England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 1st day August 2, 2012

Petersen hundred gives South Africa the edge

91

South Africa 262 for 5 (Petersen 124*, Rudolph 1*) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England did not suffer the public humiliation, to adopt the admission of Graeme Swann, which they had endured at The Oval, but until the advent of the second new ball their gilded reputation was put under the fiercest scrutiny on the opening day of the Headingley Test as Alviro Petersen joined the procession of South Africa batsmen bent upon grinding them into the mud.

Petersen became the fourth South Africa batsman to take a century of England's attack with the second Test only a day old, following the example of Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis in the opening rubber. It was an intensely measured affair, strong through the leg side, and when he reached both his fifty and then his hundred by pulling first Tim Bresnan and then Stuart Broad it was a perfect summation.

Petersen was regarded as the weak link in South Africa's top six, certainly in England, perhaps in his own country, too, and he had been the only South Africa batsman to fail at The Oval. His defiance, most of all, emphasised that South Africa's discipline runs deep.

England managed to stifle him as the day progressed - his first 50 came in 78 balls, the next one in 137 - but it was meagre consolation on a day when they had pinned their faith in Headingley's capricious reputation by discarding Swann's offspin, fielding a quartet of fast bowlers and putting South Africa in to bat.

There was some movement, but for most of the day it seemed to trouble Matt Prior, England's wicketkeeper, more than anyone as South Africa's batsmen pressed on in their customary remorseless fashion. They have met England's defensive tactics by playing percentages and refusing to be rushed. The mindset of Test cricket is still ingrained within them.

The second new ball, taken at 238 for 3, at the unholy hour of 7pm, brought England hope. The crowd had thinned noticeably, but those who remained saw England remove both AB de Villiers, failing to leave a delivery from Broad, and the nightwatchman, Dale Steyn, cleaned up by Steven Finn. De Villiers had also been missed by James Anderson at second slip, a tough chance low to his left off Broad.

More activity was crammed into the last 30 minutes than the previous eight hours. England imagined that they had dismissed Petersen, too, lbw to Finn on 119, only for DRS to overturn Steve Davis' decision by showing as many suspected at first sight that the ball was going over the top.

Petersen had also had an escape before lunch on 29 when he was dropped by Alastair Cook, a routine chance to second slip which slipped through his hands and struck him on the knee. He was there because of the absence of Swann, but even allowing for his excellent catch later in the day to dismiss Kallis, there is not a Warwickshire supporter alive who does not regard Jonathan Trott would surely have been a better option.

How Headingley plays with the heart. Before that late surge, only when the clouds rolled in during the last hour before tea (eventually bringing rain, a prolonged stoppage and another 7.30pm finish in this drag of a summer) did England's pace attack prosper. Smith, Amla and Kallis all departed within 12 overs, but it proved a brief respite, gifts from heaven as rain rushed in from the south west.

Swann, instrumental in England's rise through the Test rankings, was omitted after 43 successive Tests and settled down for a disconsolate read of the Test match programme in the home dressing room. He found himself on the front cover under the headline Turning The Tide. It was unlikely to enhance his mood.

But it was the gangling figure of Finn around whom England's unrewarding morning centred. Finn is indisputably one of the most promising fast-bowling talents around, capable of 90mph-plus from a 6ft 8ins frame. But legs that long are not easily managed. When he first broke into the England side, he kept falling over in his delivery stride. Now he habitually collides with the stumps with a buckled front leg.

He can no longer airily dismiss it, as he did during the West Indies series. Finn had Smith caught at first slip by Andrew Strauss when he was only 6, but England's relief was short-lived as Davis called dead ball because Finn had knocked off the bails.

It was the fourth time he had done it in less than three overs and both South African openers had taken the chance to tell the umpires it was distracting them. Finn's habit had become so irritatingly regular it demanded a response and South Africa were professional enough to provide one.

Strauss, England's captain, jogged down from slip to protest but it was a pointless gesture. Davis was within his rights under Law 23.4 (vi) which states that either umpire can call dead ball if: "The striker is distracted by any noise or movement or in any other way while he is preparing to receive, or receiving a delivery."

