South Africa in England 2012 July 26, 2012

We didn't play like No. 1 - Anderson

ESPNcricinfo staff
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James Anderson, the England fast bowler, has admitted the pressure that comes with defending their No. 1 Test status is something the team is still "coming to terms with".

England lost by an innings at The Oval in the first Test of their series against South Africa, which will decide the top ranking. After overtaking India during last summer's 4-0 whitewashing, England have now lost five of their last nine Tests and although a draw against South Africa will keep them at No. 1, their tenure has been far from convincing.

England only managed to take two wickets in 189 overs at The Oval, whilst being bowled out twice, with the difference between runs per wicket for each side the biggest in Test history. South Africa can seal the series with victory in the second Test at Headingley, starting on August 2, but Anderson said England will strive to make sure their performance matches up to what is expected of the top team in Tests.

"When you're trying to become number one in the world, you're trying to chase everyone else down and now we're the ones being chased," Anderson told the Evening Standard. "So it's a different position we're in and maybe we've not quite come to terms with that yet.

"It's a different challenge that comes with different pressures. People expect you to win and to play well every week and, in reality, that's not going to happen. You're going to have days or weeks where you're not quite on top of your game and unfortunately, this was one of those weeks. We'll just have to make sure we come back strongly.

"It was our goal for a number of years to get to the top of the rankings and when you get there, you want to stay there. We know if we lose the series, we won't stay there. People expect you to play as the number one team in the world and we didn't do that this week."

Anderson said that England's batsmen could learn from the performances of Jacques Kallies, who scored an unbeaten 182, and Hashim Amla, whose triple-hundred was the first in Tests by a South African. The bowlers would also attempt to replicate the "intent and aggression" shown by South Africa's attack.

"We're a very good unit when we're aggressive and in batsmen's faces and we probably didn't do that as well as we could, even if it's hard to be aggressive when you're bowling at two guys who have scored hundreds," Anderson said.

Ian Bell has spoken of the need for England's players to discuss what went wrong during the first Test and Anderson reiterated that the squad would be frank with each other in trying to improve their showing in Leeds.

"We're an open and honest dressing room and we're critical of each other, constructively," he said. "After a game like that, everyone is encouraged to speak their mind and there is no bullshit.

"It's something Andy Flower brought in when he became coach and it's something that's helped us improve. Andy encourages everyone to speak, whether they have played one Test or 100. When I started playing, that wasn't the case. There would be a few senior voices in the dressing room and that would be it, and maybe that's why we weren't as successful then.

"Now the honesty we have and the respect we have for each other means that when someone speaks, everyone listens, no matter who they are. We don't sit there for hours talking drivel. It could be 10 minutes, it could be half an hour but then it's done. You move on and you focus on what you can do better at Headingley."

England have announced ahead of the second Test that the fast bowlers Steven Finn and Graham Onions will be available for Middlesex and Durham, respectively, in their Championship matches starting on Friday. Ravi Bopara, the current incumbent at No. 6, can play for Essex against Worcestershire in the CB40 on Sunday, the same day that England will name their squad for Headingley.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 29, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    @reality_check27 on (July 29 2012, 08:25 AM GMT) 1992 ? That's a desperately long time ago.10/10 for efforts there - not sure re the relevance though

  • POSTED BY raj_24 on | July 29, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    @Realitycheck27

    It is you who needs the a good REALITY CHECK

    England WON TEST Series in Pakistan in 2000-01

    ENGLAND won TEST Series 2-1 in SL in 2001 after losing 1st test due to extremely poor umpiring in favour of sl.

    SL and PAk are part of Subcontinent unless it has changed overnight

    Check facts before posting

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    any team playing at home wins these days . winning away against a bits and pieces west indies team and drawing against south africans (you have to thank rain gods for that) and winning against the weakest aussies team of all time and thrashing an injury prone and low on morale indian team is no way to get to the top. whats wrong with this ranking system? england has to face the inevitable now. they are the worst team till date to be the no.1 test side. south africa are a more worthy of that tag. and its not over for england. they have a thrashing waiting for them in india. i totally pity them. and wait t20 world cup in srilanka they wont even win against bangladesh. what a pathetic excuse of a team.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    To all you sub-continental and antipodean gainsayers I say this... go and check the ICC Test Rankings, then come back and tell us that England are not No.1. As Anderson said, they didn't play like the No.1 side, in this last test, nor did they against Pakistan or, to a certain extent against Sri Lanka, but they had played sufficiently well in the past to not let those results upest the rankings. The rankings which are incidentally calculated using the same criteria for all teams. We all know the reasons why the aforementioned supporters are like they are... it's trying to gain some rather petty revenge after the thrashings we gave you last time we met. Well carry on with your vendetta.. it won't change the facts.. And the fact is that until and if England lose this series, they are still numero uno... Sticks in the craw of some of you I know... but tough. Read it and weep...

  • POSTED BY reality_check27 on | July 29, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    coomon guys let 5wombats enjoy this it was so unbelievable for him that his team beat india 4-0 .but here is something for u 5wombats in 1992 we beat engalnd witewash when they cam to india and since then afetr nearly 18 years england finally beat us in england that was this series where we lost 4-0 but we beat england in england 1-0 in 2007 so why dont u stop and check out stats before u write anything as far as england go u have only managed to beat bangladesh in 18 years on subcontinent that is test series what does that tell u about engalnd please publish crickinfo

  • POSTED BY SICHO on | July 29, 2012, 8:07 GMT

    @Mankappan Hu. You've got to be kidding me, England couldn't reach 250 on their 2nd innings on a less swinging pitch and yet you claim they could reach 350 twice on a more swinging pitch? Clearly you haven't seen what SA bowlers could do on a swinging pitch. Remember Aus 47 all out? Conditions= swinging. Remember NZ 5-0 middle order collapse? Conditions= swinging. Never underestimate SA bowlers on swinging conditions.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 29, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    @ Mankappan Hu on (July 29 2012, 06:27 AM GMT) I just feel that Eng batsmen are in the same place they were in UAE where you just wouldn't expect them to chase any sort of score dowm. Hope I'm proved wrong. Also hope our bowlers are not too affected by how the 1st test went.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    JG2704-we both are essentially stating the same.let me make it clear.when i mean "swing bowl" 350 would be a match winning score there.with our deep batting resources + trott/Cook/Kp?bell/prior we have a better chance of reaching there twice.esp more than SA IF we can get amla and Kallis out together so that they cant put on a partnership.(obviously i count on our bowlers here)..Kallis doesnt have a great record when the bowl swings around(till now) and our best and ONLY bet is to go for swing friendly conditions.Agreed it would suit the Saffers as well but we have seen the limitations of our side/proficiency of the opponents.If the opponents were Inida Bell and Prior would have scored 100s and saved the match on final day and prior would have been the new Gily(he s still the best wik-bat)BUT steyn is equivalent to WI greats and can take wickets on concrete.hope you get my point...likewise they have gems in their batting lineup as well..pls publish..

  • POSTED BY jezzastyles on | July 29, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    @thecheechman - SA haven't lost an away series in 6-years, that's very impressive, but only serves to highlight their home-form - had they maintained a similar level of excellence at home, then they would be undisputed #1 side - they aren't. "Special" teams also have a habit of inflicting heavy defeats or whitewashes against the opposition, especially on their home soil - and yes, I'm talking about the more competitive teams ranked 2-5 - SA clearly haven't achieved this. They may well have the potential to develop into a "special" side - only time will tell. Unfortunately for SA (and #2 AUS), ENG have been decisively winning series over the last 3-years, and the "decline" has only begun since they secured the #1 ranking. If SA wrest it away from them by winning this series, then you'll be the much-deserved #1 ranked side. Good luck to both teams & looking forward to 2nd Test.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | July 29, 2012, 3:08 GMT

    Ratings....you guys are off your collective heads. Eng are no.1 because they deserve to be. If SA beat us they deserve it. SA haven't beaten a top 4 side since Gengis Khan and their actual last 3 years has been less than dominant. Eng dont travel that well (shock) but at least we travel, I read somewhere that Ind are not coming out of the sub-cont for over 2 years!!!!!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 29, 2012, 19:51 GMT

    @reality_check27 on (July 29 2012, 08:25 AM GMT) 1992 ? That's a desperately long time ago.10/10 for efforts there - not sure re the relevance though

  • POSTED BY raj_24 on | July 29, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    @Realitycheck27

    It is you who needs the a good REALITY CHECK

    England WON TEST Series in Pakistan in 2000-01

    ENGLAND won TEST Series 2-1 in SL in 2001 after losing 1st test due to extremely poor umpiring in favour of sl.

    SL and PAk are part of Subcontinent unless it has changed overnight

    Check facts before posting

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    any team playing at home wins these days . winning away against a bits and pieces west indies team and drawing against south africans (you have to thank rain gods for that) and winning against the weakest aussies team of all time and thrashing an injury prone and low on morale indian team is no way to get to the top. whats wrong with this ranking system? england has to face the inevitable now. they are the worst team till date to be the no.1 test side. south africa are a more worthy of that tag. and its not over for england. they have a thrashing waiting for them in india. i totally pity them. and wait t20 world cup in srilanka they wont even win against bangladesh. what a pathetic excuse of a team.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    To all you sub-continental and antipodean gainsayers I say this... go and check the ICC Test Rankings, then come back and tell us that England are not No.1. As Anderson said, they didn't play like the No.1 side, in this last test, nor did they against Pakistan or, to a certain extent against Sri Lanka, but they had played sufficiently well in the past to not let those results upest the rankings. The rankings which are incidentally calculated using the same criteria for all teams. We all know the reasons why the aforementioned supporters are like they are... it's trying to gain some rather petty revenge after the thrashings we gave you last time we met. Well carry on with your vendetta.. it won't change the facts.. And the fact is that until and if England lose this series, they are still numero uno... Sticks in the craw of some of you I know... but tough. Read it and weep...

  • POSTED BY reality_check27 on | July 29, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    coomon guys let 5wombats enjoy this it was so unbelievable for him that his team beat india 4-0 .but here is something for u 5wombats in 1992 we beat engalnd witewash when they cam to india and since then afetr nearly 18 years england finally beat us in england that was this series where we lost 4-0 but we beat england in england 1-0 in 2007 so why dont u stop and check out stats before u write anything as far as england go u have only managed to beat bangladesh in 18 years on subcontinent that is test series what does that tell u about engalnd please publish crickinfo

  • POSTED BY SICHO on | July 29, 2012, 8:07 GMT

    @Mankappan Hu. You've got to be kidding me, England couldn't reach 250 on their 2nd innings on a less swinging pitch and yet you claim they could reach 350 twice on a more swinging pitch? Clearly you haven't seen what SA bowlers could do on a swinging pitch. Remember Aus 47 all out? Conditions= swinging. Remember NZ 5-0 middle order collapse? Conditions= swinging. Never underestimate SA bowlers on swinging conditions.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 29, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    @ Mankappan Hu on (July 29 2012, 06:27 AM GMT) I just feel that Eng batsmen are in the same place they were in UAE where you just wouldn't expect them to chase any sort of score dowm. Hope I'm proved wrong. Also hope our bowlers are not too affected by how the 1st test went.

