England v South Africa, 1st Investec Test, The Oval, 5th day July 23, 2012

Bowlers set tone for victory - Smith

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Graeme Smith, South Africa's captain, praised an "incredible" innings from Hashim Amla and the exemplary performance of his bowlers after a difficult first day, in condemning England to a huge defeat in the first Test.

Smith, playing in his 100th Test, led his team to a victory that puts them 1-0 in the three-match series and takes South Africa a step closer to the No. 1 Test ranking. The tourists had been lacking something on day one, when England racked up 267 for 3, but roared back to dominate the rest of the match.

"It's an extremely proud moment for all of us," Smith said. "To achieve a victory in what is the first Test of what is a big series, and play as well as we have ... in the context of the first innings to come back and win the game is an incredible achievement.

"I don't think we were that terrible on day one, we lacked maybe a little bit of X-factor. We found that on day two, when maybe the conditions suited us. We found the intensity that maybe we lacked, we got a couple of plans right and all credit to our bowlers, they set the tone in this Test match and managed to finish it off on a really good batting wicket.

"We felt coming into this Test that we were ready, we just needed to get ourselves into the contest. We managed to do that on day two, each player contributed, it was fantastic the way the guys played. I must give credit to Hash, it was an incredible achievement for him. A performance like that really means a lot to all of us and we're extremely proud of him."

South Africa must win the series to regain the No. 1 spot they last occupied in 2009. The second Test begins at Headingley on August 2, with Smith hoping to confirm a first series defeat at home for England since South Africa's last visit four years ago.

"We've got a batting unit that's been around for a period of time now, been successful in conditions around the world," he said. "We know we're going to Headingley and the conditions are going to be different. The team is very motivated to prepare as well for that Test match and understand it will be different at Headingley and we'll need to play a slightly different game.

"We believe we've got the players who can adapt and mentally we've got a lot of experience of what we need to do to be successful there."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmony111 on July 26, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    @5Wombats: Tell me how does it feel to be #1 in tests and then to receive THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE TEST THRASHING EVER ...and...and...and...THAT TOO AT HOME !!! ……………. He He He - Ha Ha Ha - Ho Ho Ho.

  • karthik_raja on July 26, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    @StaalBurgher. Why take only from 25 Jan 2008 to 15 Dec 2010.?? To prove ur point huh.?? U r making up the stats. Every country tour other country(for test match tour) only in the span of 3 or 4 years. So, it requires atleast 4 years to make a complete cycle. 4 a change, look this stats "http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;orderby=start;spanmax2=1+Jul+2011;spanmin2=1+Jul+2007;spanval2=span;team=6;template=results;type=team;view=host" - a little better time period and better view - Jul '07 to Jun '11. This is wt v call a complete cycle of tours all over the world. V hv toured Eng,SA,Aus,WI,NZ aprt from tours to SL and BD and results r thr to see. We missed only Pak during this time and whole world knows why. The period mentioned above starts frm Ind's rise to #1 rank till its downfall and Ind hv done considerably wel away frm home(and don't forget Ind's home performance) in dat period. Bt, anti-Ind fans (like u) will never acknowledge Ind's performance.

  • Meety on July 26, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    @ 5wombats - I think your pushing it up hill mate. Most people would say if you're 3/270 at stumps on Day 1, it was a good call, might not of looked good for Strauss himself 5minutes into Day 1, but he & the rest of the players would of been very content having a beer at stumps, (maybe they had too many?). The point is, Strauss had every reason to think that Cook could do what Amla did, & just keep on batting. Regarding Clarke @ Sydney - Oz will do anything to avoid batting last at the SCG & pretty much anywhere in Oz, as usually well prepared strips, turn into minefields & as Pakistan found out a simple 160 odd can be too hard. You always want a big lead at the SCG batting 2nd.

  • 5wombats on July 25, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    @Meety - Not second guessing it. Read our posts in the preview before the game and at the end of days 1 and 2 - before the result was known. How could it be an excuse if we didn't know the result? Not saying there weren't poor shots by Eng batsmen - there were heaps - why? Because on Day 2 conditions were poor. The best conditions for taking wickets was NOT going to be on Days 3-4. The pitch was flat throughout the game - the atmospherics were not. By electing to bat in poor conditions Strauss gave the best chances for taking wickets to the saffers - and they did. OK - not many Eng fans complained at the end of Day 1, but by the same token no England fans are disagreeing with wombats' analysis of defeat since. Agree that rearview is always 20:20, but the fact is that the team batting first lost. Wombats simply looking at why the decision was made to bat first. This is a bit like Clarke electing to bat at Sydney 2011 - why? and why would Strauss not trust his bowlers? It was a mistake.

  • Harmony111 on July 25, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    @StaalBurgher: This is why they say stats can be used any which way. I suppose you don't remember that India had toured SA in Dec 2010-Jan2011 as #1 Team. India had also toured WI in 2011 as #1. India had also toured Eng as #1 though they lost it midway. Point is, you deliberately took a time window where it proved your argument. Ex SA players had made a lot of questions about India's #1 Rank when we went there. I clearly remember Shaun Pollock et al saying that India may be #1 but only at home and against SA in SA they would find it hard going. India drew 1-1 and might even have won the 3rd Test. Clearly India defended their #1 Rank very well in SA and in the succeeding WI tour. Lest you pooh pooh WI, Eng lost in their last tour there with a score of 51. Most Ind fans were realistic in their assessment too. We never claimed we were as good as Oz/WI of old. Our point was we were #1 under the current system, now what? It was Eng who talked of 5 year reign and what not. See the Diff?

  • Harmony111 on July 25, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    @5Wombats: Wow, you think the rest of us are so underprivileged. You think the TV coverage doesn't show us when it rains and how much and all the associated aspects? The Eng Fan's silly excuses are now becoming sillier. First it was a flat wicket. Then it was a moan that English had played an ODI series just before this test series. Then the excuse was that Strauss made the wrong choice. Now the excuse is that although it was flat pitch but the conditions were fav for bowling just when Eng were batting and became fav for batting just when SA were batting. Clearly you've admitted that the vaunted Eng batsmen (and bowlers) can't handle even a slight change in the conditions and need a very narrow band of pitch and weather conditions to do even moderately good. I had the sense that you were a bit rabid but still a fundamentally good guy. But with your "Biased My Eye" statement it went 180 degree. Cricinfo pls publish - I am no more mordant than 5Wombats - and he got his published.

  • StaalBurgher on July 25, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    @karthik_raja - Do a search on Cricinfo. Wait let me attach it for you. http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;spanmax1=31+Dec+2010;spanmin1=1+Jan+2008;spanval1=span;team=6;template=results;type=team;view=results India only played 3 Tests against NZ in NZ during 25 Jan 2008 to 15 Dec 2010. It is right there in the official records, I am not making it up. You did not tour England, Australia or South Africa for 3 years. India had a grossly inflated ranking and their fans refused to acknowledge it. Not that I say they should've lost 5-0 to England, that was unexpected for everyone. At that time I said the 3-4 nations should all be within 4-5 points of each because they were all reasonably strong without one being dominant. Just like England refuse to acknowledge how badly India played or how low strength Aus are. Not that England are not good, they are, but they refused to be reasonable in their assessment of their performances.

  • karthik_raja on July 25, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    @StaalBurgher. I agree with u partially reg Indian fans. There may b few who were arrogant (argued that Ind cud win Eng - b4 Eng series). Bt, I am not arrogant. Still, I wud definitely disagree wid ur statement "India had not played a single Test outside the subcontinent". Ind played WI,NZ,SA away during their #1 tenure. Of course, they failed badly whn they faced Aus & Eng. Bt, if u remember. Its their decent outing(win in Eng and gud show in Aus) in their previous tours to those nations contributed to their #1 ranking. How do u call this a joke.?? In other words, Ind did considerably well in Tests since 2007(both home and away) till they take a downfall in Eng'11. And that 4 years include away tours to Eng,SA,Aus,NZ,WI apart frm tours to other subcontinent frnds. Bt, u knw wt..?? Just like u, everybody failed to acknowledge India's performance. And they always made fun abt ranking system. So, now its payback time for us. Please respect other nations. Wt goes around always comes back.