England put South Africa into bat, as their selection insisted that they must, but they were not exactly imbued with attacking spirit. Strauss is a conservative captain, and his approach is perhaps favoured by his coach Andy Flower, and Smith found himself met with two slips and a gully and four fielders on the leg side, three saving a single.

Smith had worked straight balls repeatedly through the leg side during his mammoth stand with Amla at The Oval, but he had also recently returned from a long haul flight to be at the birth of his first child and had not batted since. England could at least have seen whether he got the sleep out of his eyes. As it was, Petersen took most of the new ball, Anderson chuntered to little effect, Broad was notably low on pace unless something encouraged him, Bresnan was pedestrian and England looked up against it.

It was the 38th over before England broke through. Smith had been his usual obdurate self, shovelling balls to the leg side resourcefully. He is a big man, so pugnacious that one might imagine beneath is loose-fitting shirts are an army of miniature men, permanently fighting. There was nothing threatening in the full, leg-stump delivery from Bresnan, but he turned it to Ian Bell behind square and England accepted their release gratefully.

Amla, the triple-century maker at The Oval, almost fell for a single. Broad forcing an inside edge, but the ball dying in front of the wicketkeeper, Prior, as it was also slowed by a flick of the pad. But Amla ran himself out for nine in a mix-up with Petersen, lured reluctantly into a third run after an England misfield which left Broad in a strop, but short by a couple of metres as Bresnan heaved in a powerful throw from the boundary. Kallis looked in mint form, but fell for 19 as he cut at Anderson and Cook held a fast, low catch by his bootlaces.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 4, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    @JG2704 (post on August 03 2012, 15:43 PM GMT): yeah I guess you're right - he was dropped on ~24 after all! Every dog has his day I suppose, so I should wait and see if Petersen can repeat this feat and keep up some sort of form before I eat my words from previous posts.

  • Meety on August 4, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    @OzzyHammond on (August 03 2012, 01:00 AM GMT) "... I expect that we will wrap up the rest for under 300..." only missed by a 100 odd runs!

  • JG2704 on August 3, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    @kh1902 on (August 03 2012, 00:02 AM GMT) I think the things we have to bear in mind when assessing the state of the game is that there were some overhead conditions for a while in which (partly by luck , partly by poor bowling , partly by SA digging in) we did not take wickets. If England's batsmen were doing what they were doing in 2011 then I think I'd call it even. However I thought before the inns that the only way we'd beat SA would be to restrict them to below 300 (pref below 250) and the former looks highly unlikely. It looks more likely that SA will post around 400 and I don't see this Eng batting line up overtaking that score etc although I'd love to be proven wrong.

  • JG2704 on August 3, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    @Si Baker (and others) on (August 03 2012, 00:33 AM GMT) I don't think Swann was purely a tactical thing. I'm pretty sure Eng and possibly Swann himself both realised that his injury restricted him to a degree where it was likely to make him ineffective. It does however seem a huge gamble not to call up Monty or someone as cover. I still feel Monty was made a scapegoat for the SL 1st test and this despite him being the highest wicket taker in UAE. It seems very inconsistent that a team would drop a player after one bad match after 3 excellent matches and yet were keeping faith with the same batsmen that consistently failed in UAE. I think I was very naive in thinking that they'd ever go 5/1/5 if they didn't try it out there

  • JG2704 on August 3, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 02 2012, 20:13 PM GMT) You shouldn't apologise for saying you think a player is a weak link - esp if it's going by past form. Even AP rode his luck at times yesterday and I'd still say he is nowhere near the class of Amla,Smith,Kallis,AB etc

  • thrash_metal on August 3, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    @ Hammond. LOL, a long tail? We've got a fully recognised batsmen at 7, and allrounder at 8, and Steyn at 9. Steyn is not a shabby batsmen. LOL again at your sub-300 prediction...what is it with empty cans/small minds?

  • maddy20 on August 3, 2012, 1:29 GMT

    @ kh1902 Not much? The ball is jagging around like nuts. SA are effectively 257/4 considering one of the wickets was nightwatchman Steyn. If I was an ENgland fan I would be trmbling at the prospect of facing Sten, Morkel and Philander on this wicket. SA will bat till lunch or tea score 350-400 atleast. England will fold for under 250.