  • POSTED BY on | July 29, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    JG2704-we both are essentially stating the same.let me make it clear.when i mean "swing bowl" 350 would be a match winning score there.with our deep batting resources + trott/Cook/Kp?bell/prior we have a better chance of reaching there twice.esp more than SA IF we can get amla and Kallis out together so that they cant put on a partnership.(obviously i count on our bowlers here)..Kallis doesnt have a great record when the bowl swings around(till now) and our best and ONLY bet is to go for swing friendly conditions.Agreed it would suit the Saffers as well but we have seen the limitations of our side/proficiency of the opponents.If the opponents were Inida Bell and Prior would have scored 100s and saved the match on final day and prior would have been the new Gily(he s still the best wik-bat)BUT steyn is equivalent to WI greats and can take wickets on concrete.hope you get my point...likewise they have gems in their batting lineup as well..pls publish..

  • POSTED BY jezzastyles on | July 29, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    @thecheechman - SA haven't lost an away series in 6-years, that's very impressive, but only serves to highlight their home-form - had they maintained a similar level of excellence at home, then they would be undisputed #1 side - they aren't. "Special" teams also have a habit of inflicting heavy defeats or whitewashes against the opposition, especially on their home soil - and yes, I'm talking about the more competitive teams ranked 2-5 - SA clearly haven't achieved this. They may well have the potential to develop into a "special" side - only time will tell. Unfortunately for SA (and #2 AUS), ENG have been decisively winning series over the last 3-years, and the "decline" has only begun since they secured the #1 ranking. If SA wrest it away from them by winning this series, then you'll be the much-deserved #1 ranked side. Good luck to both teams & looking forward to 2nd Test.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | July 29, 2012, 3:08 GMT

    Ratings....you guys are off your collective heads. Eng are no.1 because they deserve to be. If SA beat us they deserve it. SA haven't beaten a top 4 side since Gengis Khan and their actual last 3 years has been less than dominant. Eng dont travel that well (shock) but at least we travel, I read somewhere that Ind are not coming out of the sub-cont for over 2 years!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | July 29, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    @Shashank Pathak- you totally forget England who were number 2 in the world from August 2004 til November 2005, and who actually defeated the number one side in that period.

  • POSTED BY on | July 28, 2012, 21:26 GMT

    Truth be told, there has been only one #1 team in past decade or so and that has been Australia. And if anyone came even close to "troubling" mighty Australians that was team built by Ganguly and to lesser extent SA of that time. Rest all is petty statistics. Of course when you will compare snails (current teams) howsoever slow they might be there ought to be a #1 racer. Though I personally feel SA deserved that spot more than India or England.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 28, 2012, 20:02 GMT

    @thecheechman on (July 28 2012, 13:32 PM GMT) To be honest I don't think they prepared a flat track as a tactical thing. Because of the weather , it was the only sort of wicket they could prepare and they probably did well to prepare that.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 28, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    @Mankappan Hu on (July 28 2012, 11:18 AM GMT) I half agree with your post. However SA still have AB below the batsmen you mentioned. They have a great bowling line up but it can be got at. I'm just not sure we have the characters throughout our batting line up right now to score well vs SA. I's say - even despite the 600+-2 - that our bowlers have a better chance of bowling SA out cheaper than our batsmen have of posting a big score

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 28, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    @Walter Aussems on (July 28 2012, 08:41 AM GMT) Did I say England hadn't lost tests at home? My point was to a poster who implied that the only reason they weren't already 1 was because of the rain in NZ so I was just pointing out that SA must also take some responsibility for their ranking from their onfield results

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 28, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    @SICHO on (July 28 2012, 03:33 AM GMT) Indeed it was , but unless I've overlooked something it was the last time SA played in SL so it is totally relevant

  • POSTED BY screamingeagle on | July 28, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    GL with the surgery wombats. However, I will as always, stick to my position that England will slide back down the rankings, as India did. They are not a true No.1, IMHO. SA probably is the best at the moment, but the ranking will keep changing in the next few years. And yes, 4-0 does hurt, as it should. I am sure the many drubbings at Aussie hands did hurt you lot in the last decade as well. :P

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | July 28, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    Wow. Some harsh comments here. Eng played poorly (it happens), did we play like the no.1 team...no or course not. I for one am very dissapointed by the result and we should of forced a draw at least. We have needed to find a way to get Finn into our side for a while now and with Broad of the boil (understatement) it gives him a chance. But dont rule us out yet 1 down 2 more to go. Most cricket fans agree that all teams are very close right now, thats what makes it so interesting to watch. Bring on game 2 cmon Eng!!!

  • POSTED BY thecheechman on | July 28, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    Whilst I agree with the ratings over the three year period, we also need to look at the history, SA have not lost abroad in 6 years, that in itself is an achievement. England were lucky to draw against the proteas in SA. They lost the last series against the Proteas, Whilst I agree the Proteas have in the past lost or drawn series that they should have won. I do believe that this is a special Protea squad, how special only time will tell. The most telling aspect is that the South Africans have higher rankings by both batsmen and bowlers. I do find it funny that if England do prepare a belter of a wicket for Leeds, that they underestimate the Protea bowlers. If it is swinging, it will actually suit the Proteas more.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | July 28, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    @5Wombats: Make sure they don't take away your attitude:) Always good value! All the best for the op.

  • POSTED BY on | July 28, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    Since a lot has already been posted here about No:1,England,SA etc i feel its fair to raise a different but MOST important point.right now most posters here seem to feel that SA are the real world beaters.but please remember that a side's real weakness is usually hidden when the team wins and whenever the weakness is exposed,they seem to be mere mortals just like any other side.SA have two batting gems in Amla and Kallis and magnificent bat in Smith BUT if you can rip through that top order and get a quick3/4 wickets before lunch without either Amla or Kallis at the crease will the rest of the batting from AB till Steyn stand the test.i dont think so.eng should prepare swing bowls like the ones they used against Ind lat year if they are to have any chance of winning.DONT BE SCARED OF SA BOWLING.their bowling is anyway better try to catch their batsmen with their pants down and we may have a chance...esp since we bat deeper... pls publish

  • POSTED BY Sanj747 on | July 28, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Hammond England losing 3 nil to Pakistan is how a number 1 team performs is it. Yes the ICC rankings are not accurate. Number 1 teams don't lose series in a whitewash except for England and India.

  • POSTED BY indiarox4ever on | July 28, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    James Anderson the main strike bowler (current Average 30.5) for the No-1 test team which barely contained the WI team, drew with Sri Lanka and got a 3-0 pounding from Pakistan says it all. The hype has been incredible. Like India, their slide will not stop here as there future engagements will ensure that everyone below them will encash their present No-1 status to gain valuable points and probably leapfrog them as continue their downward slide. I get this very strong feeling that from here on, James Anderson's age ( currently 30) and average will be the same till he retires. Spare him the agony please. Creating an artificial cloud that follows him around might help though.

  • POSTED BY on | July 28, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    @JG2704 England has also lost tests at home. So that puts them in the same boat as youre putting SA in.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | July 28, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    @meety surgery not an excuse... LOL ! :-) 3 though. Hoping I'll dream of batting in the Australian sunshine.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 28, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    @Pietie_Pietie on (July 27 2012, 10:10 AM GMT) And also because they haven't beaten a top 4 side in a number of years and because they lost tests in the previous 2 HOME series vs SL and Australia or am I wrong here? Please publish

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 28, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    @5wombats on (July 27 2012, 21:01 PM GMT) Hope it's not too serious and it goes ok for you. Unlike some you were here when we were WWed in the India ODI series and UAE tests so I know you're not fairweather. TBH the way things are going I wonder about it all myself.I had a debate with 2 lovely guys the other day where one was asking me to explain why our bowling was so poor and when I said that the conditions were poor for bowling I get the "giving excuses" tag labelled at me.All the best

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | July 28, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    @5Wombats... Hope nothing serious :) - good luck & expect you back soon... As a neutral I will try to call a "spade a spade" in your absence...

  • POSTED BY SICHO on | July 28, 2012, 3:33 GMT

    @JG2704. SA in SL(0-2), is that the tour of 2006? If it is, then you can't compare using results from 6 or 7 years. That was a long time ago.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | July 28, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    @5wombats. Don't let a little surgery slow you down, Keep us posted.

  • POSTED BY IndiaRulesEverybody on | July 28, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    Anderson the real No.1 team played like the No.1 team. The pretenders played like .. well .. pretenders.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | July 27, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    @5wombats - surgery is not an excuse. You are not dedicated enuff! Best of luck. Having it now whilst Eng is still #1 is good timing! These comments are based on minor surgery, otherwise just refer to sentence #3!

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | July 27, 2012, 22:37 GMT

    @Chris_P - We're not bagging the Aussies. Got our work cut out keeping posters from a certain country at bay. PS We like your posts!

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | July 27, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    Re: Tremlett. I recall Shane Warne returning to Australia after his first stint with Hampshire & he was going on & on about the potential a guy called Tremlett had. I saw him in the last Ashes & the hype is justified, What a great back-up to have.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | July 27, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    @5Wombats. We're not all in the same boat down here! I got no problem with the rankings, & although we lost the one dayers, it didn't do depress me too much, much like I didn't get excited by the 6-1 win down here. To me they are games for entertainment, tests count. And yes, although it rankled the Kiwis beating us, they fully deserved it & bowled perfectly to the conditions. Actually, I am getting all itchy to play, pre-season practice starts in 2 more weekends!

