South Africa in England 2012

Time for Finn - Boycott

ESPNcricinfo staff

July 24, 2012

Comments: 113 | Text size: A | A

Geoffrey Boycott believes it is time for Steven Finn to be given a run in the England team even though that could mean fellow Yorkshireman, Tim Bresnan, missing out on playing on his home ground in the second Test against South Africa at Headingley.

England's bowling attack flopped in their innings-and-12-run defeat to South Africa at The Oval, as the visitors piled up 637 for 2, and Boycott told ESPNcricinfo he feels changes need to be made.

After making his debut in 2010 against Bangladesh, Finn played 11 consecutive Tests before being dropped for Bresnan in Melbourne. Boycott believes it is now time to reverse that selection and for Finn to be given another run of games.

"Finn will be in the squad for Headingley and he deserves to have a run in the side," Boycott said. "He's been carrying the drinks for far too long. He's been playing well for his county and we need to find out if he can play well at Test level."

Finn has been in contention for selection in every Test since being left out for the fourth Ashes Test but has only played three more times - once in series home and away against Sri Lanka, and against West Indies at Edgbaston when James Anderson and Stuart Broad were rested.

Finn has been in fine form for Middlesex this season, taking 22 first-class wickets at 20.04 and was also a key part of England's ODI attack that beat Australia 4-0; Finn claimed eight wickets at 19.37.

Bresnan's place in the side has been much debated with his batting ability seen as the justification for his selection. He averages 39.00 from his 15 Tests and scored a best of 91 against India last year. With the ball he has claimed 56 wickets at 28.12 and took eight wickets at Trent Bridge against West Indies in May. Despite his record, and the fact that until The Oval defeat, England had won all but one of the Tests Bresnan had played in, Boycott feels Finn deserves a run in the side.

"You have to find out if he can play well at Test level and you don't get that by dropping somebody after one or two Tests," Boycott said. "Eoin Morgan got a good chance and now Finn has to have a proper chance."

Through the same reasoning, Boycott feels Ravi Bopara is the man to occupy England's other debated position - the No. 6 slot. Bopara was in line for a recall against Sri Lanka in April and West Indies in May but injuries on both occasions meant he was left out. He finally returned to the Test XI at The Oval but made 0 and 22, being dismissed with poor strokes in both innings.

"Bopara is the right man to play," Boycott said. "Whether he's good enough is a different matter, but he has to have a proper go."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 27, 2012, 18:37 GMT)

We need a hero... we're holding on for a hero for the second test... he's got to be strong and he's got to be tall, and he's got to bowl to the end of the night... Oh man that was painful! Errr, good luck England.

Posted by jezzastyles on (July 27, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

Meety, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments regarding pace vs, movement (seam or bounce), especially with all of the protective gear batsmen have nowadays - batsmen with ordinary defensive techniques have gotten by on the largely flat tracks of the 2000's, but look at some of the innings recently in tests - mainly due to greener/livelier pitches and a bit of life in the wicket - good to see. Lee did start to bowl within himself for a period there, shortened his runup, it was the next home series after McGrath & warne retired, but succumbed to injury thereafter, and we never seen him bowl with that consistency & ease again. He was busted going into the last Ashes series at home, and Punter & selectors wrongly expected far too much of him. Hope we manage the current fast-bowling stocks better - potential world beaters, but they can't do that nursing a niggle in the dressing room.

Posted by Meety on (July 27, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

@ jb633 - I've never been a fan of Broad (tough gig to convince me to be), but don't fall into the trap of worrying about pace. Your mob gave us a touch up in the Ashes & none of your bowlers were as fast as our slowest pacers, (back then Finn was barely 135kph - about Hilfenhaas). In the modern game where scoreboard pressure is so intense (either the other teams score or the need to tick the scoring over), it doesn't matter how fast you are as long as you can have lateral movement or outsmart the batsmen. I admit to being pro-pace, but the Ashes were an eye opener. One of our best domestic performers (& a bloke who should get more of a chance), Copeland barely gets above 125 kph - & his stats are fantastic. I am a Tremlett fan, & he is barely medium pace. Lack of pace doesn't seem to affect Anderson either! I often think that if Brett Lee learnt the art of "strategic" pace (meaning peeling it back a bit & trying cutters or containment), he'd of been a much better Test bowler.

Posted by   on (July 27, 2012, 10:22 GMT)

This same guy, GB, had, prior to ist test, said that Tahir would be handled easily by a 70 years old. Given this, there must be a number of players well over 70 in the current England side! I don't take GB seriously in the same way I had not taken his batting seriously! For a laugh at GB, I always go to to Michael Holding's 'wonder' over to GB. With due respect to Holding, the over was a 'wonder' only because GB was the batsman facing! Fynn or no Fynn, England needs to play and stop talking how a good game should be played.

Posted by pommyadders on (July 27, 2012, 8:21 GMT)

@JG2704. yes I did mate, may bad......I realised my mistake after I posted. What is it with all you JB's and JG's around here??? Don't take much to confuse me and all of you certainly do!! @ jb633 (for who I think my initial post was intended) Like you I don't know what was going on with Broads pace @ the Oval but I can't say I recall it being down majorly against the Windies. At this stage I'm just putting it down to one bad test, bit early to be panicking about him at this stage.

Posted by jb633 on (July 26, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

@JG207, Yeah that's what I have been saying. But realistically, you and I both know that this is not going to happen.

Posted by   on (July 26, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

I cant believe Finn isnt playing in the side yet, by now he would have been given a run in every international side in the world, including South Africa's. Indeed when he has played for England he has always taken wickets, his record is still good for a young fast bowler, he surely will only get better by playing more? If memory serves he was dropped in the ashes series for Bresnan when he was the leading wicket taker in the series for the reason that he was too expensive. Bresnan has been brilliant but I am sure he doesnt bring enough to the table to justify keeping Finn out. He should count himself unlucky to be dropped but he should be for the good of the side. Finn is potentially Englands best fast bowler in at least the last 20 years and I'm certain that injuries permitting he will prove it. The first time I saw him I was convinced he was Englands version of Glenn McGrath, he needs to be given a chance to prove it. I love Bressy but Finn has to play.....