  • Meety on July 25, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    @5wombats - point is, (obviously) - the toss was won on Day 1, if the weather was forcaste for hot days later in the test, there is the real concern that the pitch would degrade & batting last would not be easy batting last either (as England found out anyway). Most reports & the little bit of footage I saw of Day 2, (regarding England's innings), highlighted in the main - poor shots, with maybe the exception of Bell's dismissal (which could be an example in your favour, did he see it? Or just an example of a good delivery). Nobody was discussing Strauss's decision on Day 1, & I think your about the only person who is 2nd guessing it now! Bowling on Days 4 & 5 didn't seem to bother Steyn & Tahir. Anyways this match is now in the rearview mirror, what is more intriguing is how the two camps move fwd from here!

  • Loyd4148 on July 25, 2012, 10:18 GMT

    I see some English fans are saying that the South Africans were aided by the conditions in this match, but i beg to differ. The pitch played out evenly throughout days 1 to 4, then it started to deteriorate on day 5, but on the other days it was flat. So much was said about this England attack before this series, and others didn't even give Steyn a chance against Anderson, even though Steyn is the best bowler around for quite some time. The contrasts in the fast bowlers was imminent as soon as the SA bowlers took the 1st new ball. Anderson, Broad and Bresnan couldn't match the type of swing that Steyn and Philander attributed throughout the test match, even more so on days 4 and 5 when the pitch was deteriorating. This proves again that SA has a more favourable fast bowling attack than England because they proved themselves on a pitch that was not offering much. I recall some Eng fans writing off Tahir even before he bowled a ball, and now look how he outbowled Swann. Leeds it is then

  • Harmony111 on July 26, 2012, 15:04 GMT

    @5Wombats: Tell me how does it feel to be #1 in tests and then to receive THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE TEST THRASHING EVER ...and...and...and...THAT TOO AT HOME !!! ……………. He He He - Ha Ha Ha - Ho Ho Ho.

  • karthik_raja on July 26, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    @StaalBurgher. Why take only from 25 Jan 2008 to 15 Dec 2010.?? To prove ur point huh.?? U r making up the stats. Every country tour other country(for test match tour) only in the span of 3 or 4 years. So, it requires atleast 4 years to make a complete cycle. 4 a change, look this stats "http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;orderby=start;spanmax2=1+Jul+2011;spanmin2=1+Jul+2007;spanval2=span;team=6;template=results;type=team;view=host" - a little better time period and better view - Jul '07 to Jun '11. This is wt v call a complete cycle of tours all over the world. V hv toured Eng,SA,Aus,WI,NZ aprt from tours to SL and BD and results r thr to see. We missed only Pak during this time and whole world knows why. The period mentioned above starts frm Ind's rise to #1 rank till its downfall and Ind hv done considerably wel away frm home(and don't forget Ind's home performance) in dat period. Bt, anti-Ind fans (like u) will never acknowledge Ind's performance.

  • Meety on July 26, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    @ 5wombats - I think your pushing it up hill mate. Most people would say if you're 3/270 at stumps on Day 1, it was a good call, might not of looked good for Strauss himself 5minutes into Day 1, but he & the rest of the players would of been very content having a beer at stumps, (maybe they had too many?). The point is, Strauss had every reason to think that Cook could do what Amla did, & just keep on batting. Regarding Clarke @ Sydney - Oz will do anything to avoid batting last at the SCG & pretty much anywhere in Oz, as usually well prepared strips, turn into minefields & as Pakistan found out a simple 160 odd can be too hard. You always want a big lead at the SCG batting 2nd.

  • 5wombats on July 25, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    @Meety - Not second guessing it. Read our posts in the preview before the game and at the end of days 1 and 2 - before the result was known. How could it be an excuse if we didn't know the result? Not saying there weren't poor shots by Eng batsmen - there were heaps - why? Because on Day 2 conditions were poor. The best conditions for taking wickets was NOT going to be on Days 3-4. The pitch was flat throughout the game - the atmospherics were not. By electing to bat in poor conditions Strauss gave the best chances for taking wickets to the saffers - and they did. OK - not many Eng fans complained at the end of Day 1, but by the same token no England fans are disagreeing with wombats' analysis of defeat since. Agree that rearview is always 20:20, but the fact is that the team batting first lost. Wombats simply looking at why the decision was made to bat first. This is a bit like Clarke electing to bat at Sydney 2011 - why? and why would Strauss not trust his bowlers? It was a mistake.

  • Harmony111 on July 25, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    @StaalBurgher: This is why they say stats can be used any which way. I suppose you don't remember that India had toured SA in Dec 2010-Jan2011 as #1 Team. India had also toured WI in 2011 as #1. India had also toured Eng as #1 though they lost it midway. Point is, you deliberately took a time window where it proved your argument. Ex SA players had made a lot of questions about India's #1 Rank when we went there. I clearly remember Shaun Pollock et al saying that India may be #1 but only at home and against SA in SA they would find it hard going. India drew 1-1 and might even have won the 3rd Test. Clearly India defended their #1 Rank very well in SA and in the succeeding WI tour. Lest you pooh pooh WI, Eng lost in their last tour there with a score of 51. Most Ind fans were realistic in their assessment too. We never claimed we were as good as Oz/WI of old. Our point was we were #1 under the current system, now what? It was Eng who talked of 5 year reign and what not. See the Diff?

  • Harmony111 on July 25, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    @5Wombats: Wow, you think the rest of us are so underprivileged. You think the TV coverage doesn't show us when it rains and how much and all the associated aspects? The Eng Fan's silly excuses are now becoming sillier. First it was a flat wicket. Then it was a moan that English had played an ODI series just before this test series. Then the excuse was that Strauss made the wrong choice. Now the excuse is that although it was flat pitch but the conditions were fav for bowling just when Eng were batting and became fav for batting just when SA were batting. Clearly you've admitted that the vaunted Eng batsmen (and bowlers) can't handle even a slight change in the conditions and need a very narrow band of pitch and weather conditions to do even moderately good. I had the sense that you were a bit rabid but still a fundamentally good guy. But with your "Biased My Eye" statement it went 180 degree. Cricinfo pls publish - I am no more mordant than 5Wombats - and he got his published.

  • StaalBurgher on July 25, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    @karthik_raja - Do a search on Cricinfo. Wait let me attach it for you. http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;spanmax1=31+Dec+2010;spanmin1=1+Jan+2008;spanval1=span;team=6;template=results;type=team;view=results India only played 3 Tests against NZ in NZ during 25 Jan 2008 to 15 Dec 2010. It is right there in the official records, I am not making it up. You did not tour England, Australia or South Africa for 3 years. India had a grossly inflated ranking and their fans refused to acknowledge it. Not that I say they should've lost 5-0 to England, that was unexpected for everyone. At that time I said the 3-4 nations should all be within 4-5 points of each because they were all reasonably strong without one being dominant. Just like England refuse to acknowledge how badly India played or how low strength Aus are. Not that England are not good, they are, but they refused to be reasonable in their assessment of their performances.

  • karthik_raja on July 25, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    @StaalBurgher. I agree with u partially reg Indian fans. There may b few who were arrogant (argued that Ind cud win Eng - b4 Eng series). Bt, I am not arrogant. Still, I wud definitely disagree wid ur statement "India had not played a single Test outside the subcontinent". Ind played WI,NZ,SA away during their #1 tenure. Of course, they failed badly whn they faced Aus & Eng. Bt, if u remember. Its their decent outing(win in Eng and gud show in Aus) in their previous tours to those nations contributed to their #1 ranking. How do u call this a joke.?? In other words, Ind did considerably well in Tests since 2007(both home and away) till they take a downfall in Eng'11. And that 4 years include away tours to Eng,SA,Aus,NZ,WI apart frm tours to other subcontinent frnds. Bt, u knw wt..?? Just like u, everybody failed to acknowledge India's performance. And they always made fun abt ranking system. So, now its payback time for us. Please respect other nations. Wt goes around always comes back.

  • Meety on July 25, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    @5wombats - point is, (obviously) - the toss was won on Day 1, if the weather was forcaste for hot days later in the test, there is the real concern that the pitch would degrade & batting last would not be easy batting last either (as England found out anyway). Most reports & the little bit of footage I saw of Day 2, (regarding England's innings), highlighted in the main - poor shots, with maybe the exception of Bell's dismissal (which could be an example in your favour, did he see it? Or just an example of a good delivery). Nobody was discussing Strauss's decision on Day 1, & I think your about the only person who is 2nd guessing it now! Bowling on Days 4 & 5 didn't seem to bother Steyn & Tahir. Anyways this match is now in the rearview mirror, what is more intriguing is how the two camps move fwd from here!