  • Hammond on August 3, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    England looking pretty good. Didn't give up at 3/218 and kept coming in. The English batsmen will like this surface too. South Africa do have a long tail (even if we haven't bowled at it yet!) and I expect that we will wrap up the rest for under 300 and then after batting well first dig put pressure on South Africa. Historically they do not react well to it (aka choking etc)..

  • on August 3, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    I'm beginning to think the two Andys are starting to lose the plot bigtime. Atrocious decision to leave out Swann (if we wanted more firepower we should've played 5-1-5, with our five established batsmen followed by Prior at 6) compounded by an equally atrocious decision to bowl compounded further by some atrocious fielding (not for the first time this summer). As for Finn & his irksome habit of colliding with the stumps: c'mon, Steve, you're a highly paid international sportsman: you should've sorted this out when you were 11. No sympathy whatsoever: Smith & Petersen were absolutely right to call him on it. Well played, South Africa: you outclassed us for the fifth day in succession.

  • jmcilhinney on August 3, 2012, 0:21 GMT

    I was hasty to judge on the Finn dead ball incident. I've been saying all summer that his breaking the stumps would likely cost a wicket eventually, but I was thinking of a run out in a limited-overs game. My first thought was that the umpire had just called dead ball because the batsman was out. If that was the case then that is a very poor call. If the batsmen had mentioned to the umpire previously that it was distracting then that's another matter. The umpire probably doesn't even have to warn Finn but you'd think that that would be the decent thing. I didn't see that happen but that doesn't mean that it didn't. My issue is consistency. What if the batsman had been out the first time it happened? Would he have complained to the umpire and dead ball have been called? Smith didn't seem too distracted when he hit another dead ball to the boundary. Surely a precedent has now been set and all umpires must call dead ball every time that happens no matter who's bowling or batting.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 4, 2012, 17:39 GMT

    @JG2704 (post on August 03 2012, 15:43 PM GMT): yeah I guess you're right - he was dropped on ~24 after all! Every dog has his day I suppose, so I should wait and see if Petersen can repeat this feat and keep up some sort of form before I eat my words from previous posts.

  • Meety on August 4, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    @OzzyHammond on (August 03 2012, 01:00 AM GMT) "... I expect that we will wrap up the rest for under 300..." only missed by a 100 odd runs!

  • JG2704 on August 3, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    @kh1902 on (August 03 2012, 00:02 AM GMT) I think the things we have to bear in mind when assessing the state of the game is that there were some overhead conditions for a while in which (partly by luck , partly by poor bowling , partly by SA digging in) we did not take wickets. If England's batsmen were doing what they were doing in 2011 then I think I'd call it even. However I thought before the inns that the only way we'd beat SA would be to restrict them to below 300 (pref below 250) and the former looks highly unlikely. It looks more likely that SA will post around 400 and I don't see this Eng batting line up overtaking that score etc although I'd love to be proven wrong.

  • JG2704 on August 3, 2012, 15:44 GMT

    @Si Baker (and others) on (August 03 2012, 00:33 AM GMT) I don't think Swann was purely a tactical thing. I'm pretty sure Eng and possibly Swann himself both realised that his injury restricted him to a degree where it was likely to make him ineffective. It does however seem a huge gamble not to call up Monty or someone as cover. I still feel Monty was made a scapegoat for the SL 1st test and this despite him being the highest wicket taker in UAE. It seems very inconsistent that a team would drop a player after one bad match after 3 excellent matches and yet were keeping faith with the same batsmen that consistently failed in UAE. I think I was very naive in thinking that they'd ever go 5/1/5 if they didn't try it out there

  • JG2704 on August 3, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 02 2012, 20:13 PM GMT) You shouldn't apologise for saying you think a player is a weak link - esp if it's going by past form. Even AP rode his luck at times yesterday and I'd still say he is nowhere near the class of Amla,Smith,Kallis,AB etc

  • thrash_metal on August 3, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    @ Hammond. LOL, a long tail? We've got a fully recognised batsmen at 7, and allrounder at 8, and Steyn at 9. Steyn is not a shabby batsmen. LOL again at your sub-300 prediction...what is it with empty cans/small minds?