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | July 27, 2012, 21:08 GMT

    @Mo Sdc Khan on (July 26 2012, 12:37 PM GMT) You state: "I think its time to wake up and smell the coffee and admit that England are and always will be a mid table team". Rubbish. Didn't you notice England beating Australia in Australia 3-1 in The Ashes 18 months ago -? No, probably not. And, No - Australia is not in England. We think its time for fans of a certain country to wake up and smell the whitewash and admit that the 4-0 still hurts....but obviously not enough. One win by South Africa over England and india goes crazy. Get over yourselves. You shoot, we bite back.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | July 27, 2012, 21:01 GMT

    @JG2704. Got surgery, so will be off-line for a while. Wouldn't want anyone to think wombats were hiding now would I....! Good luck with this lot!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 27, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    @Tornado1 on (July 27 2012, 06:58 AM GMT) So by the same token if SA are being held at home by the same Indian side that Australia and India are beating 4-0 then that makes no difference. Also (and I know they are likely to beat Eng - possibly by WW in this series) but when was the last time SA beat a top 4 ranked side home or away. Also let's compare records in sub continent from the last time SA/Eng and Aus played there - SA in SL 0-2 , in India 1-1 , in UAE 0-0 (OVERALL 1-3) . Aus in SL 1-0 , in India 0-2 , vs Pak in UAE/SL 3-0 (overall 4-2) Eng in India 0-1 , in SL 1-1 , in UAE 0-3 (overall 1-4) so if we're going by SC as a yardstick SA are only slightly better than Eng but vastly inferior to Australia. BTW it isn't any country's media which makes the team number 1 - all they do is milk it when they are 1

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 27, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    @Meety on (July 27 2012, 12:53 PM GMT) Tremlett has only just started playing again after injury. Agree he is quality but Finn and Onions have done well in their county side and Tremlett had a very ineffective 1st test in UAE

  • POSTED BY kaidranzer on | July 27, 2012, 18:02 GMT

    @Meety: You forget the 3-0 whitewash in UAE. Recent trends suggest South Africa have lost a bit of steam after dominating the first test of a series while England have always found a way to come back strongly. Nonetheless, it's hard to see England maintaining their position at the top after the end of the series.

  • POSTED BY champ1388 on | July 27, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    Anderson and England both would have got used to losing by now. And the trend will continue in next two tst matches and in India.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | July 27, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    @threeslipsandagully - mate, you are talking about margins. If you look at statistics (as opposed to the margin), winning a test match with the loss of only two wickets is extremely rare. Superficially you'd say a side that won by an innings & 12 runs, means the side that won was TWICE as good as their opponets as they only had to bat once, (assuming they were bowled out!). However a side that loses only 2 wickets & wins by an innings - is in some ways 10 times better than their opposition - & it has only been done 3 times in Test history & barring Bangladesh, hasn't been done in about 40yrs. England can bounce back - but I reckon you need to realise that this is ultimately a flogging & will be a refernce point for sledging for years to come, a bit like the number 47 is for Oz atm! It's embarrassing, but as the old saying goes - if it doesn't kill you....... @ kaidranzer - fair call EXCEPT, that was after 2 games, that's enuff for a dodgy trend, not ONE game. Wait til after 2nd Test!

  • POSTED BY jezzastyles on | July 27, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    RandyOZ - I'm a passionate Aussie supporter, but do you really have to alienate EVERY other cricketing nation with proclomations that we're the best of all-time. Certainly, the inimititable DG Bradman is the GREATEST of all-time (barring another cricket-genetic anomaly popping up in the near future, and sorry, Tendulkar ain't on the same plane of existence as THE DON, look at the stats), but at the end of the day we do well to compete given a population of 23-million, we're punching well above our weight. NZ and WI are absolute sporting FREAKS given their measly populations in comparison - keep the nationalistic rhetoric to a minimum. I want to see a resurgence in WI cricket - they'll test every nation, as long as they can attract their youth to this GREATEST of games. And hopefully Bangladesh will continue to develop in the next 10-years or so, given their population base they should be able to unearth more than a few talented cricketers. We compete in a global game now!!

  • POSTED BY Meety on | July 27, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    @baz72notout - i like your comment. I'm glad you mentioned Tremlett, as I think he is quality & appears to be the forgotten man atm - I note he hasn't played since the 14th - so not sure if injured or scheduling. IMO - the best England line up to take on the poms is the one that beat Oz - Tremlett, Anderson & Bresnan. Whether it is a 5-man attack + Finn is debatable although as England are behind, I say what the heck!

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | July 27, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    Should have said no seam movement to help them. There may be swing if it's overcast. Again though, not Yorkshire's problem if there isn't

  • POSTED BY anuradha_d on | July 27, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    I think KP's annoucement to denoucne some of test cricket against NZ next year seeking an IPL window.....sent shock waves in English cricket........one of the reasons for the debacle....wonder why there is deafening sillence about this KP-wanting-IPL_issue on CI

  • POSTED BY on | July 27, 2012, 10:59 GMT

    I recall the comments made in the England media about how great England are when they washed out India last summer. I was skeptical when the English media 7 even some critics like Boycott,& players like Swann made disparaging comments on India. They over rated their team and the first damage to their Ego was when they were thrashed 5-0 in the ODI series immediately in India. Then followed the white wash to Pakistan in the UAE. Therefore my comments to modern teams are 1. Do not under rate any of the top 6 teams playing test cricket now. Any team can beat any team on their day. SA played brilliantly in the 1st Test but they have to prove consistently over a period of 5 years. Do not forget, the same set of bowlers were thrashed by Sewag in a test in India with the fastest test triple century. Let us see whether they can repeat their dominance over India in a test series this winter in India. I expect, they would be overwhelmed in India.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | July 27, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    England unfortnately will never escape the fact that Australia is the better cricketing nation, in fact Oz is the best of all time. They will never get past this hence why they harp on about being number 1 despite realistically being ranked 4th.

  • POSTED BY Pietie_Pietie on | July 27, 2012, 10:10 GMT

    Do not forget that England went into this series as #1 only as a result of inclement weather preventing SA from doing a 3-0 on New Zealand earlier this year. Further, over the past 4 years, England has lost against SA in England and only managed a draw against SA in SA. Not sure how the stats got them to stay at #1 for this period...

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | July 27, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    England will get no help from the Headingley pitch. We (Yorkshire) want a full five day match to maximise profits. If England can't take wickets when there's no swing to help them then so be it. It's their problem not ours. The Yorkshire board will be quite happy to see the same two batsmen bat for three days again if it means we get a full five days' cricket.

  • POSTED BY baz72notout on | July 27, 2012, 9:34 GMT

    Sometimes to stay number 1 you've got to look at the right horses for certain courses. Tremlett in Australia in 2010 was a good example. Currently SA present a different series of challenges to West Indies, India or Australia yet the same England XI that played these recent series was chosen. England need to revitalise their fast bowling resources after the Oval because their attack lacked venom. Without a fast bowling heir to Flintoff in the current line-up they may struggle to threaten a fantastic SA batting line-up. A pacier alternative to Bresnan/Broad is needed. Finn and/or Meaker should be given a chance at Headingley.

  • POSTED BY rukii on | July 27, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    Don't worry jimmy you will be free from the pressure being the no 1 after this series.

  • POSTED BY anver777 on | July 27, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    Beware SA !!!111 I believe wounded Eng Lions will bounce back strongly in the next match..... whatever !!! its a great sign of a thrilling series ahead !!!!

  • POSTED BY ifrakurshid on | July 27, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    As discussed seperately with arman kirmani actor in making and a keen cricketer inspired by salman khan in entertainment INDUSTRY the first test RESULT came as visulaised and even the performances of kallis, styen and hashim amla.I got lot of encouragement on those few paragraphs. England players were mentally up set because of their in house affairs and kp factor plus the amphrenensions of administraros involvING ALL PLAYERS discussed openly pave the way for poor alround performance of englishmen.They should bounce back because of two gifted qualities they fight up to end and they KNOW the pitiches and weather conditions BETTER THAN ANYBODY. But the chances are 40% still sa favourate 60% TO WIN FOR THE NEXT MATCH.

  • POSTED BY i_witnessed_2011 on | July 27, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    This no.1 tag is kind of "Beat Me" tag.In recent years teams became no.1 not only based on their performances but also based on the International schedule. So When you are no.1 not solely based on your performances (like aus was in 2000s) , you are bound to loose the tag either based on schedule or when you face quality team like SA. This is the best chance for SA to get the No1. tag. In my opinion If they get it , its purely based on their performance. (their schedules did little help here). and I hope they can stay longer there because they are the only team currently who truly deserves it.

  • POSTED BY guptahitesh4u on | July 27, 2012, 8:13 GMT

    The correct comment would have been " We didn't play like we play in home conditions"

  • POSTED BY on | July 27, 2012, 7:26 GMT

    @ nilankaraja Obviously Anderson performs exceptionally well against India (or sub-continent) teams in his backyard but when he comes in India he finds himself helpless unlike Zaheer who gets batsmen out even on flat tracks and help India win matches. yeah I didn't watch match. Was Anderson really swinging ball both ways ? Still he couldn't get SA batsmen out ?

  • POSTED BY teo. on | July 27, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Drama queen... if you play well, you will be at the top.. simple as that. The great Aus team didnt have a problem doing it.. Eng did not play particularly badly... their batting and ordinary bowling performance would win matches against WI, NZ, Bang.... but this is a Raging SA side at the moment... they have to play better than they ever have against the best touring side on the planet right now. Lets hope for a good series, and judge once its over..

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 27, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    @Chris_P - Many thanks there bud

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 27, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Re the Rankings - Australia - Some are surprised Aus are sandwiched between SA and Eng. Personally I think Clarke has done a wonderful job without the tools Ponting had. Since the Eng defeat they have gone unbeaten and trumped Engs performance in SL by winning ,beat Ind 4-0 (same as Eng) , beat WI 2-0 (away - same as Eng did at home) and came from behind to draw in SA. The 2 probs they've had are that they would not have got so many ranking points for beating India as Eng did as Ind were I think at 3 when Aus played them and they drew that series with NZ which I'm sure really rankles. For those who say Aus are not the side of old - correct. For those Eng fans who say that Eng will thrash Australia in the next Ashes , I urge you to look at both sides form since the last Ashes

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 27, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Re the rankings - SA - SA have been the hardest side to beat in a series , no question. But to me they have drawn too many series and many of those have been at home. They would be officially number 1 by now had they not dropped a test in either the SL or Aus recent series. There was also the misfortune of the weather (NZ) but we've all suffered under those circumstances. The other problem is that - until this series - SA have not beaten a top 4 ranked side in recent years and they've had home series vs Aus , Eng and India and drawn all 3. SA in the 1st test played the sort of cricket which should elevate them to number 1. We all know that on paper they have the best line up , but for whatever reason they've fallen just short before now

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 27, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Re the rankings - re England - I said before the start of the series that Eng/SA and Australia are all very close together. Eng got to number 1 , mostly helped by the points earned from Aus away and India 4-0 at home.They built up a significant lead because India were number 1 at the time and let's be honest despite the "home tigers label" no one had ever done that to India before. I know we get loads of comms saying injured India , hangover from WC etc , ageing players but those ageing players did not look particularly aged in the SA 1-1 away series 8-9 months earlier and they played a warm up series vs WI in between. I will admit though that since that time we have been somewhere in between mediocre and abysmal and deservedly lost a load of ranking points after UAE. If Eng do not level the series vs SA they relinquish their 1 spot and rightly so and if 3-0 Aus overtake us - again rightly so

  • POSTED BY joseyesu on | July 27, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    @yorkshirematt. A lion is a lion...what i mean here is Eng by ranking are called as lions(say no.1) but many knows they are not. It is same as Ind winning in ASIA matches and fail miserably in Aus, Eng.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | July 27, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    I would ask everyone to read Ali Fahad's comment here. I am utterly weary of the sniping that criss-crosses these threads. England can't play Test cricket well in sub-continental conditions (that includes the UAE because the conditions there are very similiar to the s-c) and sub-continental sides experience similar difficulties in England/ Australia. Then raise mr Ali Fahad's suggestion with your national cricket board. It is a welcome shaft of sunlight amid many angry stormy clouds!

