is probably the best they've played in a while. They are now playing to their potential.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2012, 21:27 GMT)

I'm surprised people don't rank Amla along with the likes of Bradman, Viv Richards, Sobers, Ponting, Lara etc because his record in batting is just as good as them and clearly South Africa are the best team in the world right now and for those who are wondering why they're not number 1 in the world right now is simply because they play very little games compared to England.

Posted by Guernica on (July 22, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

Well, well I didn't think today could get be any worse for England than yesterday. I was wrong. Luckily I was out enjoying the rare sunshine instead of following this. Absolutely no positives England can take from the last two days. Congrats to SA though on an unbelievable display.

Posted by pommy80 on (July 22, 2012, 21:03 GMT)

Well played today SA, especially the great batting by Amla & the world's best player, Kallis.

Posted by Damo_s on (July 22, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

Blimey we (England) have been taken apart this test. If batting was as easy as SA made it look then we should not have lost 4 wickets in the last session. Well done SA looks like its going to be 1-0 to you with 2 to play. We need to totally sort it out as based on this display I see it being 3-0 to SA

Posted by landl47 on (July 22, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

Great day for South Africa again. So far they have outplayed England on 3 of the 4 days and have thoroughly deserved their position of dominance. Great innings by Amla, well-supported by Kallis, and congratulations to him on setting a new SA record. The picture looks pretty bleak for England tomorrow, but I hope they'll take a leaf out of the Aussies' book and fight to the last man. They've done it before and although the odds are 20-1 on SA winning, England needs to make them fight all the way.

Posted by ste13 on (July 22, 2012, 20:37 GMT)

England completely outplayed. I am totally surprised by inability of the bowling unit. SA should wrap it up tomorrowafter the new ball. It will be difficult to bounce back. and it will be even more difficult to make an impact on Indian pitches in the autumn. No 1 ranking gone?

Posted by m.masroor on (July 22, 2012, 20:31 GMT)

Amazing batting. This is month of Ramadan and Amla did the triple while fasting. Amazing !!!

Posted by 5wombats on (July 22, 2012, 20:18 GMT)

Well played South Africa. Amla brilliant, Smith, Kallis - outstanding.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

Saw the difference in class between the two teams today. Saw why Kallis, Amla and Smith are great batsman and KP is just one "with talent". Seems we should forget the series and give the crown to SA because this is a done deal to me. Shame, thought England had turned the corner but it seems their number one status was based on three things. One what statisticians would call sample bias, i.e. too few tests to base it on and too many of those against weak teams in favorable conditions. Two, teams unexpectedly underperforming hugely and three, massive amounts of luck. Nothing more. Always thought SA were the better side they just don't play as much test cricket as England. No coming back from today. Guess I can enjoy England going back to being mediocre again.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (July 22, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

Good old south africa!! The fans do not seem to realise that they could have kept hold of no.1 4 years ago and recovered it at any time since, but it really is a matter of siezing the day as it were.And once again fans are indulging in a practice coronation long before the deed is done. They do not have to overexult either should they get there,IF as well as when. after all they have had so long to capture it and perhaps a toyuch of humility might be in order. In any casoe let us wait until South africa do become no. 1 before considering it a done deal. By contrast england at the top have had to indulge in or two acts of escaplogy, but they hang on.It ain't over till the fat lady sings.... not even this game, though I would admit this seems a million to one shot.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 22, 2012, 20:14 GMT)

Well SA have thoroughly out played us in all depts. Is there such a term as "bad week at the office?" Congratulations Amla, I listened to an interview with him after the game and he came across as a humble man. Well played Kallis too.I said yesterday that if we were still behind with Bopara and Bell coming into bat then that would be it. Obviously I'd be absolutely delighted if they prove me wrong but realistically I can't see it happening. Also good declaration by Smith - maybe he learnt by that NZ 3rd test. As an England fan there are a few straws to clutch at in that we have held on before and we have had inns defeats before and still drawn/won the series.The good thing is that Headingly is usually a results pitch but we still have to up our game immensely to do so. And please 5/1/5 , surely it's better to get defeated by going for the jugular than by trying to be defensive

Posted by   on (July 22, 2012, 20:05 GMT)

Something Australian batsmen to learn from the South Africans !

Posted by Cricketfan101 on (July 22, 2012, 20:02 GMT)

Englands last three test wicket have cost 780/3 that because of three big patnership the between best and ramdin then between alma and smith and alma and kallis

Posted by   on (July 22, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

Hard to see a way out of this for England. South Africa have basically won nine sessions in a row now. They will be fighting each other for the first crack at Bell and Bopara tomorrow, in stark contrast to the way the English bowlers are probably feeling right now. Alan Donald said before the series started that Tahir would have a big role to play and many fans scoffed at that, he showed quite clearly today though that he will be dangerous in spinning conditions.... Hats off to South Africa, they have played flawlessly for three days solid now.