  • Loyd4148 on July 25, 2012, 10:18 GMT

    I see some English fans are saying that the South Africans were aided by the conditions in this match, but i beg to differ. The pitch played out evenly throughout days 1 to 4, then it started to deteriorate on day 5, but on the other days it was flat. So much was said about this England attack before this series, and others didn't even give Steyn a chance against Anderson, even though Steyn is the best bowler around for quite some time. The contrasts in the fast bowlers was imminent as soon as the SA bowlers took the 1st new ball. Anderson, Broad and Bresnan couldn't match the type of swing that Steyn and Philander attributed throughout the test match, even more so on days 4 and 5 when the pitch was deteriorating. This proves again that SA has a more favourable fast bowling attack than England because they proved themselves on a pitch that was not offering much. I recall some Eng fans writing off Tahir even before he bowled a ball, and now look how he outbowled Swann. Leeds it is then

  • 5wombats on July 25, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    @Meety July 25 2012, 01:04 AM. Saw your post. In fact on Day 2 England lost 7/118 in that bad light/drizzle and under floodlights, so my argument is completely valid. My main point is that Strauss KNEW that the weather was going to be hot and sunny on Days 3-5 - he knew the conditions for bowling were NOT going to be good on days 3-5. He knew that the best conditions for bowlers were going to be on Days 1 & 2. So - what does he do -? He lets the South Africans have the best conditions for bowling. Amazing. In all probability if SA had been inserted they would have smashed England into the pie carts for the first 2 days and racked up 600+ anyway - but then at least England would have had the hot sun to bat under on Days 3, 4. As it was they batted the majority of their first Innings under floodlights. Facing Steyn/Morkel/Kallis/Philander in damp conditions under floodlights with a red ball would not be anyones idea of a fun day out. There was no reason to not put SA in to bat.

  • StaalBurgher on July 25, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    England pundits and fans were definitely making tall claims before the series. They were arrogant. Their media was rampant. Fact of the matter is the two sides are quite close and any fan that thinks the last two Tests will be a cake-walk for SA is in for a rude awakening. Is one team better than the other? Probably, but only time will tell. This should've been a 5 Test match series. And Indian fans were also arrogant when they became no.1. They refused to acknowledge that India had not played a single Test outside the subcontinent (except for lowly NZ) in almost 3 years. The played Oz in Adelaide on 24 Jan 2008 and then did not leave the subcontinent (except for 3 Tests against NZ) until they played SA in Centurion on 16 December 2010. 3 Years of home ground advantage or playing the weaker teams such as Sri Lanka or Bangladesh. What a joke. A controlled schedule needs to be implemented where you play all the top team home and away.

  • Meety on July 25, 2012, 1:04 GMT

    @5wombats - if it rained as much as you say - (I know the footage showed it was dark), I would say there would be a massive negative for a bowler - like gripping a wet ball, & also it's near impossible to master reverse swing if the ball is soaked, & the seam falls apart more readily. I think your arguements would be more valid if England were bundled out for 85 or 185 not 385. IMO, there is very little difference between the top sides in world cricket & it just comes down to who is better prepared & more "up" for the contest at the time. Saffas lifted Day 2, England didn't. I honestly would not be surprised if the Saffas get belted in a test before this series is over.

  • 5wombats on July 24, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    Should have added; Test cricket in England, Australia and India....

  • Major_Hammad on July 24, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    Congrates to South Africa on huge victory. Also Congrates to Legend Amla and Steyn specially, Kallis, Smith, Morkel and Imran Tahir also performed very well. England poor bowlers exposed again against quality batsmen and Eng poor batting line exposed again Quality bowlers.

  • on July 24, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    SA were better than england for whole 5 days.....bus i think this match should have been a draw...but thats what happened.....in cricket...nyways looking fwd for next match...i believe next match will be interesting one...and england will put their best to be at no. 1...@5wombats all indians fans are not like that...there are many english fans who did the same for our team too...not only for our team..even to our domestic tournament (IPL) also ..yes..u won ur last home series against us...but please dont forget what happened in 2007...when we made u loose in ur home series....but on other hand ur team is not able to did this in our home series in recent past...so dont boast..abt ur team...atleast WE DONT LOOSE MATCHES IN OUR HOME..BUT UR TEAM DID...and yes best of luck for this series...:(

  • StatisticsRocks on July 24, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    Will we ever keep the conversation to just cricket without smearing with sarcasm (including comment from some of my fellow Indians). Common guys let's be civil and talk cricket and not rubbish. This is by far the best test series in a long time. Let's enjoy cricket being played at it's highest form. may the best team stand victorious. There is no shame in that. Remember "What goes around comes around"...

  • Harmony111 on July 24, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    @5Wombats: No tall claims were made? I guess it was folks like Botham who had boasted that Eng could remain #1 for 5 years (or did he say 10 years). Now if such a statement by an ex-player is not a tall claim then what is? I have said it in the past and say it again here: Ind fan's main beef is that India's #! rank was ridiculed by Eng fans as if it did not matter. Hardly any Ind fan had made claims that Ind were as good as WI or OZ of the old, we knew our limitations but the fact was that under the standard system we were #1 - play at home or away whatever. When the din got too much and Eng started insulting India about their loss and comparing themselves to OZ or WI or about a 5 year long epoch then was the time when Ind fans started to say that Eng too can do well only in certain conditions - And this has been proven empirically correct. The Reason/Excuse offered here is Eng bowlers couldn't take wickets cos of the conditions VS The claim of doing well anywhere in the world. Lol

  • on July 24, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    English crushed like a concord

  • 5wombats on July 24, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    @Petesta(July 24 2012, 10:02 AM) Our analysis is "biased" by the fact that we were sitting in the stands at The Oval on Days 1 and 2 and the fact the we have been watching Test cricket in England for nearly 45 years. Biased my eye. You can believe what you like - we were there in the rain in the morning session of Day 1 the light was poor - the ball was swinging. It improved in sessions 2 & 3. Same thing on Day 2 floodlit from the off. It rained but they stayed on. The new ball swung. We know what we saw. When Prior came in he patently could not see the ball. The rotten conditions carried on in the afternoon and play stopped because it lashed down with rain. No-one is going to tell me that conditions were not perfect for bowling. Strauss choose to give the best bowling conditions to SA and then what followed was that SA got the best batting conditions as well. When you make a mistake like that against a good side like South Africa then there are going to be consequences. please publish

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on July 24, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Congrats to SA, Smith, Amla, Kallis, Steyn, Morkel and Tahir on this comprehensive whipping of England. Sorry England fans, your team has been outplayed by a better team. No shame in accepting that. Your boys kept trying. That's what counts. But the way the top order of England lost their way in batting friendly conditions on day 4 is very unfortunate and should make the case that SA was simply a better team and/or England didn't play to their potential. I wouldn't write-off England yet. But why is Broad bowling like military medium pacer? Something's wrong there.

  • StaalBurgher on July 24, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    @_NEUTRAL_Fan_ - You are entirely right. Steyn is an all time great. It baffles me how people refuse to acknowledge this. Just like they refuse to acknowledge how good a cricketer Kallis is. What I find funny is one of the main arguments "against" Kallis is that his runs are obtained in an era that is easier to bat in. But surely that makes his bowling and Steyn's bowling even more incredible? You even see people on here going on how Steyn cannot be ever as good as McGrath? I am not really one for comparisons especially when players are not contemporaries but really... Steyn can definitely be spoken of in the same breath as McGrath. He has been the number 1 Test bowler for years now. Time and injury will determine if he will manage to get over the 500 wicket mark, and how far over, but there is no doubt that he has the talent and skill.

  • StaalBurgher on July 24, 2012, 12:25 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - Are you under the impression that I am bashing SA? I am not. The pitch was too flat. If England had not chucked away a few too many wickets this Test could easily have been a draw. Kallis and Amla batted well but you don't score 600+ for 2 without the pitch being dead. I agree the SA bowlers got something out of the pitch but if England had applied themselves properly the Test would've been a draw regardless. Anyway, it is in England's interest to make a more lively pitch. They only need to draw the series to remain no.1. So their plan should be to win the 2nd Test and prepare a concrete slab at Lord's.

  • VillageBlacksmith on July 24, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    @JG2704..Hate is a bit strong!! It's only a game... Strike rate equals momentum and intent in the 1st inns which Eng had, and runs = time in trying to save the game in the 2nd inns... both vital and both avoided by bell, no rotating of the strike and too much pressure being put on the other bat... bell did not see it thru as u say and played a terrible shot nullifying any positives he might claim.. a strike rate of 24% for the match is just beyond belief, esp with a triple century scored @ nearly 60%!!.. the 2 b's at 5 & 6 are not men for the trenches... it's emperor's new clothes time Mr Flower...