  • maddy20 on August 3, 2012, 1:29 GMT

    @ kh1902 Not much? The ball is jagging around like nuts. SA are effectively 257/4 considering one of the wickets was nightwatchman Steyn. If I was an ENgland fan I would be trmbling at the prospect of facing Sten, Morkel and Philander on this wicket. SA will bat till lunch or tea score 350-400 atleast. England will fold for under 250.

  • Hammond on August 3, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    England looking pretty good. Didn't give up at 3/218 and kept coming in. The English batsmen will like this surface too. South Africa do have a long tail (even if we haven't bowled at it yet!) and I expect that we will wrap up the rest for under 300 and then after batting well first dig put pressure on South Africa. Historically they do not react well to it (aka choking etc)..

  • on August 3, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    I'm beginning to think the two Andys are starting to lose the plot bigtime. Atrocious decision to leave out Swann (if we wanted more firepower we should've played 5-1-5, with our five established batsmen followed by Prior at 6) compounded by an equally atrocious decision to bowl compounded further by some atrocious fielding (not for the first time this summer). As for Finn & his irksome habit of colliding with the stumps: c'mon, Steve, you're a highly paid international sportsman: you should've sorted this out when you were 11. No sympathy whatsoever: Smith & Petersen were absolutely right to call him on it. Well played, South Africa: you outclassed us for the fifth day in succession.

  • jmcilhinney on August 3, 2012, 0:21 GMT

    I was hasty to judge on the Finn dead ball incident. I've been saying all summer that his breaking the stumps would likely cost a wicket eventually, but I was thinking of a run out in a limited-overs game. My first thought was that the umpire had just called dead ball because the batsman was out. If that was the case then that is a very poor call. If the batsmen had mentioned to the umpire previously that it was distracting then that's another matter. The umpire probably doesn't even have to warn Finn but you'd think that that would be the decent thing. I didn't see that happen but that doesn't mean that it didn't. My issue is consistency. What if the batsman had been out the first time it happened? Would he have complained to the umpire and dead ball have been called? Smith didn't seem too distracted when he hit another dead ball to the boundary. Surely a precedent has now been set and all umpires must call dead ball every time that happens no matter who's bowling or batting.

  • jmcilhinney on August 3, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    I would give the honours for the day to SA but not by a large margin. But for Cook's hands and Finn's knee it could have been very much England's day. That said, if Cook had held onto that chance from Peterson then everything that went after would have been different so, at the very least, Amla would almost certainly not have been run out. The main issue is that England have now allowed Peterson to play himself into some form/confidence. From here, if England can keep SA below 350 then I think that they'll be pleased enough but if SA can get upwards of 400, which is quite possible with 3 recognised batsmen still available, then they may rue their choice to bowl first. Most importantly though, this was an improved bowling performance from the Oval and that was badly needed. They still need some of the batsmen to stand up though.

  • kh1902 on August 3, 2012, 0:02 GMT

    I've been surprised at the manner in which both media commentators and fans alike have been making snide comments about the English team, particularly their inability to take wickets. The pitch for the first test match was essentially a flat track - if it was in the subcontinent noone would have any hesitation calling it such. People have been quick to praise South Africa's batting but if you can't score runs on a flat track, then it points to either a complete lack of discipline (like England's performance in the first innings) or you're unfortunate enough to face the only great bowler there is going around today (like England had to in the second innings). Dale Steyn made the difference and he will continue to be the main difference for the rest of the series. England don't have anyone who can bowl with the sustained pace and hostility that he can.

  • RodStark on August 2, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    One idea England should have considered if they were contemplating leaving out Swann ahead of time would have been to include Patel in the squad. I like the selection of Taylor, but Patel would have been ok at number 6 and would have provided at least a semi-decent spin option, which this XI doesn't have at all.