Posted by JG2704 on (July 26, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

@jb633 on (July 26 2012, 11:42 AM GMT) Why can't Finn or Onions come in for Bopara and add to our bowling unit?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 26, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

@pommyadders on (July 26 2012, 06:53 AM GMT) Think you have the wrong guy here - I'm sticking up for Broad

Posted by on (July 26, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

@JG2704 thnx fr ur comments ma...appreciations ...

Posted by jb633 on (July 26, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

@pommyadders and jezzastyles, yeah Broady did take a 7 fer but did anybody actually watch it. He was outbowled by Jimmy that game and the overheads were making the ball swing round corners. The pace of Broad was still around 82 mph, which against the likes of Kallis, Amla, AB is not quick enough. If he cannot crank it up and is not swinging it he is going to be cannon fodder here and the series against India. Most experts agree that the ball will only reverse if bowled at a decent lick (aka Wasim, Waqar, Steyn, S. Jones). It has just worried me that if he is not capable of bowling high 80's again, what will his future as a bowler bring when the ball does not swing. Personally I feel there must be a niggle because I know as well as anyone that he is a very good cricketer. I just hope he has not been instructed to slow it down and rely on control only. In India, we are going to have to reverse swing that ball or plaiin and simple we will get hammered.

Posted by jb633 on (July 26, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

@JG207, No I agree I think if he is fully fit then he is worth a place in most sides. Really I can't think of any times he beat the bat. I don't mean a literal kick and telling off, just think someone has gotta crank him up, make him angry. Whatever they do it must be different from those floaty half volleys. I think it has gotta be a swap with Finn for Ravi, altough I will be very suprised if they go this way. Finn will come in for either Bres or Broad I think. I can't decide who, but I am convinced Finn must play.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 26, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

@jb633 /Not worried me massively but I hear where you're coming from - could be that he has injury worries at the back of his mind. He did beat Smith's bat a few times in this match when conditions were helpful. I was more taking issue with the "needs a swift un up the backside" as I'd never fault his effort/application @zenboomerang - I'd keep Broad in there. He took a 6 for in the 1st test and as said above re Smith in 1st inns. I'd prefer them to drop Broad and Bopara and bring Finn and Onions in than just swap Bres and Finn around. BTW fans I don't want Broad dropped

Posted by JG2704 on (July 26, 2012, 7:32 GMT)

@cric_fan_ Still think they were harsh on Monty and come on Monty wasn't the sole reason we lost that test - ref Eng 1st inns. I said Finn or Onions should be there BEFORE this series started. In fact long before the UAE series and said that I'd have chosen 5 man attack a long time before that.As put many times , we have won what we won in spite of having a number 6 batsman not because of him. I'm not necessarily saying Finn or Onions will make a difference but we need to WIN now and I can't see Ravi being the difference. Personally apart from Cook and Trott I couldn't care less about any of our batsmen right now but surely if you're bringing Finn in it's more unfair to drop Bres who has been a solid performer after 1 test where every bowler failed than Bopara who was probably lucky to get back into the fold last year after showing no county form.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 26, 2012, 7:31 GMT)

@Dashgar on (July 26 2012, 04:25 AM GMT) Finn adds extra pace so that's one extra dimension and Bres is the best guy with the old ball so dropping him is taking that asset away. By dropping Bopara what exactly are we realistically missing?

Posted by pommyadders on (July 26, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

@JG207 - Not sure why you think Broad looked lackluster against the Windies?? He took 14 wickets in 2 tests @ 21.71 for the series including a 7fer!!. Not saying you're one of them but I've been amazed at the criticism of Broad in this thread, and talk of dropping him is just laughable. I've got no idea what was going on with him at the Oval pace wise, but what I do know is that's the first poor test he's had since coming back into the side at the start of last summer.

Posted by cric_fan_ on (July 26, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

@ JG2704 Monty's was an unjust but sooner or later either he or Swann had to go, you won't play 2 spinners in English conditions and Eng chose Swann over him. If you remember that time too after his 2 drop catches English fans were all after his head as if those 2 catches were the sole & whole reason for English flop show. This time they're after Bopara. Finn should be in the team but that decision should've been made before selecting Bopara, now that you've chosen him over others give him some run before judging his performance. This try for 1 test drop in next isn't a good trend to be set, for any new player who'll be selected will be under tremendous pressure to perform from the very first day which is not good. What if Finn fails in his first test too, should he be dropped too, what about any future player who fails just after getting selected should he be dropped, why not any of the English bowler be replaced after all they too failed miserably in this test?

Posted by zenboomerang on (July 26, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

@JG207...@jb633... re: Broad - just feel the same as jb that Broad has lost a yard or two recently, without any obvious reason... Certainly didn't show much in the last Test... Liked the idea of Anderson / Finn / Bresnan / Onions, though Broad in form is a certain starter ... Carrying a bowler that is down on form means a 6-1-1-3 team - often seen Oz have this problem with Johnson bowling - just weakened our attack & part of the reason for losses... Seems some bowlers stay in the team when not 100% & most batters can have many bad matches without being dropped - yet in football we accept that most players are replaceable on short notice when out of form... Just a bugbear of mine :) ...

Posted by Dashgar on (July 26, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

@JG2704. That is actually my point exactly. At 8 it is not Bresnans job to Shepard the tail but at 7 it would be. Not only would he be taking on a job he's never done before he would be doing a harder job as the English tail below him would be weaker with Finn there. The final point is the eternal question when picking 4 quicks. What can 4 do that three cannot? Unless your 4 are extremely different (which England's are not) then having 4 is just serving as insurance if one or two are having bad games. Thats like setting fields for bad bowling. It's negative and it won't win matches.

Posted by jezzastyles on (July 26, 2012, 1:11 GMT)

Geez, there seem to be a lot of comments criticizing Broad - last series he played vs. WI, 11 wkts in 1st test and 3 wkts in 2nd test - did not play 3rd test. 14 wkts in the last 2 tests he played before this series is pretty damn good, certainly doesn't reflect a downhill slide in form. Finn for Bopara if the pitch suits, and reinforce that the batting lineup has to deliver. I would not be surprised to see Prior score a century in one of the next two tests vs. SA, he's in good form. Surely the ECB will want the Leeds track to have a bit of life - it's their best chance of winning - but it also means Steyn & co. will be very dangerous. Regardless, I hope the weather doesn't intervene in the next game, and both teams get full opportunity to showcase all of their talents. I expect the Poms to bounce back with a much stronger performance. I'll be putting my money on SA to win the series from here, but anything can happen in this most wonderful of games.