  • Narbavi on July 24, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    @5wombats: Oh yes, same to u, keep coming and we will remind you that we won the previous series in your home soil but your team on the other hand hasnt won a series in india for ages now!!

  • Supa_SAFFA on July 24, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    Geoff Boycott's match analysis was that England played way below their best while insinuating that South Africa was performing close to their peak. Except that SA didn't even let loose its middle order. Or really try to lift their tempo.

  • Petesta on July 24, 2012, 10:02 GMT

    @5wombats your analysis is biased. You are saying it was a mistake to bat first? And this mistake explains England's defeat by a record margin? Not so. Would Amla or Kallis have perished in the fashion Pieterson did in the first innings? I doubt it. Batting conditions on day 1 were fine. On day two, you added a little over 100 runs for 7 wickets. Did conditions change so much from when you batted on day two to when we added just under 100 runds for 1 wicket? Tahir took more wickets that Swann did. Was this because Eng batted first? Or is the result because SA are as good as India on slow turners whereas Eng are all at sea?

  • 5wombats on July 24, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    @karthik_raja - might have guessed you'd show up, just like you did when England lost the Tests in UAE. People like you just can't stop themselves can they. STILL trotting out that "injuries" excuse are you? It got boring after a couple of days and now a whole year has gone by. And don't make us laugh about Harbhajan having an "injury"... his career was ended by Pietersen and friends @Lords. We suspect that you know this but have chosen to forget. Seems like a lot of other people on here have selective amnesia as well - so @Karthik_raja, you are not the only one. india fans - if you had something to crow about then coming on here gloating would be fair enough. But considering that your last Test outing against England ended England 4 india 0 we would have thought that was nothing to boast about. Keep coming onto England forums and we'll just keep reminding you.

  • Simoc on July 24, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    Great win to SA. Now we will see what spine England has got. It'de be great if they win the second test so the third test becomes a decider. Certainly their bowling attack has something to prove after that shellacking, so lets hope they come good. Despite all the silly comments they've been mostly a good unit until now.

  • CustomKid on July 24, 2012, 9:12 GMT

    Are people really comparing Steyn and Anderson??? I mean really??

    That is like comparing a DB9 to a Kia Rio. Wow I cannot believe they're even putting those two names in the same sentence.

    That is all.

  • on July 24, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    England's best chance of retaining no.1 spot was rainout on day 5 of first test, didnt happen good bye no.1 ranking :)

  • JG2704 on July 24, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    @Narbavi on (July 24 2012, 04:28 AM GMT) I'm happy to admit that Steyn is better but what you said is "We all know what anderson has done in the subcontinent, rubbish totally" We all know what anderson has done in the subcontinent, rubbish totally " so you are actually degrading Jimmy

  • JG2704 on July 24, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    @Meety - There are straws to cling to. In UAE we lost the 1st match by pretty much an innings (pretty much) and then although losing the other 2 we certainly bounced back with the ball. I'm even worried about our bowlers confidence after being caned like that. Headingly is a better bowling wicket mind. I just wasn't happy that Strauss almost seemed to be lacking in remorse.

  • JG2704 on July 24, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    @VillageBlacksmith on (July 23 2012, 23:29 PM GMT) I know you hate Bell so I'm going to half agree with you. I don't think a SR matters too much when you're trying to save a game but the problem was that Bell did not see it through and the shot he got out to - well it looked like he was giving the slips catching practice. KP and Strauss also played silly shots

  • JG2704 on July 24, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    @5wombats on (July 23 2012, 16:14 PM GMT) The reason we lost was because we did not make the best use of the conditions when they favoured us and SA did when it favoured them and our batsmen seem to show no fight these days. Our bowlers also lacked potency but I reckon if our bowlers had bowled at our batsmen we'd have been out for similar scores. Anyways I hope you had a good time despite everything

  • karthik_raja on July 24, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    Here come my mate @5wombats. lol.. explaining the diff between reason and excuses.. funny isn't it.?? There are already lot of mentions about Cardiff '09,Lords '05 in these forums about Eng's bounce back ability.. Wt r they.?? "Slow starters huh". And don't forget abt ur frnds(including u) mentioning abt flat pitch/over head conditions.. Wt r they..?? Similar to the lines of "grass on pitch.. hmm". And my frnd, u can't throw "not used to conditions" excuse coz, u r playing @ home. Unfortunately u r fielding full squad. Else, injury excuses wud also hv popped up by now. Point is - all possible excuses r already made. And please don't compare Ind's injuries to that of Eng's on that tour. Injuries to Ind's players(Zaheer, Gambhir, Bhajji) happened whn they r in playing XI unlike England who fielded a fit team. There is a hell lot of difference between these 2 scenarios. Anyway, u wont accept to these points. For u, u come up with reasons and others come up with excuses. Good Eng sprit.

  • the_blue_android on July 24, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Come december, James Anderson's career will be over. Just like Harmison's, Flintoff's and Brett Lee's test career ended in India.

  • the_blue_android on July 24, 2012, 6:25 GMT

    Cannot wait for this pop-gun attack bowling to Sehwag on dust bowls at 125 kmph!

  • harshthakor on July 24, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    Congrats for South Africa for acheiving arguably their best test victory ever.The unofficial test champions England were outplayed in every department of the game.The string of match-winners won the test for South Africa and they are almost certain of winning the series and unofficial test world chamoionship.Lets hope history dos not repeat itself and the Springboks falter at the last hurdle,like often before.At the end of this summer we may well see the makings of an all-time great SouthAfrican team !

  • joseyesu on July 24, 2012, 5:53 GMT

    Only SA has the capability to take 20 wickets of ENG. I hope everybody around the world accepts that, SA deserves the No.1 spot

  • sulie786 on July 24, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    i just hope SA does not underestimate the english bowlers now. i agree there has been to much talk of how great they are but now we all know who the no.1 bowling attack is. however the english will start fresh at headingly and may have made some changes, my prediction is 2-1 to SA. SA are clearly stronger however we tend to relax and let 1 slip. i just hope SA wins the next 1 to clinch the series and no.1 spot then England will have a fight for the rubber lol

  • 5wombats on July 24, 2012, 4:38 GMT

    @mrmonty (July 23 2012, 20:48) - wombats made no "pre-series tall claims", so we don't need to defend ourselves against that charge. England got outplayed here - we got beat fair and square. But, as predicted - most of the people here are not England or South Africa fans. If you ignore the reasons for defeat then defeat is likely to occur again and again. Clearly some people here are ignorant over the differences between a reason and an excuse. Here are examples of some of the excuses we saw last year; "ravaged by injuries" (they had 2, so did England), "are slow starters" (!) "are not used to the conditions" "grass on the pitch", etc, etc, yawn. We were at The Oval on Days 1&2 and saw the conditions. The wrong decision at the toss is not an excuse, but it doesn't matter what we say - people will believe it is and say it is even though it isn't. The best excuses are the ones which ignore the result - saw plenty of that last year too. And in all the time since. please publish.

  • Narbavi on July 24, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    @JG2704: Funny to hear u say that Anderson has bowled well in subcontinental conditions, if so then you should see what steyn has done, look am not degrading anderson here, but there is no doubt that Steyn is miles ahead of the pack!! Thats my point

  • on July 24, 2012, 4:16 GMT

    What was amazing for me is that SA came from behind a couple of times to win by such a big margin, it seems like once they got going there was no stopping them. The first day was really tough and 400+ was not a small total by any means by england..first innings and then sa lost the first opener for a duck, looking back it was a 1-sided game from then on but not an easy place to come back from and win by such a huge margin...Kudos to this immensely talented and spirited lot!

  • Harishonthemic on July 24, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    When I knew SA are playing at Oval, generally a flat pitch, I retraced the horror of espncricinfo.com/indvrsa2010/engine/match/441825.html (SA in India,2010) where Amla and Kallis dismantled Bhajji's offspin and Amit Mishra's legbreak completely by moving way across offstump and sweeping. And a fired-up Steyn got 10 wkts on a FLAT pitch, 4 of them with his reverse swing! I knew this result even before the Oval test began. Speaking of overcast skies favoring English bowlers reminds me of this match espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-australia-2011/engine/match/514029.html (Aus in SA,2011/12) when they made Aussies look like schoolboys.(21/9 and eventually 47/10) The English didn't know what is hitting them until it did. It's a reality check as they now know what they are up against. All the talk of Anderson being better than Steyn and castigating Tahir(626 wkts) for Swann(183), though Swann is bowling to much better batsmen, is immense fun though.Wouldn't be possible without ESPNCricinfo!