Posted by Spelele on (July 22, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

What happened to the so-called best attack in the world? Swann proved to be overrated after all (it's funny how he has been comprehensively outbowled by Tahir so far, and the match isn't even over!). I said it before the series began, and I will say it again: SA are excellent players of spin (hence their good record all around the world, including Asia), so the 'Swann threat' was a little overemphasized. ENG's best chance is a green top where their military medium pacers like Broad and Anderson will thrive (although of course this would be at a risk of Steyn and Co. destroying their own batting line-up more than they already are on a flat track). There would at least be a chance. And bringing in Finn could also make a difference! Either way, this Test match is going one way (and I'm not talking about a draw!). So much for the docile pitch which was described as being 'one of the gravest threats to the future of Test cricket' when SA was batting. I guess it depends on who bowls on it :)

Posted by phoenixsteve on (July 22, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

et again more great stuff from South Africa and hopefully England will have learnt some valuable lessons if they intend to stay at the top? A truly spectacular day for South Africa with the bat and pretty imprssive stuff with the ball too! Signs of the old England weak menatlity showed and Strauss in particular should be ashamed of his dismissal. What an ill judged (reckless even) shot to play at that stage on a wearing pitch. KP was out to a straight ball that he played all around. Maybe he sight of his middle stump cartwheeling will see him apply himself in the future? For the final session it was all about England surviving and gritting their teeth & selling their wickets dearly. Not so forKP ans Strauss and to a lesser extent Trott. Cook can be excused as he got a good one very early on. Can the rest of them hold on? They should be able to as the wicket hasn't really changed and once the defecit of 150 or so is reached, every run counts double. Tough it out boys! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by pawaramol22 on (July 22, 2012, 19:52 GMT)

well done SA. It looks like draw to me.

Posted by warnerbasher on (July 22, 2012, 19:51 GMT)

Have mixed feelings about watching the Saffers play in Australia later this year given the great batting and bowling that they have showed in this match. I am expecting that the Aussie bowlers will provide a sterner challenge than the "military mediums' of England who for the self proclaimed number 1 attack in the world were utterly inept. By the way does KP ever score any runs when the bowlers in the opposition are not tired. Seems to me that he is heavily dependent on the batting of the normally well performed English top 3

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 22, 2012, 19:50 GMT)

A great day for South African fans, but for true cricket lovers it'd be fair and balanced to say that the great English 'summer' ensured the deadest pitch this side of Nagpur. It all fell into place for South Africa, especially their bowlers and especially so after Philander had got one to nag back and trap Cookie in front for a zero; the climb may be too steep. Ian Bell has battered lower-ranked teams like Australia and India around for years now, even he will be hard pushed to save this one for England.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2012, 19:46 GMT)

Amla, is a class player and it is about time that his potential is recognized along with Lara, Tendulkar, Kallis and Ponting.

Posted by EverybodylovesSachin on (July 22, 2012, 19:45 GMT)

Any big scroe or big parterniship in the cricket history always due to good batting conditions..pitch like this one helped made big records...nothing special..

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (July 22, 2012, 19:45 GMT)

All I can say is Salute To Mr. Amla and Well Played Kallis...Brilliant just brlliant..Also remember what goes around comes around. SA did to ENg what Eng did to Ind...To tame the lion in its own den is a remrkable achievement...This clearly shows there is no clear #1 in test cricket.Eng right after achieving #1 ranking lost to Pak 3-0 and drew with SL 1-1 and now are on the verge of losing the first test match at home. Let's see how they respond on Day 5 and in the other 2 tests.

Posted by SCC08 on (July 22, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

Comparing Broad / Anderson / Swann / Bresnan with Steyn / Morkel / Tahir / Philander i suppose is like comparing the batting line ups.. Total mismatch and completely unfair.. LOL - enjoy your number 1 ranking dor the immediate short term.

Posted by Shafaet_001 on (July 22, 2012, 19:34 GMT)

If last day was dominance today was utter onslaught! Saf totally exposed english bowlers. Amla's innings was a real beauty, an artistic one. Than saf bowlers showed that pitch is not as easy to bat on as some might think. The game is not over yet, bell have the ability to hang on for a long time but can others support him? The match may have more twists,tomorrow is going to be a fascinating day.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

This match is turning out to be really indicative of England's strength. I just love how the english management responds to the results differently on different days.On day 1, they call SA's performance below par despite the pitch providing some assistance for the bowlers. On day 2, they persist with the same idea about the pitch as England lose 7 wickets of 118. Then, on day 3, due to the sun, it becomes a subcontinental pitch as SA reaches 403/2. The day 4, england runs out of excuses, SA added 234/0 and england lose 102/4. Don't you just THINK for a second that maybe england perfomed bad instead of labelling it a subconitental pitch and even if it is doesn't justify 637/2. Are you kidding me, how did SA bowlers manage to take wickets then? Although I do agree that England is a decent test team, beating India, Srilanka and West Indies, none of these attacks were exceptional. Admit it England, SA just outclassed you, and pitches don't change hour to hour. I want to hear other views.

Posted by   on (July 22, 2012, 19:18 GMT)

i wonder will England have plenty of injuries for the rest of the series

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Andrew McGlashanClose
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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