Posted by   on (July 26, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

It should be Broad's place, not Bresnan's that is under threat. Both Bresnan's batting and bowling averages are way better, plus Broad bowled little more than medium pace at the Oval.

Posted by jb633 on (July 25, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

@JG207, has Broady's bowling not worried you massivley this summer?. His pace seems to be way down and even against the WI I felt he lacked sharpness. I am not suggesting he be dropped, but there must be something wrong for him to be bowling 79 mph lollipos.

Posted by jb633 on (July 25, 2012, 22:29 GMT)

@JG207- Spot on about our number 6. Selectors have long pursued the idea that our number 6 will save us when we are 4 down for not many. However the reality is greatly different. Since Collingwood in SA series of 09/10 when has the number 6 got us out of trouble? I remember 1 game when Morgan made 100 against Pakistan in the 2010 series. So that is 1 innings in 6 series. Our bowlers have not been tested all that much before this summer but the warning signs were there during the WI series, that taking 20 wickets is going to be hard on our flat pitches ( yes, our wickets are mainly flat). I think Finn in for Bopara and back Prior to be a number 6. If we can bowl SA out for a decent total then it will take the pressure off our real batsman. Ah, I knew there would be a time that we would miss Freddy. It took a while but here it is.

Posted by MarkfromEdinburgh on (July 25, 2012, 22:04 GMT)

England should do what the great Richie Benaud says: always do what the opposition want the least. Would SA prefer Finn or Bopara? The answer is obvious.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

@Jwara on (July 25 2012, 05:56 AM GMT) This is exactly why we need to play 5 bowlers because our 6th batsman (whoever he is) has added next to nothing with the bat. So whatever happens we won't lose much with the bat but an extra bowler just might add something.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 21:23 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer on (July 25 2012, 12:29 PM GMT) Mate , surely Finn or Onions for Bopara. It's not even that much of a gamble because our batsmen are a shambles , also maybe playing only 5 batsmen would give each of them a greater sense of responsibility. May I ask what the 6th batsman actually adds to OUR side? Or maybe you could give an example of where the 6th batsman has made the difference between winning and drawing or drawing and being defeated? I know 6/1/4 worked for us before the UAE tour but are there any matches in this last year or so which we would not have won if we had gone 5/1/5? I reckon (without checking) you could take the number 6s scores out of all those matches and the results would have been the same

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

@Meety on (July 25 2012, 12:01 PM GMT) Yeah , tell me about it. I think you're right re the obvious trolls but sometimes you can't help yourself. Re the ODI result , no unfortunately that prob won't stop them. One of them had the word Harmony in their user name ?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

@Dashgar on (July 25 2012, 10:24 AM GMT) Bresnan would move up one place. OK he didn't shepherd the tail but then that's Bell and Bopara's job and where were they - back in the pavilion.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

@cric_fan_ on (July 25 2012, 10:18 AM GMT) In UAE/SL Monty was on fire with the ball and then had one wicketless test and then he is out. That's what I call unjust. For me you have to weigh up whether Ravi is more likely to make an impact with the bat or Finn with the ball. Bres certainly does not deserve the chop - None of our bowlers do. Another way of looking at it is thinking about what line up SA would least want to go up against. Would they prefer to bowl against Bopara or bat against Finn

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 21:21 GMT) on (July 25 2012, 08:10 AM GMT) Super comments there and in very cool text speak too.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

@zenboomerang on (July 25 2012, 06:39 AM GMT) Mate , I'm not sure if Onions is OK from injury. Regardless I wouldn't drop Broad. I'd definitely bring in Finn or Onions for Bop as you know already but I think their heads are buried in the sand as re 6th batsman offering depth. I wish someone would actually point out to Flower and co that our number 6 does no such thing.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 21:20 GMT)

@Henrik Lovén on (July 24 2012, 21:09 PM GMT) I take issue with what you say about Broad. 1 he has been a very consistent player in all formats - in tests the only 2 times he hasn't performed was vs SL when he was obviously half fit and in this match and which Eng bowler did come out smelling of roses. As for him needing a kick up the backside , Broad is a fully committed player. Also how long ago is 2008?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 21:20 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 24 2012, 18:30 PM GMT) Hate to say this but Oz have improved since the last Ashes defeat. Both teams thrashed India 4-0 but Oz beat SL (where we drew) , beat WI in WI by the same scoreline we beat them by at home and drew in SA . Obviously things/form can change but I said before the series that there's little to choose between the top 3 test nations

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 21:20 GMT)

@raj_24 on (July 25 2012, 09:46 AM GMT) Strange coms re Steyn. I've not read him saying anything boastful and the guy is an absolute class bowler. He has been number 1 for quite a while now and when you look at how many different batsmen have become number 1 that surely proves his longevity.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (July 25, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

If you want Finn to play then Eng has to drop someone, that's no brainer. Even though I agree with Mr. Boycott that a player should be allowed to play a few games to see how good they are, but in this case I will drop Bopara. I question his technique(batting) and he is no good as a bowler in test matches, except give some rest for the main bowlers. I still believe Eng will bounce back and not going to go away w/o a fight, especially at home. Good Luck @Dhirajlal Patel: Geoffrey comment's is about Finn in the ongoing series between SA and ENG. So, Why r u commenting abt India's performance. No one cares. Yes India got Thrashed last year 10-0 but that is move on to the next series.

Posted by Marcio on (July 25, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

Of course Finn will come in. No choice after the first test fiasco. But the reality is that he is no Morkel or Steyn. I've seen him bowl enough in various conditions. He is 'flat' in flat conditions, just like Broad and Anderson. Lots of pressure now on the lad now. If there is drizzle, he will look great, if it is sunny he will look ordinary. Same same.

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (July 25, 2012, 18:03 GMT)

@raj_24: please provide a source where Steyn calls England a phoney? All I can find is an article with a sensationalist headline. Please do your research, and actually read the article, before spouting nonsense here.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (July 25, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

I never thought I'd be agrreeing with good old Geoff Boycott! But he's spot on about both Finn and Bopara. I have doubts about Pietersen too and on current form Broad is looking out of his depth? Well done Geoff - talking sense at last! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by Highflyer_GP on (July 25, 2012, 15:53 GMT)

Bresnan got half of England's wickets in this match! Drop Broad instead.