  • Meety on July 24, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    @JG2704 - re: Strauss's reaction, I wonder if it is just that he is still got confidence it will all be turned around, as one thing England do have in spades, is bounce-back-ability. (Eg Perth & other matches). @5wombats - 3/270 at stumps Day 1 & 4/100 at stumps Day 4, suggests a bit of a flaw in your unloading on Strauss. I think it was a pitch that was difficult to get in on, but once you did (Cook, Smith, Amla & Kallis proved it), you should be able to do well providing you didn't get ahead of yourselves. On a more minor point, I think that England (players AND fans), severely underestimated Tahir. He is a good leggie, which currently is quite rare in International cricket since Warney, MacGilla, Kumble & Kaneria (sort of), are no longer in action. Sweeping a leggie is not a % play in my books (even if you are left handed).

  • Hammond on July 24, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    @RandyOz- why do you keep bringing bog average Australia into this discussion? Both South Africa and England are going to casually flick aside whatever rabble CA can conjure together in the next 18 months. Just stick to bagging England out and don't bore everyone by bringing up irrelevant and inferior teams.

  • JustOUT on July 24, 2012, 1:06 GMT

    For England fans who says this is a Flat pitch and that's why your bowlers cannot take wkts.. Beware, in the flat pitch SA has demolished English batsmen, and if they lay a swinging pitch, life will be very hard for POMS.. haha

  • JustOUT on July 24, 2012, 1:04 GMT

    haha... Mr.Flintoff preditcted 3-0 to England.. haha, where is he hiding now? ah.. England are a good team, no taking away from that. But SA are equally good, and very good when they are playing an away series.

  • VillageBlacksmith on July 23, 2012, 23:29 GMT

    The turning point was at 270/3 when bell and bopara totally failed to capiltalise on the momentum gained by Cook and Trott... bell's match ave was 34 at the absurd strike rate of 23... very very weak, that and bopara's terminal failure vs tier 1 sides is where the match was given to RSA.. bell shd hang his head in shame at that stultifying strike rate, the lowest by anyone in the game... the magnificent amla scored 311 not out at a strike rate of 56! As has been mentioned before, Kirsten & co are serious coaches and mean business, (unlike Arthur). What can Flower & Saker come back with? Prior @ 6 and Finn are a minimum. Well played RSA.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on July 23, 2012, 22:54 GMT

    I'm not gonna go on at great lengths as to how well SA played and how they stopped Eng from hitting their top gear. I am hoping to spark a discussion and challenge people to convince me that Dale Steyn is not an all time great. To me HE IS.

  • JG2704 on July 23, 2012, 22:35 GMT

    1stly very well played to SA and I (as most neutral observers) would not have seen that coming with either side winning by such a huge margin. Well at least it's over now. On the bright side despite the absolute thrashing we received which was basically by an inns and 8 wickets , SA only go 1 up in the series and I think only gain the same ranking points as they'd have got for winning by 1 wicket or 25 runs etc. On a 6/1/4 line up I'd have had Compton in there as basically he doesn't care about anything but preserving his wicket but now we need a win I feel we must go 5/1/5. The most likely thing that will happen will be sticking to exactly the same side or replacing Bres or Broad with Finn which IMO is wrong. Also was a bit peeved that Strauss seemed almost not bothered as though it was a meaningless warm up rather than a thrashing at the hands of a side who can take our number 1 spot.

  • JG2704 on July 23, 2012, 22:35 GMT

    @_NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (July 23 2012, 17:50 PM GMT) Boycott was on the radio yesterday and was highly critical of England's batsmen saying that they showed no steel to dig in etc and that they are good at winning games but poor at saving games. Have to agree with him. BTW he does an article on this series which I've not read yet but Geoff tells it like it is and won't mince his words

  • JG2704 on July 23, 2012, 22:35 GMT

    @Narbavi on (July 23 2012, 16:42 PM GMT) You're talking like this poster is an Eng fan admitting something. Rubbish. Steyn is a class bowler - number 1 in the world for quite a long period tells it's own story - but one bad test does not make a bad bowler and Anderson performed well in SL/UAE.

  • Beertjie on July 23, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    While winning at Headingley is not likely for England, their mindset must change drastically if their critics are not to be proven right. There's no one better than SA at the patience game, so it will take more than luck on a greentop to turn things around: Kirsten 1 Flower 0! While having Finn + Onions won't necessarily turn things around for England, it might indicate a more attacking mindset. All this confused talk about how important the depth of the tail needs to be preserved when making changes gives the lie to their pretensions of having world-class batters (sure better than Oz last time, but they began to believe their own press and will be found out by any balanced quality bowling outfit). But unless Strauss and his management move away from this "Queensland" line approach, they'll never ever even draw a series against SA - at least until some of the irreplaceables like Kallis, Steyn, Amla, de Villiers and Smith retire.

  • JG2704 on July 23, 2012, 22:09 GMT

    @5wombats on (July 23 2012, 16:14 PM GMT) The reason we lost was because we did not make the best use of the conditions when they favoured us and SA did when it favoured them and our batsmen seem to show no fight these days. Our bowlers also lacked potency but I reckon if our bowlers had bowled at our batsmen we'd have been out for similar scores

  • on July 23, 2012, 22:05 GMT

    Wow, how fortuitous. When SA went in to bat it was easy. When England batted, it was a wicked pitch - except for day one. Riiight. @ Methuselah - Amlah is a Durban boy. The beard keeps him warm in the cool English summers! Personally, I was very surprised by the ease of the win. I expected the Proteas to go in undercooked, get thrashed in the first Test, then get stronger. Now I expect them to still get stronger and England has to up their game! I certainly don't see SA now losing this series. No 1, here we come!

  • vrn59 on July 23, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    A fantastic victory for SA, who were simply too good in all departments. Their bowlers looked rusty on the first day and took only three wickets, but they returned with their intensity and ferocity restored the next morning and ran right through the English lineup. Kudos to Alastair Cook for his century though! SA's batsmen really showed the world how Test batting should be. Amla's 300, Smith's 100 in his 100th Test and Kallis's 182 really set the game up for them, but a lot of credit should also go to their bowlers, who managed to bowl England out for under 250 on a flattish wicket. Morkel's 4, Steyn's 5 and Tahir's 3 really set things up, when the English bowlers could cumulatively pick two wickets in the match. I especially want to praise Kallis for his all-round performance: he scored 182* in a record partnership with Amla, took two crucial wickets in the first innings and played a useful holding role with the ball in the second innings. A true legend!

  • RandyOZ on July 23, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    The so-called 'world's best pace attack' was crushed but the actual best pace attack. Broad and Swann were utterly listless with Swann sending down 52 wicketless overs, despite the poms trying to tell us he was far superior to Tahir, who got far more purchase and looked a lot more threatening. Imagine how much they are going to struggle against Lyon? Broad, well the less said about him the better.

  • StatisticsRocks on July 23, 2012, 21:29 GMT

    It was a great weekend for SA sports fan as Ernie Els mastered the british open and SA tamed ENG in their own backyard. I guess we can call this week as the week when SA sposrts dominated the BRITISH.

  • StatisticsRocks on July 23, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    Steyn and Morkel ...vow as an Indian I can only dream of having such quality pace attack in India. The way Morkel set up Pieterson was a gem and gr8 spell of hostile bowling..short pitch delivaries and then one sneaked in. Fantastic. This duo remind me of Akram and Waqar pair of fast hostile bowling. Look forward to some green top wicket and Eng bouncing back. If ENG wins second test match I am going to take 5 days off work to watch the third match.

  • StatisticsRocks on July 23, 2012, 21:22 GMT

    Congrats to SA on a comphrehensive victory. I hope you can carryt he same intensity into the next twp matches. Gr8 job by Gary Kirsten. Gary will always have special place in the hearts of Indians after the success he got us in test matches and winning us the WC. I am sure Eng will bounce back as this side is too good for another defeat, especially at home. I hope Finn plays in the remaining two matches.