  • POSTED BY Harvi62 on | July 27, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    England have an obsession about "No 1". It seems the they would like to change their name to "No 1 England, but the English media often said the ratings were academic when they weren't No 1. Furthermore, they have lost 5 out of 9 test matches since they attained this status. If it was me, I would underplay the No 1 tag, a it doesn't look like it will last very long!

  • POSTED BY kaidranzer on | July 27, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    @Hammond: After the first two tests of the "Indian 4-0 whitewash" series, almost everyone was pointing out that India didn't look like the No.1 team. They were No.1 till the end of the series, weren't they? Sanj747 and many others seem to be doing the same with England. And I agree with them. England doesn't look like the No.1 team and they will most probably slip from that position after the end of the series.

  • POSTED BY Tornado1 on | July 27, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    @no.1 is a joke seriously thanks to overlyhyped English as well as Indian media. Being whitewashed 4 months ago and now some serious humiliation by SA. Those who say everybody plays in their home are totally wrong, this current SA side is competitive in subcontinent as well as anywhere else in world.

  • POSTED BY Simoc on | July 27, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    It's strange that James Anderson is talking about being number 1 nation. He should be focused solely on removing SA batsmen from the crease frequently. How out of touch is Jonathon Agnew! England took two wickets out of twenty required and he blames the first test loss squarely on the batsman. 608 runs is enough to win many test matches but 2 wickets will never win any test.

  • POSTED BY veerakannadiga on | July 27, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    England has some sort of fascination with white washes. They either whitewash or get whitewashed. hmmm. point to ponder.

  • POSTED BY veerakannadiga on | July 27, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    the same thing happened to India. The pressure that comes with the #1, tag is too hot to handle.As the Indian Superstar Mr.Amitabh Bhachan always said," It is easy to become #1., but very difficult to stay there". Anyways, the days of a single country dominating world cricket are over. All the teams are in the "blow hot, blow cold" mode.Makes interesting viewing.AMEN.

  • POSTED BY on | July 27, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    The ICC rankings are useless until they add a 'home' or 'away' factor into the rankings calculations...currently there isn't any...it means England winning at home is equivalent to England winning in subcontinent....!!! I dont understand this stupid system...Every other team is winning at its home and losing in away series so its just a matter of cricket schedule of a team that might take it to no. 1 and might take it down to no. 4.

  • POSTED BY anoop3301 on | July 27, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    and neither are you no.1. you are not expected to play like one.

  • POSTED BY kevinpp24 on | July 27, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    Why everybody saying Eng only managed to drew in SL, isn't that a brilliant performance? What SA did there? Lost their last 2 series badly.  I'll agree Eng was poor in UAE and lost to Pak badly. Then again, what Pak did there? Again beaten by SL even with Ajmal in. Okay what did the best Sub-Continent team 'India' did in SL even when they were No.1 in tests only managed to drew the series, that's a poor performance considering SL is more like a second home to India. Apart from Aus nobody consistently do well in SL, and what Eng did was a brilliant performance considering we were sitting ducks against spin. Conclusion is everybody hates England and want it to loose, hell they never even appreciated us beating Aus in Aus, any team will take that day-in and day-out.

  • POSTED BY SICHO on | July 27, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    @nilankaraja. I agree with you, Anderson swung the ball both ways when it was still new(infact all four of them) but found no success because SA batsmen handled the swinging ball very well. Had it been weak WI(you can see how many times Anderson dismissed Pollard early on) or clueless India(Sehwag even bagged a pair during Eng-Ind series) he would've been called a best bowler at present(as if). My point is if Anderson is not successful with the new ball, all other seamers don't fire. Unless you're India and can't handle Bresnan's 125-128 kph bounce(remember his 5/48). If the seamers(Anderson actually) are not successful everyone pressurises Swann, and if he doesn't deliver it is the end of England.

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | July 27, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    @Sanj747- why don't you write to the ICC then and ask them to review their ranking criteria? Last time I looked England were still number 1.

  • POSTED BY Sanj747 on | July 27, 2012, 2:41 GMT

    James Anderson might you need reminding that you lost 3-0 to Pakistan, couldn't win in Sri Lanka only draw and now get a hometown hammering. You haven't been able to handel the presuure for a while. The gloating has worked against you. Quite seriously England is not the number 1 team in the world. Recent results clearly confirm this.

  • POSTED BY xylo on | July 27, 2012, 2:20 GMT

    wow... it has been so many days after the test, and people are still talking about having to "frankly discuss what went wrong"? Shouldn't that have happened by now?

  • POSTED BY nilb on | July 27, 2012, 1:40 GMT

    @Jindal Priyank You obvious didn't watch the match. Please at least watch highlights before commenting. The score board says 600/2 but England bowler particularly Anderson swung the ball both ways everytime they got the new ball. I agree Swann was useless. SA batsman are good enough to cope with the swinging ball and Anderson. If this was a Indian batting line-up the match will be over in 2 days and everyone will be talking about how well Anderson bowled.

  • POSTED BY Garp on | July 27, 2012, 1:34 GMT

    the batsmen stated out well enough and it should of been a defendable total except our bowlers were impotent. However history with South Africa in England tells us that any medium pace bowler will be pummeled, and no matter what ceicinfo or sky's pundits say a bowler who only can hit the mid 80's is a medium pace bowler. In 2008 when SA toured we only had 2 effective bowlers against them and both hit the 90's regularly (Harmisson and Flintoff). The only way we'll take 20 wickets of then is if the pitch swings severely or has inconsistent bounce or England can pull a true fast bowler out of the hat. Batting isn't the issue!

  • POSTED BY glen1 on | July 27, 2012, 1:27 GMT

    @SnowSnake You have added the 'helmet issue' into the discussion and this is very relevant. Comparisons with the 80s WI and the Aussies 90s should stop right away. Subcontinent players would have been handicapped against fast bowlers. Recall the gory of Sabina Park West Indies vs India (?76), where some of the greatest batsmen were injured by vicious bodyline bowling.

  • POSTED BY Lakpj on | July 27, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    SA have been the more consistent team through out the past 3-4 years. Eng won most of their games at home and the Ashes series was the only notable away victory. In addition to that they lost pretty badly to PAK in UAE and drew against SL. so overall SA deserve to be No 1. Eng can't expect to win by preparing seamer friendly wickets as potentially SA has a even better pace attack than Eng.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | July 27, 2012, 0:45 GMT

    @JG2704. Good posts, totally agree with them.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | July 27, 2012, 0:42 GMT

    @SnowSnake. Whilst understanding your obvious passion for your team, perhaps a realistic pov is required when making statements about longevity at the top. South Africa is close to top position due to the fact they have been the most consistent. The main reason they are not currently #1 is the fact they have drawn home series & tests where they should have won them. Now some may say they have choked, others say pressure at home, but they have, since the inception of the rankings system been in the top 4 (or 3) consistently. The drawn series means they have fewer points to defend unlike the Indians currently, the Aussies the past 3 years & England the next few years. If they ever manage to roll this current form over a period of 12-18 months, they could well stay atop of the table for a number of years.

  • POSTED BY thruthecovers on | July 27, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    @snowsnake As a SA supporter, I could live with that. As long as we play good cricket, we will be among the contenders despite the amount of Tests we play. We always were and always will be. This current SA team is realy special. We are dominating the World rankings in nearly all facets bar the main one. If what you suggests comes true, it won't make one iota difference to the cricket loving masses outhere (other than the supporters of the current no1, as per your analogy) that SA still is the only true no1. We all read cricinfo. Those kind of noises are already being made, even before the last Test. And I'll take public opinion over the fat cats in the ICC's everyday of the week.

  • POSTED BY SnowSnake on | July 26, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    @ashes61. No need to bring history of 80's WI and 90's Aus teams because comparison is not fair. Not many people used to wear helmets in 1980's and even the ones who used to wear helmets did not have grills. Also, players did not have the pressure of #1 during that time (via internet). Pressure of being #1 after around 2006 (since people have started blogging in huge numbers on cricinfo) is way high than what it used to be. SA may achieve #1 but will not stay there too long because they will also succumb to the pressure like Eng and Ind did. There are only 3 teams that can hold on to #1 for long time and it has to be either Eng. Ind. or Aus. The reason is simple, these teams play the most test games and get the most chances. SA may be knocked out of #1 status even when it has not played a single test. England should aim for minimizing losses because it will get an opportunity to come back. All #1 SA can do is watch its #1 gone all while sitting on the sidelines.

  • POSTED BY thecheechman on | July 26, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    Whilst I agree with the ratings over the three year period, we also need to look at the history, SA have not lost abroad in 6 years, that in itself is an achievement. England were lucky to draw against the proteas in SA. They lost the last series against the Proteas, Whilst I agree the Proteas have in the past lost or drawn series that they should have won. I do believe that this is a special Protea squad, how special only time will tell. The most telling aspect is that the South Africans have higher rankings by both batsmen and bowlers. I do find it funny that if England do prepare a belter of a wicket for Leeds, that they underestimate the Protea bowlers. If it is swinging, it will actually suit the Proteas more.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | July 26, 2012, 22:04 GMT

    re: Rankings. This represents form over a period of time, not one test or series. Over the past 3 years no one can dispute England have consistently been the best side and this is how the ranking system works. Sure they have lost 5 tests out of 9 this year, but they built up enough buffer to keep that lead. Did Tiger Woods lose his #1 ranking after 1, 2 or 3 losses? Same for Djokovic. He lost Roland Garros but still retained #1 due to his consistency over the period of time the rankings covered (in tennis, 1 year). Cricket has its parameters due to the period between tests, so let's move on. It's the best available.