Posted by Dirk_L on (July 25, 2012, 14:52 GMT)

As a South African, I'll be delighted to see Bresnan dropped. He has that same bloody-minded Yorkshire tenacity that Boycs himself had but seems not to value.

England is not playing 6 batsmen, 4 bowlers and 1 allrounder (Bopara). England is playing 6 batsmen, 3 bowlers and 2 allrounders (Bresnan and Broad). Go check out the ICC test rankings for all-rounders. Bresnan and Broad are top-10, Bopara is not even top-100.

One of the less appreciated differences between the teams was fourth fast bowler: Kallis vs Bopara. Kallis got wickets. Critical ones, when the other bowlers couldn't.

Yes, England need another bowler. All logic dictates that Finn must play. But if that's at the expense of Bresnan, Strauss will once again have to look around the field and reluctantly choose between Bopara, Bell and Pietersen when his three faster men need a bit of rest.

Posted by   on (July 25, 2012, 13:30 GMT)

@raj 24. Dale steyn is not here. Maybe you should go to him and say that to his face. I see everybody talking here who should be dropped. How can you drop a person after only 1 test. How do you drop a batsman if you failed to score 400 when the oposition scored 637 for 2. Maybe the players should just lift their game. England have done well in england the past 3 to 4 years and should be given the benefit of doubt. Thank God there is selectors and you guys don't select teams.

Posted by k4zz on (July 25, 2012, 12:42 GMT)

Finn should come into replace Broad. While Bopara should be stuck with atleast for a few games if he fails then Compton should be next in line to feature.

Posted by pr3m on (July 25, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

Why doesn't anybody question Broad's place in the side? Why does Bresnan have to leave? I agree, Finn is too good to be ignored (since when is he preferred in ODIs, didn't he start playing Tests only?), but Bresnan has done nothing wrong.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (July 25, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

It seems bizarre to drop a bowler when it has been the batting that has failed consistently on this type of pitch over the last 5 months, but the bowling failure was the hardest to understand given that, save for one innings in the UAE where Pakistan were allowed to get 100 runs too many, the bowling unit performed heroically. Tim Bresnan does look short of fitness since his injury and Stuart Broad also looks to be well below his best (with bat too). Sometimes it takes just one change to freshen-up a side. However, in the 3rd Test Steve Finn did not look very threatening and Graeme Onions was felt to have outbowled him. As the 2nd Test is at Headingley you might prefer Onions to Finn if you do make a change. The big issue is, why does the batting fail? It is all beginning to look like the South Africa series in 2003 and one fears that the end result may be the same. 2003: goodbye Nasser. 2008: goodbye Michael. Can Andrew Strauss survive another series loss and batting failure?

Posted by pratit on (July 25, 2012, 12:25 GMT)

Justifying a bowler's place in the side based on his batting ability is ridiculous. Anyway England has probably the best no.7 in Matt Prior and Broad and Swann can bat a bit as well. Better to get Finn into the side to add variety to the bowling.

Posted by jb633 on (July 25, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

I have thought Finn is a must for a couple of years. IMO, if a bowler has to go it must be Broad ( unless he gets a kick up the arse and bowls properly). I would rather see Ravi dropped and England go in with 5 bowlers but I can't see this happening. England simply must pick Finn for the extra pace he generates. During the whole oval test, it became abundantly clear that you can't go through sides without some pace. Throughout the WI series our attack looked pedestrian, but they were not good enough to capitalise. Broad can't bowl under 80 mph, he must crank it up a touch. I know it is not all about pace but 79 mph is just too slow. Anderson is a good bowler despite what all the Indians think. Swann has worried me against the right handers of late, he seems to have lost some of his drift, which brings slip into play when the ball doesn't spin. All in all I have not been impressed at all this summer by our attack. I know we can bounce back, but we must bring in someone with pace.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (July 25, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

i think reducing the batting at this stage is erroneous. As regards its composition, Ravi is fortunate in as much as he is a respectable part time bowler. Finn at the moment is most people's choice to play, but maybe there is too much of a rush to find our next saviour. He is a very good bowler, but is he better. He has pace above the rest, thankfully, which puts him at an advantage by comparison withthe neo trundlers, Broad and Bresnan. I would reward the latter for balls above 86mph and punish them for below unless they signal slower ball- possibly a plan only applicable in practise. To cover both maybe one could play Finn AND Meaker. Lets get them hurrying their shots. If broad and Bresnan want to bowl at medium pace i think Masters is better at it!

Posted by   on (July 25, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

You can tell this was written by a batsman.....................always change the bowlers, from the top to the bottom, its always the same. There should be some introspection higher up the order me thinks, you should have a total to bowl at as well.When was the last daddy hundred from the likes of Bell, Bopara and Strauss? And don't say Bell=Sydney, because the series was in the bag by then, no pressure. It's a batsman's game, play it and take some responsibility, and that includes you Kevin. By the way, Bres has done nothing wrong, indeed a wicket taker in the last test...........

Posted by   on (July 25, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

I think there was a large dose of complacency by England in this result. They thought they just had to turn up and win. unfortunately for Eng SA didn't crumble like India. The next test will be the key to the series. Either Eng WERE complacent and now know they r in a battle, OR they are just not as good as the South Africans.

Posted by Meety on (July 25, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

@JG2704 - I can't remember what article it was on, but you were copping a hammering as if you were the English Jonesy2! Most of what was being said had absolutely nothing to do with anything you actually said (or from memory the topic of the article)! I think it's best not to bother with obvious Trolls unless it is a quiet day! Probably won't get too many comms for a day or two from a certain country given they just got belted by 9 wickets & 180 balls yesterday! LOL!

Posted by Meety on (July 25, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

@ jezzastyles - RandyOz is a stirrer (some Pommy fans would use a different description). I agree with you regarding Swanny, he is very good in all 3 formats. I'd drop Broad though, as I think he is a Bully Boy of Asian cricket teams - his stats against Oz/NZ/SA over 20 tests borders on part timer - I think his average is about 38 with a S/R around 75 in those matches. Now that I've said that though, he'll probably turn it around with a 5for! @jmcilhinney - I'd be very interested to see how Finn goes against the Saffas, I did not rate him during the Ashes & he has too many Bangladesh wickets atm to judge how good he really is, although he seems to have smoothed his run up & is bowling faster (better?), but I would not be dropping Bresnan for him!