  • kh1902 on August 2, 2012, 23:27 GMT

    This day's cricket shows that there's not much between the the top teams. Everyone was quick to sing South Africa's praises but if England had held on to their chances today, South Africa could have been in dire straits. Initially I thought South Africa would be all over Australia when they come later this year.Now I think it will be a more even contest. Some of South Africa's highly regarded batsmen might face a tougher challenge against the quicker pace of the Australian bowlers on faster tracks. I'm surprised at how slow the English bowlers have bowled.

  • on August 2, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    Honours shared? Hardly. Four wickets (plus a nightwatchman) is a woeful return for inserting a side. South Africa's day, again, and confirming just how important a fit Swann is to the England set up. As Joni Mitchell said, 'Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?'

  • hyrclov on August 2, 2012, 23:07 GMT

    brilliant test cricket, I believe England looked flat , cook dropping that catch is not the problem here , I think the fact the south Africans are gunning at broad and Anderson ,which i enjoyed after what they did to the windies , the others have to step up , bresnan & Finn ? , strauss has to bowl pietersen for me , Finn was a huge suprise for me , where is greame onions ? , out of the wickets I think England worked for only kalis , ab , and steyn wickets , thank you

  • vrn59 on August 2, 2012, 21:46 GMT

    Strauss and Flower should not have opted for four seamers. Swann is a crucial cog in the English bowling attack and even if he is unable to pick up wickets due to poor form and unhelpful pitches, he can at least provide some control from one end. After all, spinners often play holding roles in Tests in England. Of course, Finn could take a five-for in this match and then my comment will look silly, but today he's been very expensive, which was the reason he was dropped in 2010 in the first place, and he's only yet picked up one wicket, i.e. a tailender's wicket (Steyn). Broad looked better after tea; hopefully for England, he is rediscovering some form. Anderson bowled well throughout, but as the spearhead of the attack, he needs to shoulder some responsibility and pick up more wickets. Also, Anderson and Broad must both work on their pace, which seems to have dropped this summer.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 2, 2012, 21:28 GMT

    Given that none of the bowlers ever bowled more than 87mph did it justify playing 4 of them? There is nothing that 4 bowlers of similar pace who hardly move the ball apart from Anderson can do that 3 cannot do apart from produce unattractive monotonous play. We were denied Swann for finn who one imagined woiuld bowl at speeds of 90+. Are English bowlers no longer allowed to bowl with pace or do they just become lethargic when they put on an England shirt?? Turgid boring and generally lacklustre to a T is my verdict on today, and only two late strikes saved the day. of course SA batted well,too well for my comfort given they had been inserted. Nothing at the end of the day justified any of the tactics of emplying 4 seamers and inserting SA, absolutely nothing. I think this England side have run of ideas and hit the buffer, and done so with all the evident charisma of a dead toad. No1?? Forget it.If this was better than the Oval theit could hardly have been worse.

  • subbass on August 2, 2012, 21:10 GMT

    Fairly flat pitch imo so 250 ish for 5 is not terrible, only thing is I'm pretty sure the saffer quicks will get more out of it. There just a better side really - ouch !

    I'll skip round my garden naked if we're still world number 1 at the end of the series !

  • landl47 on August 2, 2012, 20:49 GMT

    A fairly even day, but it's always difficult to judge until both sides have batted. England could have had a major advantage, though, if Cook had caught Petersen on 29 and Finn had not hit the stumps with his knee with Smith on 6. There you go, though- a #1 side shouldn't be making those mistakes. Petersen rode his luck and made a gritty hundred to keep SA's nose just in front. Still, on the bright side, Smith, Amla and Kallis made 80 runs between them, average 26.9. At the Oval they made 524, average 524!

  • StatisticsRocks on August 2, 2012, 20:45 GMT

    Well Well Well A very interesting day indeed. I would say it's pretty even right now. Peterson inspite of having scored a century never looked comfortable at the crease. Unfortunate run out for Amla and had ENG players held on to their catches I wonder what the score card would have looked like at the end of first day. It's turning out to be a good one..