  • POSTED BY Puffin on | July 26, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    no, they did not play like no1. Batting - mid table, Bowling - bottom of table.

    I suppose we should have expected something like this after last winter's calamity. As I said at the time, I don't remember Australia, the last worthwhile no1 team, getting stuffed like that on tour, even if they didn't win everything. Same applies for this latest defeat.

    There was me thinking how this was so like the England of mid 1990's. Comon, don't put us through that again, please!

  • POSTED BY BravoBravo on | July 26, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    @Nandhi: IND held #1 ICC ranking ONLY for 18 months NOT TWO Years. Simple math, 2 years means 24 months. @ ashes61: YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY right mate, and you put everything in very articulate perspective.

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | July 26, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    @o-bomb @threeslipsandagully @jaycee71 "Where has all this biggest defeat in history thing come from?" Er, Only 5 matches have ever been lost by 18 (lucky to not be 19) wickets in the history of cricket and England's recent defeat was the only one at home. The 1938 match is nothing to be proud of, read the report in the archives.

  • POSTED BY jb633 on | July 26, 2012, 21:33 GMT

    @InnocentGuy, how on earth have I suggested that these are exclusive. I just think the majority of Inidan comments are based on zero fact and are completley uninformative. Read through any articles with regards to England and all you read is trash talk about how garbage they are and how we boast etc. If people read the articles they would see that not many of the English team do boast and they are generally respectful of other nations players. I love talking cricket with anyone and it is always good to listen to different perspectives. But since India lost 0-4 against Eng I have lost so much respect for many of their fans. Btw how did your boys get on against SL the other day. Best stick to the mickey mouse IPL I guess.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | July 26, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    I will add that for all those knockers laying into Anderson, if memory serves me correct, did anyone form the Indian camp last year state the obvious as well? The supporters of the Indian team castigating Anderson may need a dose of reality check methinks.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | July 26, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge. Devastating alright but can't back it up consistently. You went all quiet after the result, so what about an honest appraisal? Unlike other English fans who have a much better grasp of the game, you represent the jonesy randyoz, gupta's & all the others who have little clue on what real cricket is & consistently cast negatives at all others. Please print.

  • POSTED BY Harry_Kool on | July 26, 2012, 21:06 GMT

    The pressure got to you, James? This is a joke, surely! The pressure? Better hope that it's not true because pain & heartache is around the corner for your supporters.

  • POSTED BY jackthelad on | July 26, 2012, 20:55 GMT

    I should add - Pietersen because he will never play for any team other than 'KP's side' and Broad because, although he's had his moments, he really isn't a top-class strike bowler (quite apart from being the most ungainly, injury-prone international athlete I've ever seen) Then you look at alternatives...

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | July 26, 2012, 20:08 GMT

    @Hammond You still think Eng will be no.1 after India tour? That will be height of optimism. I have got news for you. You will find many Oval like wickets all across India where fast bowlers(barring Z.Khan) are just played to pass time till the ball gets old and spinners can wreck the opposition's batting lineup with their bag of tricks!

  • POSTED BY 12thUmpire on | July 26, 2012, 20:06 GMT

    Since the inception of the ranking system, what is the heaviest home defeat by any №1? (Using all the metrics: runs, wickets, overs spared).

    Alternately, what are the heaviest home defeats by all applicable countries while holding №1 ranking?

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | July 26, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    "You're going to have days or weeks where you're not quite on top of your game and unfortunately, this was one of those weeks." This guy really cracks me up! Then what about the white wash against Pak that lasted about three weeks? What about the barely drawn test series vs SL? Hell even a WI no.10 carted them all round the park! I can't believe that they still think of themselves as the World's no.1 test team! If Anderson wants to talk in terms of weeks , they have had 53 bad weeks since becoming no.1 where they have not won any series , barring the one against lowly ranked WI.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    Well what happened to you when you played Pakistan?? Oh yes you were just outclassed by us. ;)

  • POSTED BY jackthelad on | July 26, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    There is a pressure in being described as 'top', but it surely doesn't justify the abject surrender of England in the first Test. There's a lot of truth in the earlier comment that England simply expects that several of Strauss, Pietersen, Prior, Bell or Bopara will throw their wickets away chasing stupid shots; there's even more in the fact that England's bowling attack is good in it's own conditions, but is not world-beating (2 wickets in nearly 200 overs seems an unanswerable argument). What to do? well, first, a lot of soul-searching; get rid of Pietersen and Broad; and start to play team cricket ...

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    Well England is a good team and no doubt about that.However,what SA did to them in their own backyard is fascinating and if SA become number one no one will be surprised. If Eng retain number one spot ,it appears bit unfair for SA because definitely they are the better team. Let us wait for other two matches rather than being judgemental. Cricket is always uncertain.

  • POSTED BY nandhi on | July 26, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    India held on to ranking for 2 years without much fuss and drama..England were blowing their own trumpet at home against a half dead(injured,tired and lifeless) Indian team and now have a great fall at the same place.. Shows the difference between Indian Character and English arrogance.....

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | July 26, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    England never deserved to be number 1. India capitualated more than england won. India again lost badly to australia. I think its more to do with internal squabble between sehwag and dhoni after world cup win dhoni got arrogant and egomaniac.

    England though did play with lots of discipline with less resources. They really do not have out and out fast bowler.5 tall bowler with swing and discipline. It worked against weak teams. England i think good number 2 team at condition where pitch help their bowlers. In Dust bowl indian and srilanka number 1. Aussies are number 1 in australia. SA is universal number 1 because they have everything for last 2-3 years just nothing to show for it. With Imran tahir among wicktes they should beat all teams comfortably.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    That's because.. you're not No. 1 ;)

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 26, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    @ fr0nt-foot_lunge on (July 26 2012, 12:13 PM GMT) "As an England fan" - who are you trying to kid?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 26, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    The way I see it is that England played superb cricket to get to number one and since that time we've (esp our batsmen) have gone off the boil. I think Boycott on radio hit the nail on the head in that our batsmen have known how to win games but are useless at saving games.Not sure what it is because we used to be able to save games we should have lost (twice vs SA and once vs Aus in 2009).Part of me wonders if our mentality has changed since becoming number 1 and we need to have the mentality of challengers rather than champions.I hope Finn or Onions is added to our bowling line up rather than replacing another bowler.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    this is going to be graeme smith/s series nobody can stop them come what ever may be the strategy employed by the opposition

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | July 26, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    Typical lanky. All talk no action. Although Bresnan is not having the best time of it at the moment he's keeping quiet.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 26, 2012, 18:03 GMT

    @AKS286 on (July 26 2012, 10:52 AM GMT) PS Why Suppiah?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | July 26, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    @AKS286 on (July 26 2012, 10:52 AM GMT) I asked you to comment on the same when they were looking not so deadly on day 1 and recd no response. Seriously , I've always said that they are a quality line up - just don't think there's that much difference between the 2 sets of bowlers despite what happened in the 1st test. I'd say SA have a stronger batting line up in the face of adversity. When I think about it , I'm not sure when our batsmen last got on top of a quality bowling line up.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    England played very ordinary cricket which they are playing since last year when they where thrashed by Indians 5-0

  • POSTED BY threeslipsandagully on | July 26, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    @InnocentGuy Generally, mediocre teams don't get ranked number one in two formats and slaughter the number one-ranked team in the third. If you want to talk about entitled, how about we talk about the number of Indian and Australian supporters bleating and whining beacuse their teams don't rule the sport anymore?

  • POSTED BY voma on | July 26, 2012, 17:11 GMT

    Randy Oz , Englands batting line up is thin without any depth . Ha Ha Ha , thats brilliant mate . How many runs have Struass , Cook and Pieterson got ? . Who currently got the Ashes , lets face it your team are nowhere near being close to England

  • POSTED BY Ozzy505 on | July 26, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    The Proteas haven't won the series yet, but they landed the first punch... and what a first punch it was! That being said SA has a history of falling away after a big win - whether they get complacent or begin to underestimate the opposition... or believe their own hype. Anyway if England can stand up & fight, they will find SA can also appear fallible. They bowled the Aussies out for 47 only to allow them to score 300 to win the very next test. May the best team win!

  • POSTED BY voma on | July 26, 2012, 16:57 GMT

    Well if anyone is going to bowl South Africa out , its going to be jimmy . But he needs help , i think its time for Steve Finn to be thrown in . I hope Stuart Broad turns up for the 2nd test , allthough i do sometimes feel sorry for him . Having to come back from injuries all the time .

  • POSTED BY kaidranzer on | July 26, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    @jb633: The same Indian team whitewashed England 5-0 on their last tour of India. You yourself seem to living in a glass house (or a palace in your case).

  • POSTED BY mihir_india on | July 26, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    i m from india. i wish sa win by 3-0.

  • POSTED BY thrash_metal on | July 26, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    @ PiyushD "One of the reasons why no team is able to stay long as No.1 is ICC ranking system where if you are at top you loose heavily while if you are ranked lower its not difficult to rise." Ummm... England have lost 5 out of 9 tests this year why are they still ranked top then?

  • POSTED BY kaidranzer on | July 26, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    @jb633: The same Indian team whitewashed England 5-0 on their last tour of India. You seem to be living in a glass house as well.

  • POSTED BY PPD123 on | July 26, 2012, 16:01 GMT

    This just goes to show how difficult it is to stay at the top. The WI team of the 70/80s and the Aussies from mid 90s through 00's were awesome. Take a bow.Eng are now finding out how difficult it is when u are being chased down by the "pack"... more like the "peleton" in tour de france... they are definitely feeling the heat.... Cant see Bopara coming up trumps... The sth africans have his number and they would get him. Ironic.. that when u start losing all these chinks start to show up...look at finger being point at Bresnen and Swann...btw.. Bresnen had never tasted defeat since his debut... they are talking about replacing him with finn... talk of pressure... rotfl... go SA go... annihilate Eng...

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | July 26, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    @jb633, What do you mean "English forum"? It's this kind of thinking, a sense of entitlement and exclusivity, that makes England mediocre at everything. It's only a matter of time before the Saffers assign the Poms to their deserved corner.

  • POSTED BY threeslipsandagully on | July 26, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    @SurlyCynic I'd say Meaker and Compton's English schooling and years spent on the English county circuit without ever playing a match professionally in South Africa will help them fit in a bit better. The amount of gloating and crowing from particular groups of supporters is embarrassing; England deservedly won the number one Test ranking having performed well consistently for two years prior to it both at home and away, and their failings have been greatly exaggerated. They no doubt need to take a long, hard look at themselves as a unit after this defeat but this really is getting ridiculous.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | July 26, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    "We're a very good unit when we're aggressive and in batsmen's faces and we probably didn't do that as well as we could..." - what so if you can't bowl them out, sledge/bully them out? Swann is not aggressive, he's arrogant and will have to be careful. Likewise, Broad can behave like a spoiled brat at times. Anderson and Bresnan are usually fine, but at times look like bulldogs chewing at wasps. My advice Jimmy: let the ball do the talking! England have shown that they can efficient without all this comical sneering stuff.