Posted by phermon on (July 25, 2012, 11:46 GMT)

This result was exceptional and I wouldn't panic as an England supporter. But I believe the 6/5 principle is worth applying with the South Africans so bring Prior in at 6, make Broad realise his talent by putting him at 7, Bresnan is a proven performer at 8, Swan, Finn, Anderson. I am sorry about Bopara and the other possibilities for 6, but the first 5 have no excuse for not performing on a regular basis and Prior almost never fails - they are all great players. If we still get beaten with that line-up, then SA are just that much better than us

Posted by mrhamilton on (July 25, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

Boycott has it all wrong why the hell drop Bresnan on his home ground when he isnt exactly playing the actual common sense solution is play 5 bowlers...the 6th batting spot is where bopara and morgan have been failing. Its simple move Prior up to 6 for now and play Finn. With Prior,broad and bresnan at 6,7 & 8 its a strong enough batting line up. The key will be the bowlers taking on this very strong south african attack.

Posted by Romanticstud on (July 25, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

I agreed that Bresnan should have replaced Finn in The Ashes but it is not a simple switch this time ... I think Bopara was the odd man out ... and must go ... You have Cook, Strauss, Trott, Pietersen, Bell in the top 5 ...

Posted by   on (July 25, 2012, 10:47 GMT) Thank god u aren't an England selector. Also Tahir is not loads better than Swann, that's ridiculous. Tahir has potential, but look at his stats. Ok he's only played 9 (?) tests, but his average is useless.

Posted by   on (July 25, 2012, 10:38 GMT)

I agree Finn should be in, but at Broad's expense. His whinging on Twitter abt the Oval being a sub-continental style pitch seemed a precursor to him basically giving up. He was absolutely useless with both ball and bat, and I have no idea why he is considered a dead cert to play every game.

Posted by Selassie-I on (July 25, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

@Cricket_maestro... we're looking forward to the WC mate, look where it is - Australia, what is Indias record on bouncy/seaming tracks recently in ODIs(In England and Australia)? didn't win a game in England and got thrashed by Aus and SL in the tri-series..... there is 2 new balls now in ODIs as well and you're hardly plaing a game outside the sub-continent in the next 2 years before it. I would be worried about what will happen to India in the WC, not England! Related to the article; personally I think Finn for Bopara, I think we need 5 full time bowlers here although Leeds is a seamers paradis usually so A&A will probably keep things the same. I'm there days 3,4,5 so looking forward to it!

Posted by Dashgar on (July 25, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

I love the delusional people who think Bresnan is good enough to move up the order. Or even that Broad is good enough at 8. Yes Bres battled his way to a not out last test but he didn't protect the tail at all, he was one of them. With Prior sheparding the tail first innings England got something from their bottom 4 but if that job goes to Bresnan you will see them get rolled over very quickly. Maybe Bopara should be dropped, but he should be dropped for a proper batsman.

Posted by cric_fan_ on (July 25, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

I wouldn't have made any changes for the rest of the series if I were and English selector or captain. No doubt Finn is a good bowler but whom will he replace. This is 1st bowling failure for England in some time, so removing a bowler won't be justified unless they in the whole series. Then it must be a batsman, particularly Ravi Bopara who must be replaced by Finn. But think about it for a minute, he is coming back to the test team after a long time and this may be his last chance to make it to test XI and he was thrown to the mighty SA bowling. It won't be justified to replace him only after 2 poor innings, 1st of which was due to a brain freeze moment and not because he lacked competency. Give the guy at least 3 tests to prove himself. Also it will set a bad trend of players being dropped only for 1 failed test. So I'd keep the team unchanged for this series and will think about replacements only after the series is completed.

Posted by Damo_s on (July 25, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

I agree with a lot of others here that Broad seems to have fizzled out. In truth all of our bowlers were fairly terrible. I'm not sure what the answer is apart from hoping that the next 2 tests are played on spicey pitches and that our batsmen handle the SA bowlers on said pitches. Finn / Onions might be worth a shout. In all honesty though, I say doom for England. I think the psychological damage will already have been done.

Posted by raj_24 on (July 25, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

Hello Dale Steyn who thinks Eng are phoney no.1 1.How many tests do you play in a calendar year ( max 6 or 7)? is that enough for ranking 2.Have you won any of your latest test series at home vs IND AUS or ENG( all 1-1 draws) aus eng ind have been in top 4 in last 3-4 yrs.(Eng have won all home series in last 3 yrs and Ind also ) 3. Have you won anything series wise in subcontinent or asia in last 4-5 yrs ? ( all drawn or lost) ? 4. Have you ever reached even one WC finals even though this is about a different form of game still in that you have always CHOKED. 5.Funny how after just one big win your mouth has become so big the series is not over yet. 6. In Aus this november you will get the real challenge from Australia whom you have not beaten and mostly lost in test series since 1993 .Exception 2008 -09. 7.Keep talking Big , you CHOKER

Posted by ste13 on (July 25, 2012, 9:16 GMT)

Yes, Finn should be added at the expense of Broad, whose batting has also deteriorated. Bresnan should stay. Pietersen and Swann should be rested.

Posted by MightySun on (July 25, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

Finn should play in place of Bresnan.. England need a proper fast bowler/Wicket taker against this formidable SA line up rather than compromising on the bowling front by adding power to lower order....

Posted by joseyesu on (July 25, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

I do believe that Finn desrves a place in eng11. In that case, he can be a replacement to Bresnan and not Bopara as already the batting lack fire with the unavailability of Morgan.

Posted by kevinpp24 on (July 25, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

lol at the people calling for Broad to be dropped for Finn, he had one bad game against a good SA team and everyone calling him to be dropped. FYI before this match, Broad has taken his last 54 wickets at 18 which is an extraordinary record and remember out of this 4 were played in flat sub-continent wickets. Also a big no for 5 bowler theory against a brilliant bowling attack like SA, there is no guarantee Broad, Swann and Bresnan will score every time against them. My bowling lineup would be Jimmy, Broad, Swann, Finn, Bopara. Really unfair to drop Bresnan but England need a change atleast  in this match and series.

Posted by ozjosh on (July 25, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge. No, Bopara's innings in the recent ODI series does not warrant him a place in the Test team. The Australian attack was weakened- and short of match practice. A small point that has been made by others: Test and ODIs are two inherently different forms of the game that need a unique set of skills. Bopara can't handle the mental, or the rigorous technical qualities that are required of test cricket. He is the next Ramprakash. A solid county (maybe ODI) player but a mediocre test player.