  • Greatest_Game on August 2, 2012, 20:37 GMT

    @scritty. Swann is rated the no.1 spin bowler in the world? Since when? He is not even in the top 10 bowlers after his Oval performance. Ajmal-832-pts, Herath-782 pts & Rehman -704 pts are ALL ranked higher than Swann-699 pts. He is only no.1 in scritty-world.

  • JG2704 on August 2, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    @Spelele on (August 02 2012, 18:56 PM GMT) Full credit to you for not getting into gloat mode here although I'm not sure we bowled all that well

  • JG2704 on August 2, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    @Andrew Simon Carr on (August 02 2012, 16:38 PM GMT) - Difficult one. It may have been in Smith's mind but at the same time I can see how it could put the batsman off. I think the umpire's are doing the right thing as they are calling every ball Finn bowls where he hits the stumps a dead ball so that is consistent which I'm sure is what we all want

  • binojpeter on August 2, 2012, 20:33 GMT

    I believe it is honors shared after Day 1. Tomorrow's first session is going to be key. If England can restrict SA below 350, that will be a huge stride. Rest depends on how English batsmen deal with SA bowling.

  • JG2704 on August 2, 2012, 20:33 GMT

    Got to be honest, I'm disappointed with the position England are in.I had hoped that we would have taken more wickets on the 1st day of this pitch. I felt that our bowlers looked threatening when they got their lengths and lines right but it seemed they weren't consistent enough. Obviously Swann's omission is a big talking point but I feel if he wasn't hampered there's no way they'd drop him but it seems a gamble not to call up another spinner - esp if Tahir starts taking wickets. I also wonder if Onions might have been a better bet on this pitch as he is very consistent in hitting the right areas. I don't even feel that SA batsmen played too well with the ball beating the edges of the openers bats so to only have them 5 down (technically 4 down with one of the wkts being Steyn) for over 250 , coupled with our batting form and the SA bowling attack , I'm afraid I'm fairly pesimistic right now

  • phoenixsteve on August 2, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    Report card after day 1 should read: South Africa - Continue to apply themselves and make the best of their abilities. Able to benefit from a little good fortune. This team seems to understand what test cricket is about and are here to play for 5 days. Their talent in the bowling department combine well with the hard work and dedication of their slightly unorthadox batting techniques. B++ England - more application and patience is needed from this team. They must pay attention to details especially holding catches and not kicking over the wickets. They seem to be suffering from impatience and need to remember there are 12 full 2 hour sessions scheduled. The team sets itself a very high standard that it consistently fails to achieve, Could do better. C+ As the report says... there's 4 days to go but so far I have SA ahead by about 15%. COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • binojpeter on August 2, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    Playing four seamers can always be tempting. But captain has to be really watchful about over-rate and seamers will have to walk fast to their bowling mark for next delivery which most seamers don't personally like as they are recouping their energy and thinking strategy during that period. Bowling a part-time spinner to cover for lost time is not helping the team's cause anyway.

  • gimme-a-greentop on August 2, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    England did well to stay in it, at one stage it was looking like another disaster, but also helped by some soft wickets. Surely England looked at our lefties in the middle order and thought Swann was still worth a place? Strange decision, but if they win everyone will say it was a master stroke. For all the trash that people talk about Smith's captaincy on cricinfo, Strauss seems just as, if not more, conservative as a captain. The tactics in the opening session were not very attacking at all for a team that has to win. They could have put far more pressure on with the first new ball. His bowlers saved him with the second one. One last point @Front foot lunge..to get to be an international umpire you have to know that law book inside and out, and they do, the standards these days are really really high. To accuse the umpire of making things up as he goes along is to mislead on the facts of the matter.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 2, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    Decent knock by Petersen. Let me be the first to 'apologise' as I posted in another article that he was the only SA doubt and should be replaced by Faf or something like that. Great to see players fighting back like that! I think this article sums up the days play very well - I've nothing else to add for a (welcome) change!

  • jackthelad on August 2, 2012, 19:56 GMT

    Great for the first day of a Test - runs made, meaningful wickets fell - this is cricket at the top level; what England need now is for Strauss, Pietersen (in particular) and Bell (I would have added Bopara but he's not playing) to remember that there are four full days (weather willing) to go, get their heads down and grind out some runs. Not every game is a One-day game, and this one, believe it or not, has hardly begun.