  • POSTED BY neerajprasher on | July 26, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    You dont deserve no 1 team.all matches u r playing at home n u played one series out of england and lost by 4-0.Play overseas than talk about this.

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | July 26, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    @indian fans Get your own derogatory word for us. "Poms" is reserved for aussies and to some extent saffers and new zealanders (although goodness knows what it actually means)

  • POSTED BY WJ77 on | July 26, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    As a SA fan i'm very pleased with how we performed in the first test. With Gary at the helm i hope/believe the days of us not converting strong positions are over. I do think England are better than they showed in the last test but the only way to really tell how strong will be to assess after the series. The proof of the pudding will be in the next two games. Can england get over the mental blow of the last test or will we romp to a 2-0 lead? Im obviously hoping for the latter :-) Good luck to both, its going to be a great 2nd test!

  • POSTED BY SICHO on | July 26, 2012, 15:33 GMT

    England is too obsessed with the no.1 ranking, they should focus on how they got there rather how to play as no.1 team. England throught the innings produced one wicket taking delivery(Petersen's), Smith's wicket was just luck out of nowhere. People are already calling for Finn as if it'll make a big difference, just look at this guy's recent Tests Against Sri Lanka and the West Indies. He wasn't all great, yes, he has the pace but lets realistic here. If there's bowler to be included it has to be Tremlett or Onions.

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | July 26, 2012, 15:26 GMT

    @joseyesu ??????? What are you on about? How are lions being lions and elephants being elephants relevant to cricket?

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | July 26, 2012, 15:24 GMT

    @Craig Dennis The saffers in the England side are the worst of the lot, especially Pietersen.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | July 26, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    England can do well by all means. Their batting depth is far more than the South Africans.

  • POSTED BY krvij on | July 26, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    Because SA won very convincingly, it might appear SA's batting and bowling is better. But I think Eng have good quality players.They are very fit also. A loss like the first test against SA, means the whole world will pose many questions, particularly since they are no 1 now. So for the next match its all about attitude and confidence. If Cook scores well the whole team will come back I guess. I hope for more competitive match and series. I'll support SA though and Cook only from Eng.

  • POSTED BY yorkshirematt on | July 26, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    The pitch at Headingley looked a belter last night. England won't take 20 wickets on it.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | July 26, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    Eagerly waiting to see a test match in Headingley after Aussies were skittled out 2 years ago for 88. I am sure bowlers will have a field day there.

  • POSTED BY Mervo on | July 26, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    Saffers No 1 Team turned out to be No 1 for a reason. They are a united group and not a group of recruits and cricket nomads. How can England lose 5 of their last 9 Tests and be No !?

    Well done SA!

  • POSTED BY kevinpp24 on | July 26, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    @ randy_oz will you stop embarrassing yourself.  Okay you yourself compare the Eng and Aus team man-to-man and let the cricket fans decide who's the better team. On current form I would say Strauss > Cowan, Cook >= Watson(including his bowling), Trott > Marsh/Khwaja, Pietersen > Ponting, Bell < Clarke, Bopara < Hussey, Prior > Haddin and I don't know about Aus bowlers as they are very injury prone. So Eng clearly beat Aus in man-to-man comparison,  just give me your comparison and let the fans decide. Lyon was nowhere near Swann and Finn was more or less equal to Pattinson and Cummins. TBH I'm impressed with Pattinson but not Cummins, I think he's just bowling gun barrel straight balls with no tricks yet. Will you pls provide something?

  • POSTED BY SasiGladi on | July 26, 2012, 14:54 GMT

    Come on Jimmy you will be tested more when you travel to India ask your batsmen to keep the dancing boots ready...Indians lost entire fame by not playing like a real no 1 team in just two overseas series...dont forget we leveled SA and Aussy on top we won you when we are on form....Now its your term to feel the heat...

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 14:53 GMT

    Before this series began I was pasted by an Ausie fan, especially, for even suggesting that Imran Tahir could do anything more than only get a couple of tail enders' wickets. Just by the way, the fact that he is particularly good in getting the opposition's tail out, is more than enough reason, on its own, to justify his selection in the Protea squad, in my humble opinion. How many test matches did SA not win because our bowlers could not finish the opposition's tail off and even lost because the opposition's tail scored the winning runs. In the 2nd innings of the first test Imran Tahir did a bit more than only account for J. Anderson, though, didn't he? A. Strauss was his first victim in Eng's 2nd innings and after him it was the Eng. wickie, Prior. According to this Ausie fan's logic, then, Strauss and Prior are Eng.'s two newest tail enders. It is all rather amusing. I.Tahir will steadily work his way through a few more English top and middle order wickets before this series ends!

  • POSTED BY tonobwoy on | July 26, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    You did not play like a #1 team because YOU ARE NOT A #1 TEAM.... in the recent series against the lowly WEST INDIES, the umpires helped you all in a big way to defeat them... but justice is not blind.. the SOUTH AFRICANS showed you all exactly where you are... beatable and very easily at that...

  • POSTED BY jezzastyles on | July 26, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    Judging by the tone of these comments, I'm very happy for AUS to stay at #2 ranking. SA can have the #1 ranking (provided they win this series), or ENG if they somehow claw their way back, and all the heartache that goes with it - it seems that supporters from every other Test playing nation are just eagerly waiting for you to slip up & show signs of weakness - waiting to pounce. "You're over-rated, have been for a long time", and so forth and so on. If the Pommy supporters and press are fixated upon the #1 ranking, it seems the rest of the cricketing world are equally fascinated. Good luck to SA, enjoy it whilst it lasts, for the modern-day supporter seems very fickle indeed. I could only imagine the vitriol & rhetoric if AUS get back to #1 ranking (highly unlikely anyway), given their earlier reign at the top. I can just imagine it: "can't win in India, hometown bullies, boorish behaviour" etc. etc. I rest my case.

  • POSTED BY kevinpp24 on | July 26, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    As i said before, no way you can drop Braod because of his performance in 1st test, he's got 54 wickets at an avg of 18 before this test match which also includes those 4 tests in sub-continents, which proves he's a hugely improved cricketer. Finn is definitely our second best bowler after Jimmy both potentially and skillwise. Since SA is on top, we are forced to make the change and unfortunately it's Bresnan who has to make the way but it has nothing to do with his performance, it's all because England need a change in approach. Doesn't matter win or lose just give your best that's all the fans want to see. Good luck England.

  • POSTED BY anuradha_d on | July 26, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    CricInfo did an article explaining how the defeat was BIGGEST in the history of the game in terms of diffrence between the runs scored per wicket lost diffrential between the winning and losing side.........SA's 637/2 (318.5 runs per wkt) -Eng 625/20( 31.25 runs per wkt)......making the diffrential 287.25, the highest ever in the history of the game..........some people can bury their head and ignore the enormity of this defeat......self denial is one of the ways of derving comfort for the human mind.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    Don't think he should worry much. England won't be no 1 for much longet at this rate.

  • POSTED BY 12thUmpire on | July 26, 2012, 14:17 GMT

    @Highflyer_GP on (July 26 2012, 13:48 PM GMT)

    The standard way of reporting the result does unfortunately not include "with x number of overs to spare", another indicator of victory margin.

  • POSTED BY iamsuperman on | July 26, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    England is super fixated with their No.1 ranking and yapping about it even after such a huge defeat and losing 5 out of 9 matched in 2012 and still claiming to be No.1 is way to much. Now no #1 team gets defeated like this, that too at home. England should stop this fixation about ranking and start playing. It a shame if they lose their no.1 ranking so this fast. The English commentators are way over rating their team and players. Right now, the best test team is South Africa no matter what the iCC ranking says!

  • POSTED BY thruthecovers on | July 26, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    @John Welsford I couldn't agree more, but that is not to say we don't have our own share of problems. We probably face our biggest "test" on this tour, coming up ie...to force the advantage home. Like many have said, we always drop one when it looks like we have the opposition on the ropes. We are far from the finished product and Gary Kirsten said as much. His mantra of it being a process strikes a chord though. We might still get there. Lets see if they can do it this time. We have the firepower. I'm hoping the mentality matches that

  • POSTED BY CricMadzn on | July 26, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    I'd say that the current South African Side has the potential to Eclipse the Australian side of the 90's

  • POSTED BY unregisteredalien on | July 26, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    Good on you Hammond, keep banging on mindlessly about Australia while SA pounds your team into the ground.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    To all you sub-continental and antipodean gainsayers I say this... go and check the ICC Test Rankings, then come back and tell us that England are not No.1. As Anderson said, they didn't play like the No.1 side, in this last test, nor did they against Pakistan or, to a certain extent against Sri Lanka, but they had played sufficiently well in the past to not let those results upest the rankings. The rankings which are incidentally calculated using the same criteria for all teams. We all know the reasons why the aforementioned supporters are like they are... it's trying to gain some rather petty revenge after the thrashings we gave you last time we met. Well carry on with your vendetta.. it won't change the facts.. And the fact is that until and if England lose this series, they are still numero uno... Sticks in the craw of some of you I know... but tough.

  • POSTED BY MrGarreth on | July 26, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Australia created such a benchmark when they were the no1 side that now its expected of all sides to be that consistent but its simply impossible really. That Aussie side was once ina generation and we may well just have to get used to seeing the top ranked side lose every now and then. It just is how it is. I do think SA have the best chance of going on a consistent run regardless of conditions given their impressive away record. But again, that top rankinf will switch teams every now and then and thats just a reality of the standard of teams. The only thing i'd criticize England for was the comments they came out with saying that they are as good as the Aussies in their prime which is not only a ridiculous statement but also highly disrespectful to a team that achieved more than England could ever wish

  • POSTED BY Raki99 on | July 26, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    After this POMS are coming to India. I can't wait for pitches 100 times slower and lower than the OVAL Pitch.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | July 26, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    England played like school boys, let alone playing or not playing like no.1 ;-).

  • POSTED BY thruthecovers on | July 26, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    They are building a legacy allright...

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    2 Wickets Vs 20 Wickets? On the same surface. Same conditions. I still can't believe it. South Africa's success was long overdue; but I never expected such a massive win. Against England! In England!