  • mrmonty on July 23, 2012, 20:48 GMT

    To all piling it on @5wombats: At least he is brave enough to post. Many would go into hiding after their pre-series tall claims took a hiding. Not that I agree with him. But, remarkable performance by SAffers. Steyn is without doubt the best of them all (time). I would like to see the previous greats Marshall, Holding, Lilllee, Hadlee earn that kind of strike rate in this day and age of flat pitches.

  • Smithie on July 23, 2012, 20:33 GMT

    @yoohoo you are correct on it being a worthy investment because the outcome of games is less influenced by umpiring error. There is no reason why the ICC should not take on the technical and financial obligation of running DRS by getting good sponsors (Emirates or Etihad for starters) and charging the TV companies for showing the technology to their viewers. It only requires Srinivasan to join the 21 Century!

  • GOINGGOINGGONE on July 23, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    Haven`t seen much mention of the coaching staff of Peter Kirsten and Allan Donald and others yet.Surely this is as much their victory as the players?Well done Protea`s and the coaches and all involved!!!

  • on July 23, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    Top quality cricket. In all fairness, I found Cook's hundred, Prior's spunk and Bell's rearguard worthy of mention too, but SA were quite simply the superior team. Right through the recent highs I've maintained Anderson ( a vastly improved bowler that he is today), Broad and Bresnan are a formidable attack but definitely a rung lower than Steyn, Philander and Morkel. The obvious advantage ENG had was in Swann over Tahir but the amount of runs took away that cushion. Amla is certainly a man in his prime, Kallis and Smith were fab .. but the on a flat deck - there was critical 'ZERO' difference between the teams: Steyn and co. (20 wickets) vs Anderson and co. (2).

  • fast_gun on July 23, 2012, 19:36 GMT

    As a South African cricket fan, It is great to see a victory here. Well played boys!!! BRING HOME THE NUMBER 1 RANKING!!! It will be interesting to see how England come back. Bring on Finn, and Onions.

  • Divinetouch on July 23, 2012, 19:36 GMT

    5 Wombats,

    Sincere sympathies. Learn to accept defeat graciously. An abundance of excuses would not change the result.

  • on July 23, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    South Africa 637/2 dec; England 625/20...that sums up the whole match...what a brilliant display of great test match batting and great bowling by SA..this SA team clearly deserves to be the no 1 team in the world...comparing anderson with steyn is like comparing a diamond with silver...steyn can run through any batting line up in any pitch....congratz SA..

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 23, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    @StaalBurgher: What do you mean by 'balanced pitches' ? That's a ridiculous sentiment. SA played very well on this pitch. If England can't handle flat and dry conditions then they don't deserve to call themselves world no.1. They should expect similar conditions in the subcontinent this winter. India wont give them an inch. If they keep criticizing the pitch then it shows they are prone to excuses just like any losing team. It's time to move on. England should learn to adapt according to the conditions. They have got a decent enough team. SA look like true world no.1s at least after this victory. If England come back to win the Headingley test, then I would be just as happy cause I am a neutral. I want to see a good series and a genuine world no.1. England look anything but that after this performance.

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 23, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    @5wombats: My dear friend, please stop with the excuses. We don't need any excuses from this so called no.1 team. What you are basically telling me is that day 3 onwards it's a batting friendly pitch. Then why didn't good old England bat sensibly in the second innings ?! You are not giving credit to SA's efforts who are clearly a better team than yours. This is very poor coming from English supporters. You see I remember your comments when India toured England. You were talking about excuses being offered by Dhoni for losing. Now what you are doing is the same. Cut the excuses and move on. Your England team isn't good in flat conditions. They have a tough time awaiting them in India. Congratulations SA !

  • PACERONE on July 23, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    Why is the only place on the line is Bopara's? Bell should of been dismissed for 21 one run less than Bopara.Bell is at a loss to spinners that spin both ways.Most of his starts recently he has given a chance which is overlooked because he continues to make a big score.Luck on his part. Strauss,Peitersen and Prior played worse strokes to get out than Bopara did. Strauss even dropped a difficult chance off his bowling. England are just not as good as they think they are.

  • MattyP1979 on July 23, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    Well for all the Anglo bashers hats off you were right. SA just too good or Eng over-rated....think some from A and some from B. We have some problems, no.6 is a big one. Ravi although shows so much promise never delivers. What has happened to Broad, his pace was WAY down. Swann had a terrible game on a pitch that should of helped. I cannot fault Bresnan/Anderson both gave everything but Finn needs to come in, either for Ravi or Broad. Do we lose anything from the bat which we won't gain in the field and more I doubt. However Eng are still a very good team and hopefully will bounce back. 3 Game series 1-0 down everything to play for.

  • LAKINGSFAN on July 23, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    This was just around the corner for England for a long time. They became #1 overnight after defeating another overnight #1 team i.e. India. England is always vulnerable against good teams. Hope SA will show England and their over hyped coach a right place.

  • WindiesWillow on July 23, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    Excellent match by SA. Good to see the better team prevail. Special applaud to the SA bowlers. After SA had declared the typical bias English commentators were already blaming the "flat" pitch and saying that they were waiting to see what the SA bowlers can get out of the pitch...well I guess we all saw what the end results was. I also heard Ian Botham say during the course of this match, that England had better bowlers than SA. I guess beauty is really in the eyes of the beholder. Well done SA.

  • champ1388 on July 23, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    Against quality oppostions England have lost 5 of 6 tests. 3-0 Pak, 1-1 Lanka and 1-0 S.A. This is going to be 11 of 12 tests. They will lose the remaining two against the S.A. team and then they will be whitewashed in India. Their overrated bowlers, Anderson, Broad, Bresnon and Swann have shown their real class. They comapred Anderson averaging above 30 to Styen ( utter rubbish). I have never seen a team ( not even B.D.) losing that badly. They could only manage to take 2 wickets and then lost by the innings.

  • phoenixsteve on July 23, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    In recent times England have become acustomed to their bowling getting them out of trouble when the batting (all to frequently) fails to perform. Not this time although England didn't bowl badly. But as against Pakistan earlier the batting was sub standard & this time the bowling couldn't provide a 'get out of jail free card'! In the second innings the culprits were KP, Stauss & Prior. KP maybe just isn't good enough against a quality bowling attack? Strauss & Prior chose to play sweeps across the line against a spin bowler on a wearing pitch! The guys were having problems hitting the ball with a straight bat so WHY would they chose a cross bat shot? South Africa were magnificent & thoroughly deserved a win that England should have prevented. Weren't they watching the Amla/Kallis masterclass? A sad day for us English cricket fans. I don't mind them losing but they didn't show any FIGHT at the death. Bresnan looks out of his depth and I thought Broad could bat? Finn+Onions in please!

  • vxttemp on July 23, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    Asking for a bowling favorable pitches. You got to be kidding against steyn, morkel and co. Now this shows the true strength of broad, anderson and co.

  • CricketFundas on July 23, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    @5wombats: Yeah right. England always loses because of the wrong decision after the toss, or the pitch or the fact that Strauss put on the wrong pair or trousers, or the fact that ball was not right... lol

    Englands record against Pakistan was 3 loses in a trot. they escaped with a drawn series vs SL. The only safe haven England had was at home, and they got whipped by SA at home now! Face the facts - England is an over-rated team, who's #1 tag is waiting to be taken by a much better team, SA.

    Go SA!

  • vxttemp on July 23, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    Is england still no-1? Number - 1 team losing by a innings on home soil? Now we see where England stands.

  • kunderanengineer on July 23, 2012, 17:59 GMT

    This was truly a formidable performance by SA and they should be congratulated by all but the bowlers had to really work hard for their wickets and they did this with sustained pressure and aggression both from the pace bowlers as well as Tahir. On the other hand the England seamers bowled as though they were resigned to the notion that nothing could be extracted from the flat pitch although I feel that their overall poor bowling performance (particularly Swann's) was also the result of extremely patient and disciplined batting from Amla & co. Moreover the pitch on Day 5 seemed to provide a lot more turn and bounce for Tahir than it did for Swann on Days 2 and 3 . Maybe England will also need to consider Steven Finn's hostile bowling for the next 2 tests- just a thought. As a neutral observer I agree with Strauss that this English bowling attack overall is too good not to be able to rebound from this and take 20 SA wickets.