Finn should definately be given a go. The attack needs variation and Finn can generate that steep bounce that can trouble SAf's batting lineup. When there are serious doubts about a side's ability to bowl the oppposition out it really is a no-brainer that a side should be weighted in favour of a stronger bowling attack.

Posted by on (July 25, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

england tried broad's pace and anderson and bresnan's swing..still dey cud manage only 2 wickets...den y wats d point in bringing finn...he is only good when pitch has boounce....nd we ol know safs luv bouncy tracks...on dose tracks steyn & co. cud wreck england....if dey prepare swinging conditions den steyn, philanderand kallis can do wat dey did to aussies 47 a.o. d only way eng cn or hope to win is by preparing spin conditions and play monty and swan and remove bresnan and get patel for bopara...and den dey cn hv sa on mat....but it still looks diff. as sa hv imran tahir whozz far better den swan...but still dey cn try pic for secon test wud b england although i m supportin dats just bcoz sa always ease up after a win...for sa dey should drop peterson and bring albie morkel and open wid rudolph...

Posted by   on (July 25, 2012, 8:08 GMT)

Drop Broad for the next test, his bowling was very poor, and his batting has vanished. Bresnan also deserves a run in the team, he's only played 5 in a row too.

Posted by stormy16 on (July 25, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

We first need to know what the wicket is like and may be even consider dropping Swan for Finn. The situation requires Eng to to win the next test to win the series and this means taking 20 SA wickets so an extra bowler is surely the call of the day. Eng have won many games before and became #1 with their top order without the #6 playing a huge role (may be Colly did in the past but even he struggled towards the end - when Eng became #1). Playing 6 specialist batters agains this SA attack could be a risk but a risk needs to be taken or the series and the #1 spot will be gone. I think Eng need to back them selves with their top order and 5 bowlers with Ravi missing out.

Posted by AKS286 on (July 25, 2012, 7:11 GMT)

yes i always says this that treat bresnan as a all rounder not as a third seamer. finn/meaker/onion deserves the spot.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 7:11 GMT)

@cric-maestro on (July 24 2012, 20:26 PM GMT) 1stly I see no comms on this thread from 5Wombats. 2ndly the Aus series was a year and a half ago. 3rdly we have only actually lost one test series away from home in that period also. Our batsmen were poor in UAE and we got a thrashing this week admittedly and maybe this is the beginning of the end. BTW what has the WC got to do with it?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 25, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

@Meety (presuming you read this) - Thanks for the comms the other day re the "Remove Smith" thread. I try to be balanced and still don't believe I made excuses for the defeat. Maybe I made excuses for our bowlers not picking up the wickets in the last test but tests are tests of batting and bowling and SA batted well when they had the better batting conditions and with the exception of day 1 we did not bat well.But I am certainly not saying SA won because of conditions. You can judge for yourself if you think my posts are volatile or whatever or whether I am tring to make excuses for the thrashing.I don't think I've ever seen one post from either which even hints at giving Eng credit. Maybe I need to learn not to respond , but it's hard when you see so much bad stuff being posted. All the best

Posted by zenboomerang on (July 25, 2012, 6:39 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK... Agree on Bopara & also like him, but the team needs bowling striking power, not hopefully a no.6 that may get some runs... Bresnan got more runs than Strauss & also had to face the new ball with a not out at innings close - a pity Bell, Bopara or Prior couldn't have hung around a bit longer & it may have been a different story... Bresnan did his job - a no.3 bowler, got half the SA wkts (ok 1) & didn't play dumb shots when keeping his wkt was important for the team & a draw... I'll make my dumb call & drop Bopara & Broad - then bring in Finn & Onions...

Posted by Jwara on (July 25, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

England cannot afford to play 5 batsmen, Prior and 5 bowlers. In the last 9 test matches they have only touched a score of 400 only once. If they cannot consistently score that they need all 6 batsmen to try to do it.. South Africa is aware that they can knock them over quickly meaning their batsmen can bleed the english attack by being patient. If they have to drop sum1 they have to drop a bowler for bowler.

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (July 25, 2012, 5:47 GMT)

Finn is not the answer just becos of some good performances in odis where batsmen are going after him. Bresnan is undroppable.Much better cricketer than Andrew Flintoff

Posted by kitten on (July 25, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

' but therein lies a problem cause if england punches through the top with the new ball rudolph, develliers and duminy look ripe for the taking.'

This is a comment by one of the readers......I hate to remind him that it has still not dawned on some supporters that this SA team should not be underestimated....De Villers is a brilliant batsman, and Duminy on his day can be a real threat. Let us all remember England is on the back foot at this moment, and need all the confidence to stage a comeback, but at the same time should not be too complacent, and make the same mistakes they did in the first test. Hopefully, we'll see a better contest at Headingley, or else I won't be watching the third Test!!

Posted by anver777 on (July 25, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

So called "Lucky Charm" Bresnan's chances for next test is in jeopardy.... Finn is not bad, but I think Bresnan deserves another chance !!!!!

Posted by ashish514 on (July 25, 2012, 5:24 GMT)

it's unfair to single out Bresnan. He takes wickets at crucial times and he is a better batsman. To drop him because of one bad performance when every bowler suffered is not right. How harsh would it be if he is dropped and the next surface they play is fast and bowler friendly(which i am sure will be the case). That would make sure that Finn takes wickets and keeps him out for a long time. At least try him once more on responsive pitch and then see if he needs to be removed.

Posted by   on (July 25, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

England dont understand that in-form bowler is regularly excluded from test playing xi .............FINN deserves to be in the side for his excellent bowling skills

Posted by jezzastyles on (July 25, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

I have to agree with RandyOZ with regards to inclusion of Finn - it is a step in the right direction, but not a quick-fix by any means. However, you really do detest Swann. Swann is a very good spinner, but by no stretch of the imagination is he great, but he is very solid, and a very handy tailender. All cricketers have poor performances. Tahir is not a class above - he just outperformed Swann in this match. At 33 years of age and 22-wickets in 8 Tests, Tahir can only be considered a journeyman at this stage. We'll see at the end of the series where he really is. As for Broad, he struggled, but so did the rest of their attack, calls for his axing are knee-jerk reactions. England are ranked #1 for a reason, they didn't win it in a raffle. I expect them to bounce back in game 2 with a far stronger display, they'll be fired up and hurting. As for the comment by Chris Sun - I'll be EXTREMELY happy if AUS draw the series vs. SA - and it'll be on the back of our bowlers if we do.