  • POSTED BY Highflyer_GP on | July 26, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    @everyone mentioning that this wasn't the biggest defeat, it was in terms of runs/wicket. To only be able to take 2 wickets in a match is, at best, a poor effort. The scoreline may show an innings and 12 runs, but to be bowled out twice and only take 2 wickets yourself, while conceding 630+, is huge. But if it makes you feel better about it, and helps you avoid the problems rather than solving them, then yes in terms of innings defeats it was not that big.

  • POSTED BY StatisticsRocks on | July 26, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    Honestly I did not expect these type of comments from a side's #1 bowler. Already on the defensive. Come on you have lost 5 out of the last 9 test matches and you are talking about discussing what went wrong. Nothing went wrong except you were outplayed by the oponent. This Eng side with such a good bowling unit could only manage to take 2 wickets while your opponent took 20 speaks for itself. You guys were over confident going into this series and thought you could run over SA just like you did against India.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    Its interesting how the "experts" touted England as the superior team before the match - better balance, better tail, better whatever. Now instead of realistically reassessing the merits of each team, its being construed as an issue of "underperformance". I think people just don't realise how strong the SA team is at the moment. I mean, remember, even with this crushing win they were rusty on the first day...

  • POSTED BY Min2_cric on | July 26, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    eng is a gud team...they just need to apply their plans...forget abt where they stand and concentrate on just one test match which they are currently playin'...

  • POSTED BY thruthecovers on | July 26, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    What if Peterson comes good in the next Test and he and Smith shares in a BIG opening partnership? Speculative, I know, but it's possible. Can't help but feel the pshycological blow SA dished out in the 1st Test could precipitate a huge slump in ENG's form at home. One that make take years to recover from. It's up to them to not let it happen. Only way I can see is to prepare a green mamba and make it a lottery. And of course, Steyn, Philander and Morkel to go AWOL...just enough to get a handy 1st innings lead. Somehow they have to level the playing field. A normal pitch with just the usual demons on the first morning will not bring them victory. Too much class in the SA batting line-up and too little in their own. You just know Strauss, Pietersen, Bell, Bopara and Prior will give their wickets away at some stage. Once again, Cook and Trott are key for SA. I can actualy see their heads dropping with a century opening stand by Smith and Peterson. Like I said, speculative... :)

  • POSTED BY i.love.ice.creams on | July 26, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    Only a legitimate holder of #1 title can actually play like a real No. One. Not just any team here and there: in this case by-chance no. 1.. :p

  • POSTED BY PiyushD on | July 26, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    One of the reasons why no team is able to stay long as No.1 is ICC ranking system where if you are at top you loose heavily while if you are ranked lower its not difficult to rise.As even one win against a higher ranked gives you a lot of points. Anyway England was never convincing as No.1, only 2 series, last ashes and India's visit were the series where they looked convincing. Again while Australia was on decline, India had the weakest bowling attack in the world to fight with.

  • POSTED BY drdickdixon on | July 26, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    Maybe if there were rolling rankings and not post-Test series updates, England would be 2nd now and would have something to fight for rather than suffer under their current rankings vertigo that Anderson alludes to here.

    Also - you have to doubt a scoring system that keeps England 1st after the winter they've had...!

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    As a Protea fan I was happy when we were raked the number 1 team under Shaun Pollock, then the team went to Australia and the best team wasnt the one ranked #1. Cricket fans know who the best team is. I hope that the current SA squad continue with this brand of cricket, I do expect the Empire to strike back. England have fantastic high quality players so the next two games should be great affairs.

  • POSTED BY sparth on | July 26, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    Anderson giving excuses again. It doesnt matter if you're being chased or doing the chasing as he put it. Either way, you still need to play well. There is no excuse for this, they have been no.1 for a year now. This poor showing just shows that they arent fit to stay there

  • POSTED BY Muttee on | July 26, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    I dont think losing 5 out of 9 matches make you an average side, it makes you below average. England really need to pick themselves up and forget about the ranking and just play their best cricket out there, before you know it, it can easily become 7 out of 11 matches.

  • POSTED BY jezzastyles on | July 26, 2012, 13:02 GMT

    Let's at least wait until the end of the 2nd test before heralding the demise of English cricket, shall we. Yes, they were thoroughly smashed by SA in the 1st test, but SA have a tendency to drop off after taking a 1-0 lead (in the recent past, anyway). I would be immensely surprised if the SA squad are adopting the "home & hosed" mentality of many of these posts/comments; I expect BOTH teams to come out for a win in Leeds - it should be a crackerjack match, weather permitting, and may the best team win.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    James Anderson should know that they are not number one...they just saved their rankings in Sri Lanka...and have got badly thrashedby south african team

  • POSTED BY jaycee71 on | July 26, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    Highflyer_GP, I'm confused, you say "the biggest defeat in the history of the game", the biggest innings defeat is an innings and 579 runs, is 12 now more than 579?

  • POSTED BY 777aditya on | July 26, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    This statement sounds way better than Dhoni's whimpering comment about the pitch in the second ODI in SL. England will definitely bounce back in the series and not surrender tamely like India did in 8 consecutive tests. The difference lies in the attitude at the moment.

  • POSTED BY StaalBurgher on | July 26, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    @Highflyer_GP - That is well put. Cricket rankings due to the nature of game (i.e. it takes 3 years for the top teams to play each other home and away) will always struggle to stay up to date. It is only when one team, like Australia recently did, can maintain their position for many years when you have a real no.1. Even if SA goes to no.1 now it won't be "real" until they have stayed their through a home/away cycle against all comers.

  • POSTED BY tinkertinker on | July 26, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    teams need to stop acting like becoming number 1 makes them a great team on par with the west indies/aus greats.

    it's just like in golf, is luke donald as great as tiger woods was simply because they have both been number 1 at some point?

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | July 26, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    If something works and brings success then one does no look any further for what will work in the future. There is no point in adding pressure. Occasionally a juggernaut may mow you down but it is not going to happen every day.SA are a good side, a brilliant one at times, but they sure as hell are not infallible.i do not see that there is any real problem if everyone pulls their weight.As for the size of defeat there have been plenty bigger as the Aussies will try to forget. this one was notable for the fact the E took 2 wickets only. Time to look to the next game.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Oh, there we go. They're burdened by their own greatness. It isn't simply the first time they've actually been playing a top-tier team at full-strength in a couple of years and are getting shown up. Thanks for clearing that up for us, Jimmy.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | July 26, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    I thought England's main failure at the Oval was that they were too careful. The bowlers didn't go all out, the batsmen tried to stay in instead of scoring runs and the field placings were often too defensive. They tried not to make mistakes instead of trying to force SA to make mistakes. Against a side with players of the quality of Smith, Amla, Kalls and Steyn, that approach was always likely to fail and SA ruthlessly exposed England's lack of aggression. I'm sure this won't have been lost on them (indeed, Anderson's comments indicate that they have already reached that conclusion themselves) and I expect them to be much more fired up at Headingly. Unless there are injuries, I expect only one change in the side (Finn will come in for Bresnan or Broad), but a much different attitude. Maybe then it will be SA who, knowing they only have to draw the next two tests to secure the #1 ranking, who will try to defend their position? It's happened before.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | July 26, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Sadly James, you are the only test quality bowler in the side. Assuming Finn plays the next game (I'd say the whole team taking only 2 wickets the entire match, for only the 5th time in history, means that he is a shoe in) that means you will have two. I's also be selecting Monty over Swann, although the batting lineup is extremely frail, with little depth, so you might need Swann for his batting. For all the so-called depth in England they have 1 bowler, Finn, and no one to bat.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    There's a saying "A DOG THINKS HE IS THE KING IN HIS OWN DOMAIN". Thats what is happening here. England have beat teams in UK but get thrashed abroad. Pakistan just thrashed them 3-0. All this talk of "We will thrash the Aussie's in the Ashes" is pure hype because its going to be played in England. A number 1 team is ready to play and win anywhere, not just at home. England are a better than average team, nothing else and they are a million miles away from being world beaters. I think its time to wake up and smell the coffee and admit that England are and always will be a mid table team.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | July 26, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    The Indian and Australian fans know only too well just how devastating England have been as World Number 1.

    Oh wait...can someone explain to me how there are so many of them on here constantly saying otherwise... It seems envy is running as green as an English meadow.

    Jealousy speaks volumes about those that possess it.

  • POSTED BY joseyesu on | July 26, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    A lion can be a lion, but a elephant cannot be a lion. SA deserves the no.1 spot.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 12:25 GMT

    Every gud thing starts from pakistan.like they beat the england 3-0 now otherteams are joining the party.they don,t deserve to be number one

  • POSTED BY unregisteredalien on | July 26, 2012, 12:25 GMT

    They're doing it again, and again I agree with Highflyer_GP. Way to fail at success, England. In other news, I look forward to seeing more of this Jacques Kallies chap.

  • POSTED BY Jack_Tka on | July 26, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    Anderson is correct in saying that No.1(By Ranking) is always chased by other teams. Also the drawbacks of No. 1 teams are most discussed among the media and in discussion forums among the fans, thus generating extra pressure on them. Its society's nature to keep finding faults with the toppers. The same happened with India and now its England. Even if England manages to draw the series, thier incompetency in surviving on sub-continental pitches will be a matter of discussion till coming Dec(when they visit India).

  • POSTED BY o-bomb on | July 26, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    Where has all this biggest defeat in history thing come from? We lost by an innings and 12 runs, not an innings and 12 hundred runs. There have been many bigger defeats than that. Before the rest of you jump on me I will totally admit that since we became number 1 we have not played like a number 1 side. For the 2 years before that we were playing the best cricket, but not now. I think South Africa are showing themselves to be the best team in the world at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot_lunge on | July 26, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    As an england fan, the delusions comments by Anderson, echo the delusional comments by some of my fellow england fans. All this talk on 'number 1' carefully neglects the route we took to get there. We were too busy patting ourselves on the back for beating the aussies in australia, we forgot to notice that it was in the wettest summer they've had and the most like england its ever been. Next we bumped into an Indian team on the decline, and we think we're world beaters. As soon as we encounter a team par and above, we fold like a pack of cards. Heaven help us when india's team turns the corner (already happening) and Australia come back here next year, with a resurgent team and pre-primed with their acclimatisation sortie this summer....

  • POSTED BY Zahidsaltin on | July 26, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    No it isn't anything with no. 1 tag to do. Pressure of being ranked at no. 1 must have been vanished after that ugly clean sweep in Dubai.The matter of fact is that England are a very mediocre team which can't win in subontinent and at home they face a team now which is used to similar conditions but is way stronger in all the departments.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    boss India have Performed well after becoming No.1 team for one and half years.