  • tests_the_best on July 23, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    Congrats SA but their real test begins now. Too often have they frittered away their chances in the past from good positions. Case in point, the last 3 series between Ind and SA, whether at home or away, have all ended up in 1-1 draws with SA thumping Ind by an innings to take a 1-0 lead but promptly losing the next one. Eng can also take heart from the fact that their high-quality bowling attack would consider the Oval to be the most unhelpful home pitch. At Leeds and Lords, expect SA batsmen to have a far tougher time. Nothing better than going into the Lords test at 1-1 with all to play.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on July 23, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    Lol where is Boycott now? Tahir got a pitch with some turn finally, and bowled beautifully. Steyn, Morkel and Phillander really make up what I think is the best bowling attack the world has witnessed since Warne, Mc Grath and Lee separated.

  • Spelele on July 23, 2012, 17:43 GMT

    And did I also mention that Tahir has comprehensively out-bowled Swann so far this series? So much for England being 'miles ahead in the spin department'! Where is landl47 who predicted that if SA won this series, it would have little to do with Tahir's performances? Well, he got critical breakthroughs at critical times in this match, and was amongst the best bowlers in the whole match. He repeatedly troubled the much vaunted English line-up, and was unlucky not to have come away with more wickets. I guess the English wrongly underestimated him! And I won't even touch on landl47's other prediction that Smith will not make too many runs because he will struggle against Jimmy's deliveries going across him. This is why it is never advisable to count one's chickens too early! The best chance England has is a green top where their military medium pacers will thrive. On a good pitch, they will never be a match for SA's firepower (unless they include Finn!).

  • SICHO on July 23, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    @SurlyCynic. You're spot on, couldn't agree more. About the C word, as a Saffer I know that the word will alwyas be tagged to the team no matter how victorious they are. I'm actually starting to get used "chokers" word as it doesn't mean anything to me. It is just what people say to encourage themselves.

  • on July 23, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    England stuffed it up on Day 2 but they also compounded their troubles on Days 3 and 4 where they failed to bowl according to the conditions.....Anderson, Broad and Bresnan failed to realise that bowling the outside offstump line to class batsmen like Amla and Kallis on flat pitch would not work....They should have done what SA did, bowl straight and bowl to the batsmen's weaknesses...The english thought that the pitch would be a nippy green top and failed to adapt....Swann just had a bad 5 days at the office....I still think this should have been a 5 match series

  • The_bowlers_Holding on July 23, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    Well what can you say, I still fancied England for the draw yesterday but with 4 down the pressure was on and they bottled it. Faultless bowling and batting by SA on the evidence so far the better team and no excuses from England fans we know we got whupped. I would replace Broad with Finn, keep Bresnan as it is his home track and he NORMALLY gets more from the old ball. Also superb by Amla whether he was fasting or not to play for that long carrying that beard in the heat is admirable.

  • Spelele on July 23, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    Steyn you beauty! Puts to bed the unwarranted debate as to who is better between him and Anderson. It was simply a shockingly pathetic display from most of the ENG players. I really hope that they sort themselves out before the second Test; otherwise this much hyped series may well end up being a farcical disappointment. I think a spicier pitch would definitely be ENG's best chance (along with the inclusion of Finn of course - I don't care who he comes in for, so long as he is there!). I don't expect Swann to suddenly come up with something special in any of the next few matches as I expect fast-bowler friendly conditions (and of course, in absence of these, SA batsmen are excellent players of spin anyway). Contrary to popular belief, I think this was an excellent pitch (under the weather conditions prevailing over the last few weeks), which rewarded the team which played the better cricket (don't let 600 odd for 2 fool you; there was enough on that strip for skilful bowlers!).

  • hhillbumper on July 23, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    I guess their south africans were just better than our ones.It is a knock back but lets see if this is a good team and fights back or folds up?

  • jmcilhinney on July 23, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    That's a richly deserved win to SA. Outplayed England completely. All bowlers contributed and very few batsmen needed to contribute. From an England perspective, SA won the first match of the last series in SA by an innings and England came back to level the series with an innings victory in the third game so history indicates that all is not yet lost, but England will need a big improvement in all areas. Given that England probably only needed one more decent partnership to scrape a draw, 5W may have a point about the decision to bat first not helping but they should have put in a better showing regardless. Hoping to see Finn in game 2 as maybe his extra pace can make a bit of a difference but, even if he does add something, there's plenty more improving to be done besides.

  • on July 23, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    ENG will win the series easily you say... mm.. well i look forward to quoting you after SA win the series and go top, where they belong

  • on July 23, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    South Africa should be embarrassed by this tactic of playing weak teams like England to get the number 1 ranking:)!!!

  • Akshita29 on July 23, 2012, 17:13 GMT

    Now England would have no choice but to keep some grass on the wickets. Which could be like a double edged sword . But I still can't believe english bowlers managed only 2 wickets in almost 7 sessions . Anderson and co really needs to step up for the next 2 games and finn must play .

  • praveen4honestremark on July 23, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    Congratulations "Team South Africa". You transformed yourself from " South Africa" to "Team South Africa". You were same before and even now. Highly skilled professional cricketers. But added to that you under the coaching of Kirsten are playing like a team. More dedicated and aggressive. Kirsten along with Dhoni made "India" to "Team India" to win world cup, and now Kirsten with Smith is making "South Africa" to "Team South Africa". Try to win this series. You are capable of- Indian.

  • djdrastic on July 23, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    Been amazing seeing Bumble and co grovel on twitter . I truly hope our guys don't climb off the accelerator now. We have to finish the job:Demolish Fortress England

  • maddy20 on July 23, 2012, 17:06 GMT

    @5wombats Love to hear the ecxuses from the English fans. If days 3 and 4 were batting paradises, why did ENgland slump to 102-4 in less than 40 overs? They should have dug in and kept the Saffas at bay atleast!Also Day1 was perfect for batting otherwise England would have been bowled out by tea or by the end of the day at the latest! World's no.1 test team that is whitewashed by Pak, could not win in SL and about to be beaten (or worse ,whitewashed) at home! World's no.1 who?

  • yoohoo on July 23, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    @Smithie - Yes smithie DRS has finally managed to achieve it, ONE match without a controversial DRS decision in 2 years!! a worthy investment it is !!

  • Jabulani on July 23, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    @ Plz_Dont_Get_Whitewashed - you do know that the South Africans are even better on green tops, don't you? If you are supposed to be the top team you should be able to compete in all conditions, that was not the case in this game at least!

  • SurlyCynic on July 23, 2012, 17:01 GMT

    I love how 5 wombats explains everything with reference to 'conditions'. On day 4, in identical conditions, SA lost no wickets in two sessions and took 4 in 1 session. The quality of attacks is totally different, and England's county trundlers need greentops to balance out their lack of pace.

  • on July 23, 2012, 16:56 GMT

    @5Wombats. If Strauss sent in SA on that pitch he may well have been sacked. England had very good batting conditions on day 1, they failed to go up a gear though and then failed again on the second day to negotiate a tough period early on. @Desi-Blue, he certainly gets fired up when he takes a wicket doesn't he? I keep half expecting him to rip a stump out of the ground and crack it in half over his head...... Congratulations SA, i've never seen such a dismantling of a number 1 team like that before.

  • mahjut on July 23, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    5wombats ... i understand where you're coming from (ie. an embarrasing, nowhere-to-hide defeat) but in fairness even when they went out to bat on day 4, the pitch was good enough for a draw - day 5 was not offering a huge amount of anything but scoreboard pressure and accurate, determined bowling. This was simply not good enough by england but good enough from SA

  • Aboss on July 23, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    The english batsmen tried to play too many shots and after putting 250+ on the first day they got too far ahead of themselves. On the other hand Amla, Kallis and Smith looked stay on the wkt. The morning session is always the most crucial session of any day and Eng just didnt plan for it with bat or ball.

  • whoster on July 23, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    Fair play to South Africa, a superb all round performance. England blew it on the second day by giving their wickets away cheaply, and Smith, Amla and Kallis showed exactly how to build a big innings. They all showed lots of patience and application, and this was rewarded when the England bowlers started to tire. England have a great record for bouncing back with victories after heavy defeats, but this is the heaviest defeat we've had for a long time. I've got confidence in England putting up a better show in the next two Tests, but after such a mauling here, and up against an excellent side, we'll have to raise our game to new levels to get back into the series. A special mention for Amla, a sublime batsman who played one of the best innings you'll ever see. Well played South Africa; a thoroughly convincing and deserved victory.

  • thruthecovers on July 23, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    ECB all at sea now. They were banking on Swann living up to their expectation of being the "better" spinner in preparing this pitch when in reality, they badly underestimated Tahir. Where will they turn to next? They can't realy go pace and bounce. Or they shouldn't. Leeds will be over inside 3 days and the series and world ranking gone, should that happen. RE Imran Tahir, this match will have done alot for not only his confidence, but also Graeme and Gary's in his ability. Might the days of playing on juicy wickets at home, be a thing of the past?