  • wnwn on August 2, 2012, 19:48 GMT

    England have bowled way too short today. Headingley was where Pakistan bowled out Australia for 88 two years ago and 9 of those wickets were with very full deliveries.

  • jango_moh on August 2, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    I saw the match on and off.... pretty interesting day, i think the SA batsmen esp peterson did a pretty good job, eng bowlers were not bad, much better than the last match for sure.... i think they missed a trick by leaving swann out... one of stuart broad/bresnan should have been left out... letsee how much SA can score tom....

  • scritty on August 2, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    As an England fan I think Smith was well within his rights to complain. I've seen bowlers who whack the stumps (normally with their hand) and it's often called dead ball. Finn's knee is buckling sidways, that can't be good for his joints long term. It needs to be fixed asap. And WHERE'S THE PACE. Anderson and Broad bowled a lot of balls under 82 mph, many (not deliberate slower, back of hand balls) more were 78 or 79. It was like this last test. These guys have lost 2 yards of pace this series - the whole lot of them. Pitifull! Then leaving Swann out? With all the bowlers low on pace it became the old addage of "You can change the bowler but not the bowling" Swann is rated number one spinner in the world. Ludirous choice. Panesar should have played if Swann unfit. Picking seamers for sentimental reasons when cricketing logic says it a really poor idea.

  • The_bowlers_Holding on August 2, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Good fightback by England but day 1 advantage surely SA. I only watched the last session Finn looked good and Broad with the new ball was massivley improved. If England can utlise the new ball in the morning (only 7 overs old) and bat like they can (but haven't for some time) it could b a fascinating test. p.s. Soz for not mentioning Tendulkar I want to watch Eastenders

  • on August 2, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Dropped Swann ? Yesterday, a guy from Nepal was replying to a comment of English fan here, that considering Swann's form he would not even make it to Nepal's team. Err... Come on Strauss he is NOT that bad. Against Smith, Rudloph and Duminy (all lefties), he would have been quite good !

  • grizzle on August 2, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    Mediocre bowling in the first couple of sessions from what I consider a splendid English attack (though the omission of Swann continues to confound). England are lucky to still be in this game: the SA batsmen gave it away with silly mistakes. In any case, I am glad that the match is still evenly poised. Here's hoping for a closely fought contest between the world's top two sides!

  • Spelele on August 2, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    What silly shots by most of our batsmen! Weigh too many mistakes for one innings! Credit to England for bowling better though (although this surprisingly had nothing to do with the inclusion of Finn). The match is very well poised. 350-400 might be a good score on this pitch after being sent in to bat. It's a long way away though. I back our middle/lower order to put on about 150 more runs here. Can't wait to see Steyn and Co. bowl on this strip :)

  • aarfeen on August 2, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    well!!! at the end not bad for england but cook's dolly could have change the scenario of the match ...anyway not 2 frgt that england also started well on 1st day in 1st match but from the 2nd day nothing went right for them ...as a eng..fan ..want 2 c same thing with S.A .

  • sk12 on August 2, 2012, 18:49 GMT

    Pitch looks to be pretty lively.. Eng batsman will have a tough day tmrw.. Go SA!

  • vrn59 on August 2, 2012, 18:44 GMT

    A decent enough day for both sides: England would have been happier if they had picked up a couple of wickets more, whereas South Africa would be disappointed at the last-minute loss of de Villiers. SA's 100+-run opening partnership was very encouraging, as the only player in the team under pressure, Alviro Peterson put in a worthy performance and in fact, scored an unbeaten century by the end of the day. Smith continued with his great form by scoring a half-century. Amla was unlucky to be run out and Kallis gave away a solid start. de Villiers made a good 47 but it would have been better if he'd stayed put overnight. On the bowling front, I didn't think there was a big improvement from the previous match. Finn was expensive; England missed the control that Swann usually provides. Looks to be an interesting match though! I can't wait to watch SA bowl!