Posted by   on (July 25, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

Since the India home match, England have not played any good test teams. Now you have a top quality Test team on your shores, and hence it is expected you'll be tested.

Posted by cricketfannik on (July 25, 2012, 4:39 GMT)

@nzcricket174 na mate not great flops great batsman can any kiwi player break the record master holds or even come close to ricky's captaincy na mate. NZ will lose to WI and every other team they are only team to be whitewashed by bangladesh anyways SA deserve to be on the top as they play well always but somehow in world cups they play with no luck. I still believe SA had 2 world cups in their bag but were unfortunate. But now their coach will change the tables and wil take chokers out of their name.

but india still need to be consistent cant just tour sril and WI for sake of overseas althou they have won test series and matches overseas before but since world cup its been bad outing eng and Aus but eng had one with Pak and they probably will be beaten in India too not 4-0 but 2-0 2 will be drawn due to pathetic pitches

Posted by Meety on (July 25, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

If it were me, it wouldn't be Finn in, Bresnan out, it'd be Broad out.

Posted by   on (July 25, 2012, 4:29 GMT)

@kensohatter: you bring up valid points and i think Finn is quality. I just think you underestimate AB, Rudolph and Duminy. Duminy has struggled against Swann in the passed, but he is one of the most accomplished batsman in SA. AB is the number one test batsman at present. He is renowned for his ODI game, but he can play Test cricket, as Pakistan. Rudolph is yet to prove himself since his return. However you pommes know he would be playing for England in a heart beat had he qualified. underestimate SA's 5 to 7 at your own peril.

Posted by DEV_ME on (July 25, 2012, 3:59 GMT)

Finn has to be in the team - absolutely. But why Broad ? Dosent anyone think that he is a bit over rated all rounder ? Going by his bowling in the first match, he does need a break ......

Posted by satish619chandar on (July 25, 2012, 3:28 GMT)

Nothing wrong in trying out something which might produce good results.. Please bring in Finn in place of Bopara and play Prior at 6.. Bresnan, Broad have done better with bat in last few games than the no.6 no matter who he is.. Finn by the way is in form of his life.. If he isn't included, it would be just a a waste of talent.. I am not sure what is stopping England from removing a non performing No.6 batter to include guy in best form though a bowler.. Especially when they have cover in terms of Prior, Bresnan, Borad and even Swann..

Posted by kensohatter on (July 25, 2012, 2:38 GMT)

In my opinion I would promote Prior to 6, play Bresnan and then include Finn or Tremlett with Bopara the one to miss out. This would allow 5 bowlers whilst still maintaining enough batting. SA will obviously go in unchanged given their middle order did not even get a chance to do anything... but therein lies a problem cause if england punches through the top with the new ball rudolph, develliers and duminy look ripe for the taking.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 25, 2012, 2:35 GMT)

While I don't see him as a panacea, I agree that Finn should play. Bresnan has had some good result no doubt and it is tough on him to be dropped, but I just think that England need the variation of Finn's extra pace. He's close to the fastest international bowler going so, on the unresponsive Oval track, that may have been just what England need to find a chink or two in the SA batting and then all bowlers may have been more successful. Of course, it may not have happened that way but we really need to find out. Most England watchers agree that Finn is destined to be a star and he has gained significantly more control than he had when he was dropped in Australia so I think this is the right time. I do agree that Broad is a bit of a worry too. He does seem to have lost a bit of pace recently and most of us thought it would come back in time but it just hasn't. Not sure what's up there. He could be a candidate to make way for Finn but Bresnan's pace seems to have dropped a bit too.

Posted by pommyadders on (July 25, 2012, 2:26 GMT)

@J.G.1. Spot on mate. Can not understand why all this talk is about a decision between Finn and Bresnan?? Finn must play, he is way to good a prospect to be continually carrying the drinks. But how can you drop Bresnan?? a bloke that takes his wickets @28 and has a batting average of 39. Most teams in the world would kill for such a player. Surely after 2 days in the field a 5th bowling option must look like a decent idea??? Bopara is the the 4th No 6 bat Eng have tried since Collingwood and they've all been hopeless........this is a no brainer for mine.

Posted by unregisteredalien on (July 25, 2012, 0:28 GMT)

I think Henrik nails it re Broad and KP. Unfortunately for Eng, their selectors seem to view Broad more or less as the Aus selectors regard Mitchell Johnson. KP must be on incredibly thin ice by now, though.

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

play 5 bowlers at Headingley. Removing a "Batsman" like Bopara won't cost the side anything. with only 4 bowlers you risk the problem of having 2 bowlers having a really bad day, that's half the attack useless. Can't afford that against a team like SA. Perhaps it's time to drop Bresnan, we were told he was the specialist seamer for flat wickets, erm, possibly not so after what we saw here.

Then make it absolutely clear to certain higher-order batsmen they need to stick around and make big scores, not give their wickets away.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2012, 22:05 GMT)

england got 2 front line pace bowlers in finn and tremlett what happen to dem well if they not south africa will crush dem with there powerfull batting and bowling lets see who really d # test come on englishmen lets see a competitive test series

Posted by J.G.1 on (July 24, 2012, 21:30 GMT)

Surely Andy Flower has the wisdom to choose both, Brenan and Finn. Bresenan's test average shows him to be the equal of Ravi, and a promotion one spot would not hurt Matt Prior. Meanwhile, Finn could then drop in, and add yet more power to the attack!

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 24, 2012, 21:28 GMT)

Finn could play, and it no doubt a good prospect, but his record isnt stellar so don't expect it to patch up the gaping holes in this side. Face it guys the talent is wafer thin in England. What are you gonna do about that spinner? Got less spin than Dan Vettori, and of course has none of his variations. Tahir a class above.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2012, 21:09 GMT)

England have two problem players - Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad. Can be absolutely outstanding when things go their way, but awful when they don't. Over the past years, how many of Englands poor performances have happened to coincide with Pietersen playing his natural, irresponsible game. He's a showman, not a professional cricketer in the sense that he does not adapt his style of play to the demands of the situation. Remember Headingley 2008? 4-4-1 over 4-W... Broad is inconsistent and seems to think and England cap is his by right and doesn't always show up for work. Both these players need a swift 'un up the backside, so demote KP to five and let Broad carry the drinks for the rest of the series. Rest Swann with his shoulder niggle too. If Anderson, Finn, Bresnan (why not Chapple?), Bopara and Monty are in, the batters will realise it's up to them to do their job as there is not much tail-wiggling to be expected - especially against this SA attack.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (July 24, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

@Dhirajlal Patel - Great flops you mean, right?