  • Narbavi on July 23, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    @SurlyCynic: Couldn't agree more!! Its really funny to hear few english fans saying Anderson is better than Steyn, We all know what anderson has done in the subcontinent, rubbish totally, but look at steyn's record, awesome, and to be the world no.1 for over 4yrs now is just totally outstanding!!

  • desi-blue on July 23, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    ''Five...Five...Fiiiivveee"...Dale Steyn you little beauty..awesome spell of fast bowling...I literally get goosebumps watching this guy bowl...the sheer determination,aggression and passion he displays is great to watch...he plays with his heart on his sleeve everytime he's out there...no half measures whatsoever...hope he continues this form for the rest of the series...Oh and congratulations to Mr Amla, Mr Kallis and Mr Smith as well.....

  • Smithie on July 23, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    A great Test match not marred by umpiring errors but corrections made by DRS with smoothness and efficiency eg reversal wickets of Strauss in first innings and Broad in the second. Take note Srinivasan, Dhoni, SRT and BCCI. An unspoilt cricket match !

  • StaalBurgher on July 23, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    I just hope they prepare slightly more balanced pitches for the remaining two Tests. It doesn't have to be a crazy greentop. The pitches in SA and NZ were slightly too bowler friendly at times earlier this year and last. If England didn't throw away so many wickets on Day 2 this could easily have been a draw. Maybe now the English press will admit that England and SA are a good match for each other and stop this rubbish about white-washing us.

  • 5wombats on July 23, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    The reason that England lost this was the dumb decision Strauss made at the toss to bat first. The forecast showed that the first two days were going to be bowler friendly with days 3 and 4 being a batsmans paradise. SO why did Strauss choose to bat in obviously tricky atmospheric conditions? Why did he expose his batsmen to an excellent bowling attack in conditions favourable for bowling? It just doesn't make sense. Wombats said at the time we should win the toss and put SA in and test their mettle. If the argument was "England don't want to bat last" - well, they ended up doing that anyway because they gave the excellent batting conditions on Days 3 + 4 to South Africa. WHY didn't Strauss put SA in to bat at the toss? - Maybe SA would still have made 600+ on Days 1 and 2 - but that would have left England to bat in the glorious sunshine of Days 3 and 4 on a flat pitch. Those are the reasons. South Africa are good enough to capitalise on such a basic mistake - well played to them.

  • Tjoeps on July 23, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Well played guys, but you are still not forgiven for Thursday.... In the end a good team performance, well done behind the sticks AB, lucky you were not asked to bat, but I think you would have loved a go on that pitch! Enjoy a few cold ones tonight, you all deserve it!

  • Plz_Dont_Get_Whitewashed on July 23, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Eng will bounce back and easily win this series 2-1 !!.... This Test Result was just an anomaly because of the uncharacteristically flat pitch they had prepared for this Test. On the Swinging & Seaming Pitches of Headingley & Leeds, Eng bowlers will rip through this SA batting line-up and win both matches easily!! (From a shell-shocked Indian fan)

  • LeftBrain on July 23, 2012, 16:06 GMT

    Weldone Smith and team. A great team effort. Everybody contributed towards this great victory, with some worldclass performances by Amla, Kallis, Smith, Steyn adn Mirkel....... Only if SA can maintain this level of professionalism and show results consistently, they can be the team to beat. They have all the ingrediants, just have to make winning a habit and get rid of that C word.

  • Narbavi on July 23, 2012, 16:06 GMT

    Congrats to South Africa, you are the only team to challenge every team in their own backyard, having won test matches on all conditions you deserve to be the no.1 test side in the world, i knew the POMS would lose badly in subcontinental conditions but never thought they would struggle to pick more than 2 wickets on their own backyard, on the other hand its not surprising because in their previous test they allowed the last wicket partnership to put on more than 120 odd runs!!

  • SurlyCynic on July 23, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    So Eng prepared a flat pitch to negate SA's bowlers... and only took 2 wickets. And so much for SA being 'lucky' with conditions, they took 20 wickets on a flat pitch. Great performance, which should put the bizarre 'Anderson better than Steyn' theory to bed. Englands best chance is a green pitch lottery, expect one at next test.

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  • SurlyCynic on July 23, 2012, 16:00 GMT

    So Eng prepared a flat pitch to negate SA's bowlers... and only took 2 wickets. And so much for SA being 'lucky' with conditions, they took 20 wickets on a flat pitch. Great performance, which should put the bizarre 'Anderson better than Steyn' theory to bed. Englands best chance is a green pitch lottery, expect one at next test.

  • Narbavi on July 23, 2012, 16:06 GMT

    Congrats to South Africa, you are the only team to challenge every team in their own backyard, having won test matches on all conditions you deserve to be the no.1 test side in the world, i knew the POMS would lose badly in subcontinental conditions but never thought they would struggle to pick more than 2 wickets on their own backyard, on the other hand its not surprising because in their previous test they allowed the last wicket partnership to put on more than 120 odd runs!!

  • LeftBrain on July 23, 2012, 16:06 GMT

    Weldone Smith and team. A great team effort. Everybody contributed towards this great victory, with some worldclass performances by Amla, Kallis, Smith, Steyn adn Mirkel....... Only if SA can maintain this level of professionalism and show results consistently, they can be the team to beat. They have all the ingrediants, just have to make winning a habit and get rid of that C word.

  • Plz_Dont_Get_Whitewashed on July 23, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Eng will bounce back and easily win this series 2-1 !!.... This Test Result was just an anomaly because of the uncharacteristically flat pitch they had prepared for this Test. On the Swinging & Seaming Pitches of Headingley & Leeds, Eng bowlers will rip through this SA batting line-up and win both matches easily!! (From a shell-shocked Indian fan)

  • Tjoeps on July 23, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Well played guys, but you are still not forgiven for Thursday.... In the end a good team performance, well done behind the sticks AB, lucky you were not asked to bat, but I think you would have loved a go on that pitch! Enjoy a few cold ones tonight, you all deserve it!

  • 5wombats on July 23, 2012, 16:14 GMT

    The reason that England lost this was the dumb decision Strauss made at the toss to bat first. The forecast showed that the first two days were going to be bowler friendly with days 3 and 4 being a batsmans paradise. SO why did Strauss choose to bat in obviously tricky atmospheric conditions? Why did he expose his batsmen to an excellent bowling attack in conditions favourable for bowling? It just doesn't make sense. Wombats said at the time we should win the toss and put SA in and test their mettle. If the argument was "England don't want to bat last" - well, they ended up doing that anyway because they gave the excellent batting conditions on Days 3 + 4 to South Africa. WHY didn't Strauss put SA in to bat at the toss? - Maybe SA would still have made 600+ on Days 1 and 2 - but that would have left England to bat in the glorious sunshine of Days 3 and 4 on a flat pitch. Those are the reasons. South Africa are good enough to capitalise on such a basic mistake - well played to them.

  • StaalBurgher on July 23, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    I just hope they prepare slightly more balanced pitches for the remaining two Tests. It doesn't have to be a crazy greentop. The pitches in SA and NZ were slightly too bowler friendly at times earlier this year and last. If England didn't throw away so many wickets on Day 2 this could easily have been a draw. Maybe now the English press will admit that England and SA are a good match for each other and stop this rubbish about white-washing us.

  • Smithie on July 23, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    A great Test match not marred by umpiring errors but corrections made by DRS with smoothness and efficiency eg reversal wickets of Strauss in first innings and Broad in the second. Take note Srinivasan, Dhoni, SRT and BCCI. An unspoilt cricket match !

  • desi-blue on July 23, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    ''Five...Five...Fiiiivveee"...Dale Steyn you little beauty..awesome spell of fast bowling...I literally get goosebumps watching this guy bowl...the sheer determination,aggression and passion he displays is great to watch...he plays with his heart on his sleeve everytime he's out there...no half measures whatsoever...hope he continues this form for the rest of the series...Oh and congratulations to Mr Amla, Mr Kallis and Mr Smith as well.....

  • Narbavi on July 23, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    @SurlyCynic: Couldn't agree more!! Its really funny to hear few english fans saying Anderson is better than Steyn, We all know what anderson has done in the subcontinent, rubbish totally, but look at steyn's record, awesome, and to be the world no.1 for over 4yrs now is just totally outstanding!!