  • POSTED BY jb633 on | July 26, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    @Dinesh K. Singh, India talk of being number 1 after losing ... I can't quite remember that one. Oh and look they have just been rolled over for 130 by the lighting quick Perera and the new Michael Holding, Angelo Matthews. People in glass houses should not throw stones. I find it amusing that on any England thread there are more Indian commentators than English, and even more only about two of them are reasoned. I agree that this England side might be overrated and not the best in the world, but trolling through any English forum is a wee bit sad I feel

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | July 26, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    England need to make changes, bring in Compton and Meaker. Compton would be a solid #6, while Meaker would add much needed pace to the military medium attack. With their South African backgounds they would also fit in well with the rest of the team.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | July 26, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    There is not much that separates SA, England and Australia. They are all great teams at the moment. Capable of that No1 spot. You win some and you lose some.

  • POSTED BY Selassie-I on | July 26, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    losing 5/9 si not a good performance from the no1 side, however the rankings are done over a 2 year period and over the 12 months before that they won 7/8 tests, I think with 3/4 innings victories in there and whitewashed the incumbant no1.

  • POSTED BY hozefa_q on | July 26, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    And will never play in the future through out the upcoming seasons like our previous number 1 ranked team. Because we know that all teams are winning and showing great performance only on their own turf just like we had perform against India during their last visit. We also know that we will be banged my SA on our own soil this time and will be then humiliated by India on their soil when we visit them. I am conveying the message to all my fellow and x-cricketers who were doing bla bla after we reached No.1 position that we will be soon going to No.4 or No.5 from where we came originally and that is what our actual place. We were flying up in the sky now we know what we are and what is our original test ranking. Thanks subcontinent/SA for showing us our true picture.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    With due respect, England always look fragile when they play test cricket, you always expect the collapse to come. Take out the Saffers (Pieterson, Trott, Prior, Strauss and don't forget the coach Andy Flower from up the road in ZIM) and and they are a very ordinary bunch who suffer from home sickness. Ranked 1 in the world, surely not!

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    whitewash against which team?

  • POSTED BY SnowSnake on | July 26, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    Duh. That's when you lose your #1 ranking.

  • POSTED BY threeslipsandagully on | July 26, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    Yikes, some of the comments here are incredible. 1) Prior to the tour to the UAE (during which England whitewashed the ODI series, by the way) England hadn't lost either at home or away from home in three years. 2) The heaviest defeat in the history of the game was when England beat Australia by an innings and 579 runs at the Oval in 1938. An innings and 12 runs isn't even the heaviest defeat suffered by anyone in 2012. 3) Arul Suppiah? Seriously?

  • POSTED BY MrPontingToYou on | July 26, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    did'nt play like the #1 team, because you ar'nt the #1 team... plain and simple, just like the indian team before, this england team is overrated and undeserving of the top spot. SA are the true #1, and hopefully smith will continue to be positive in his captaincy as he was in the last test. many times it was his reluctance to be more aggressive in declarations, and field placings that prevented SA from winning a test.

  • POSTED BY MightySun on | July 26, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    rumors on air that the pitch was made a spinning bully so english have an edge with swan against Tahir and other pacers even out...nice to see that the same tactics backfired as SA pacers also turned out to be good and Tahir edged outcounterpart by a long distance ...lol

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | July 26, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    Actually, you know what? I think I'll back Australia in this coming South Africa tour. I'll dust off my old canary yellow odi jersey and hope for some payback on behalf of the ECB. Then next years ashes can be 1 versus 2 again like it was in the best series ever- 2005.

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | July 26, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    People don't necessarily expect the number one ranked team to win all the time, but when they lose they don't expect it to be because there's a mad rush to throw their wickets away. After being comprehensively worked over by Tahir, what was Strauss thinking when he then plays a ridiculous and unnecessary sweep in a test they should have drawn. Not the first such irresponsible shot and not dissimilar to the plethora of abject shots played against Pakistan in their 3-0 drubbing. Obviously lessons were not learned.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | July 26, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Again, about 5 references to rankings.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    now this english players are understanding it atleast india was number 1 team for 2 years and im pretty sure that england would be stripped from num 1 ranking this august after 1 year reign in which they lost there 5 out of 6 tests against major countries if windies are excluded and infact windies also gave them fight.....

  • POSTED BY kushaman on | July 26, 2012, 11:29 GMT

    Just tell Mr. James Anderson that to gain 1st position by winning series as a visitor is more pressurous than even a draw at home. Just an excuess from no 1 team for ugly defeat. Go SA be no 1 and crush them in second test. This time will love to see my favourite ABD in action. SA with YOU.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    AKS286 - SUPPIAH?! Why in God's name would anyone EVER pick Suppiah?! Christ, I'M more likely to get a game than Arul Suppiah. Ravi should be given a go, but the selectors need to think about James Taylor, or even Samit Patel...

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | July 26, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    @Highflyer_GP- you are correct, I remember Australia harping on about being number one when they didn't deserve it too. Maybe it was better before the rankings. And that was not the biggest defeat in the history of the game.

  • POSTED BY Brumby90 on | July 26, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    England is obsessed with the rankings. Maybe they should admit that they simply are not anything more then an average side. The only reason they are where they are is due the the standard of world cricket dropping in the last 2-3 years. For 15 yrs australian had one of the greatest teams in history and England are what is now left of an average lot.

  • POSTED BY Vkarthik on | July 26, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    Tell that to your reporters Anderson. Because they are already comparing your side to great Aussie and West Indies side. They were at no.1 spot for very long. They were never humiliated that too right after becoming no.1.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    England..... They are not eligible for no 1. They have to fight hard in this series. After T20 world cup, England has to play 4 tests against INDIA in INDIA. We are eagerly waiting for that series irrespective of T20 world cup.

  • POSTED BY fan2011 on | July 26, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    england does have a good side, maan the batting is soo boring, Bell scored at 25 Runs per 100 balls, and most of the other top order batsman score at a strike rate of 40.

    you can't be soo negative if you want to be the number one team more aggressive, SA is definitely the best test team currently, although they lack in a quality spinner they make up for it with the some quality pace bowlers

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    Eng @ No. 1 is Joke especially after they got thrashed by Pakistan and now SA ! Their batsmen can't resist spin bowling for longer period. And Amla and Kallis made mockery of their bowling attack. Seriously ! Anderson is useless on pitch that doesn't allow his banana swing. Swann has become easier to play. Only SA can be termed as the Best test team as they have performed more consistently over a period of time than other teams. But they too lack a quality spinner.

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    @highflyer Very well said. But the problem is a team who was/ is number one in ranking keeps harping on it. But as you said, losing 5 out of 9 is pretty mediocre performance. And being inflicted biggest defeat in history of the game and still thinking of being number 1 is pretty pathetic so to say...

  • POSTED BY anuradha_d on | July 26, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    Anderson is right...they are too much bugged by the ranking........instead of living in the present and worrying about performance...the Eng side after one big win against an uninterested India got engulfed and swallowed by " setting a legacy" thingy

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | July 26, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    A good dressing room not only celebrates the win but also need to regroup after a failure.. I seriously hope that England corrects the mistakes and turns back as the No.1 team which they are now.. They have the quality to do it..

  • POSTED BY AKS286 on | July 26, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    JG2704 any comment after 1st test about "African Deadly Barrage" i think you understand the sentence "any pitch any where". cleverly eng made a sub-continent pitch on oval test. but deadly barrage destroys the eng fortress on a flat pitch too. congrates to cook for a good batting.IMO Suppiah in and bopara out.

  • POSTED BY Krooks on | July 26, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    wow.. winning at home again n again in seaming conditions and then claim best team in the world.. SA has made England eat humble pie..

  • POSTED BY Highflyer_GP on | July 26, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Once again, teams who keep harping on about the #1 ranking probably don't deserve it. If you keep winning, and don't lost many, then everyone will know that you're the best without looking at the rankings. Losing 5 in 9, including a whitewash and the biggest defeat in the history of the game, makes you average no matter what the rankings say.

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  • POSTED BY Highflyer_GP on | July 26, 2012, 10:41 GMT

    Once again, teams who keep harping on about the #1 ranking probably don't deserve it. If you keep winning, and don't lost many, then everyone will know that you're the best without looking at the rankings. Losing 5 in 9, including a whitewash and the biggest defeat in the history of the game, makes you average no matter what the rankings say.

  • POSTED BY Krooks on | July 26, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    wow.. winning at home again n again in seaming conditions and then claim best team in the world.. SA has made England eat humble pie..

  • POSTED BY AKS286 on | July 26, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    JG2704 any comment after 1st test about "African Deadly Barrage" i think you understand the sentence "any pitch any where". cleverly eng made a sub-continent pitch on oval test. but deadly barrage destroys the eng fortress on a flat pitch too. congrates to cook for a good batting.IMO Suppiah in and bopara out.

  • POSTED BY satish619chandar on | July 26, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    A good dressing room not only celebrates the win but also need to regroup after a failure.. I seriously hope that England corrects the mistakes and turns back as the No.1 team which they are now.. They have the quality to do it..

  • POSTED BY anuradha_d on | July 26, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    Anderson is right...they are too much bugged by the ranking........instead of living in the present and worrying about performance...the Eng side after one big win against an uninterested India got engulfed and swallowed by " setting a legacy" thingy

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    @highflyer Very well said. But the problem is a team who was/ is number one in ranking keeps harping on it. But as you said, losing 5 out of 9 is pretty mediocre performance. And being inflicted biggest defeat in history of the game and still thinking of being number 1 is pretty pathetic so to say...

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 11:01 GMT

    Eng @ No. 1 is Joke especially after they got thrashed by Pakistan and now SA ! Their batsmen can't resist spin bowling for longer period. And Amla and Kallis made mockery of their bowling attack. Seriously ! Anderson is useless on pitch that doesn't allow his banana swing. Swann has become easier to play. Only SA can be termed as the Best test team as they have performed more consistently over a period of time than other teams. But they too lack a quality spinner.

  • POSTED BY fan2011 on | July 26, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    england does have a good side, maan the batting is soo boring, Bell scored at 25 Runs per 100 balls, and most of the other top order batsman score at a strike rate of 40.

    you can't be soo negative if you want to be the number one team more aggressive, SA is definitely the best test team currently, although they lack in a quality spinner they make up for it with the some quality pace bowlers

  • POSTED BY on | July 26, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    England..... They are not eligible for no 1. They have to fight hard in this series. After T20 world cup, England has to play 4 tests against INDIA in INDIA. We are eagerly waiting for that series irrespective of T20 world cup.

  • POSTED BY Vkarthik on | July 26, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    Tell that to your reporters Anderson. Because they are already comparing your side to great Aussie and West Indies side. They were at no.1 spot for very long. They were never humiliated that too right after becoming no.1.