Posted by cric-maestro on (July 24, 2012, 20:26 GMT)

@5wombats: Let me get this straight.. everyone agrees that Eng are yet to prove themselves in Subcontinent (its been ages now , they havnt won anything there)..The last major win Outside England was Ashes some 2-3 years ago.. The only thing favoring ur team was home conditions which also has backfired in this case...wait for scenario post series in india.. eng wont be in top 4 ,, leave alone the top spot... As for the ODIs ,leave all the bilateral series(who remembers them) i have a ques first... How many times have u won the WC??..never..but u invented the game right..and yet u still have never come close to know how it feels like to be champions.. very sad.. The reality is that this team has been able to cling on No. 1 ranking somehow..that too for 12 months only and u people started thinking that its a great team (thanks to ur media).. Big LOL.. and with Sir Samit Patel and Lord Ravinder Bopara in ur ranks... Ur wait will be over in 2015.. again Big LOL...

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (July 24, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

ENGLAND need to prepare a GREENER track and go for broke.

Posted by threeslipsandagully on (July 24, 2012, 20:12 GMT)

@SurlyCynic "Journeyman" Swann (who's only played for two counties in his entire career, by the way) bats number ten; I have no idea why you're criticising a tailender for his batting prowess. "County trundler" Broad bowls quicker than Bresnan. I can understand why someone would rather see Bresnan dropped than Broad; Broad is a far more established member of the England attack and Bresnan is a similar bowler to James Anderson. Finn's pace and bounce has the potential to trouble a very strong South African top order and offer some variation in the quick bowling.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

England are not good enough to be ranked No.1 in test cricket. I can understand even the best of teams struggling in unfamiliar conditions at times. But a 3-0 whitewash in UAE against Pakistan and only managing a 1-1 draw against Sri Lanka recently are below par performances that cannot be associated with a No. 1 ranked team. England became No. 1 mainly on the strength of winning several home series. They will definitely loose the No.1 ranking soon and will slip down further when they finish test series against India later this year.

Posted by Ayubowan on (July 24, 2012, 19:56 GMT)

England need a bit of consistency with Bopsy. Eoin Morgan was never a Test player.

Posted by Ayubowan on (July 24, 2012, 19:55 GMT)

Finny gets the step motherly treatment by the ECB.

Posted by CaptainKool on (July 24, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

I would drop Broad for Finn.

Posted by Tjoeps on (July 24, 2012, 19:26 GMT)

As always a very clear and to the point analysis from Sir Geoffrey, I just don't miss Bowl @ Boyce, your in site into all things cricket is a joy to listen to! After day one, England got complacent, they thought if they just show up, it will be good enough, the Saffers were nowhere on Thursday, but they came out Friday as a different team, and they could walked on water if that was needed... I cannot wait for the 2nd, it will be very interesting to see if they can keep the intensity going and if England can bounce back.... Only 3 Tests.... What a waste! From a very happy Saffer!

Posted by   on (July 24, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

what about dropping the over rated broad??? Bresnan is a better batsman

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 24, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

I don't know about this... I'm really struggling with the balance of England's side. I'm beginning to swing towards JG's idea of 5-1-5. I do like Bopara, and it's a real shame for him to be benched, but I've always said it's the 20 wickets that wins a test match. Therefore, maybe it's time to give this number 6 position the heave-ho, and go for a 5-1-5 team and see what happens. I like Bresnan, and would keep him in the team on the promise that he focuses on the bowling. Anything else is just a bonus...

Posted by SurlyCynic on (July 24, 2012, 18:55 GMT)

What about journeyman Swann, who bottles it with the bat against quick bowling, and county trundler Broad? Bresnan is average but at least he tried. Big problems for England.

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (July 24, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

Eh up Geoffrey! Calling it as it is, that there them Englands bowling attack probably needs a new lick of paint about now. But forget t'bowling lad, it's the batting that's giving nowt right now. The English middle order needs to man up in times of trouble and batten down t'hatches, when their backsides are against t'wall. And someone tell 'em that they can't play t'sweep shot for nowt. English batters can't sweep and they shouldn't even bother. It's like russian roulette when they get the brushes out, a gamble. Don't bother, play straight in the V, lads, elbows back t'bowler, down t'ground.

Posted by Nampally on (July 24, 2012, 18:36 GMT)

Finn is the best fast bowler England has presently. Playing without Finn makes the English bowling look ordinary especially on dead wickets like it was in the Oval. Finn did very well on the Indian wickets too. I agree 100% eith Boycott. I felt the England bowling was lacking in variety to be all purpose type like SA bowling. Panesar or Patel is the other bowler worth trying. England batsmen also need to be have the same mental approach as the SA batsmen had - ie. I will not give my wicket away. Unless that approach exists England cannopt beat Kirsten's SA. Kirsten instilled discipline even in the Indian team which helped them to reach #1 Test status & ODI world Cup winners. This SA team under Kirsten will be formidable & England are up for a much tougher time than against India, SL or WI teams.So England need to bring both strong players + tough mental attitude to avoid being swept away by SA. Good Luck in the second test.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (July 24, 2012, 18:31 GMT)

I like Finn. Fast, more accurate than he used to be and a really nice bloke. #FinnforEngland!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 24, 2012, 18:30 GMT)

Bopara and Finn ate the Aussie for breakfast. After all, Australia aren't very good, and England remain, as they have been for the last four years streets ahead of them, it's still a plus in any contest involving England. Finn should play, after Bres had his shoulder surgery he hasn't been the same bowler who destroyed the Aussies in their own back yard last year. Bopara's innings in the recent ODI series warrant him a place in team.

Posted by   on (July 24, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

Is Great Indian Team ,which was Humiliated by both ENGLAND & AUSTRALIA only a few months ago , has any thing to learn from astounding South AFRICAN victory ?

Posted by   on (July 24, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

Why not leave out Broad, who looked like a shell of himself?

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