  • AKS286 on August 2, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    4 pacers good to see bresnan as an allrounder not as a 3rd seamer. the pitch looks like good for pace bowlers so african deadly barrage can again destroys the eng's fortress.

  • addicted_to_chaos on August 2, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    Broad is an excellent cricketer...... hope he will find his mojo... he is worth a place in any playing eleven (SA is an exception)...... hoping for good cricket..... Swann will be missed, I like the energy and life he brings to pitch ( may be more because of his personality than his skills...... )

  • on August 2, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    Probably on my own in thinking this, but did wonder whether Smith made an early complaint about Finn clipping the stumps to force him to bowl wider and (perhaps) negate his wicket-to-wicket effectiveness..? Encouraged that SA are concerned by an England bowler but isn't this a bit much... if you are the non-striker you should be watching your partner and looking to back up quickly if a run is on... Also the fact that Smith was given not out when caught at slip (when the stumps were clipped again) does tend to give this suggestion some credence. Hope the umpires are equally strict if the SA bowlers do the same in England's innings?

  • on August 2, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    @David Hopps. Yes well, in the lunch time report there were a total of three paragraphs about South Africa, tacked to the bottom of the article. I agree these were interesting talking points, and Cricinfo should do a feature on it. But this was a MATCH REPORT. I would like to know news about how the much was going. I would prefer to know more about what the players were doing, than about one controversial incident, and Swann's exclusion. Mention them by all means, but the story of the morning was the batsman dominance of the the bowlers.

  • on August 2, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    @ Peter Wright. There are two main areas of debate in this match today - Swann's omission and Finn repeatedly running into the stumps. Both happen to be English players. That is just how it is today. Who knows what tomorrow ill bring? I'm sure that cricinfo's package will, as ever, will be the broadest and least one-eyed nationalistic than you can find. Sadly there are a lot of messages today (not yours) that do not seek to achieve the same ends but are blatantly insulting, prejudiced nationalistic (racist in some cases) and so many of them will never see the light of day. It would be encouraging if we could lift the level of the debate a tad higher.

  • Ross_Co on August 2, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge - Look I quite agree, fancy interfering with an 'England' bowler's right to distract the batsman at the moment of delivery! Why, the next thing you know they'll be stopping 'England' from sending out a runner every second ball in the final session of a match 'England' are trying to draw. Where would the Ashes be if that sort of umpiring were allowed to go on? It's disgraceful. It really really is.

  • yorkshire-86 on August 2, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    The 'luxury' to leave out Chris Woakes? Woakes is half decent, but hasnt shown to be anything special. Anderson, Broad, Tremlett, Bresnan, Finn, Onions, Shahzad, Plunkett, Dernbach are above him in the pecking order, so they are gonna have to rest a LOT of players if Woakes is to play Test cricket.

  • SuperSaj on August 2, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    England is going to be number 3 by the end of the year as if you think this is bad..wait for the roasting in India they will get from Kohli and co. Reality check...England alongside SAF, India and a few others are all good teams in perhaps the most competitve period in global cricket for decades....simply put there is no all conquering team like Aus from late 90s to late 00s and Windies from late 70s to mid 90s.

  • Ra_Thore on August 2, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    I think the first match was a fluke. England will do the justice to their No 1 spot.

  • vamshiparuchuri on August 2, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    England is struggling, Its clear....now i want to ask a question.... few days back crickinfo rated England as one of the all time great teams of Test cricket when they beat India 4-0, after reaching No.1 position this all time great team whitewashed by Pakistan, just won only series that too against West Indies, now they are looking like minnows in front of SA.... so what Cricinfo now say about this ...what i feel exactly is by rating England as one of the all time great team, they insulted the real great teams of WI before 92 and Australia 98-08 teams .....is it wrong???

  • on August 2, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    @Peter Wright When they are talking about England you should know that they are already talking a lot about South Africa, With half the England team borrowed team.

  • sawifan on August 2, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge... making excuses a bit early aren't we. I would've thought a time that has DOMINATED all over the world could overcome such small hiccups. I guess not. Once again your beloved England are being proven to be anything but a dominating dynasty. Still, early days in this test... only 129/1 so far...

  • on August 2, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    LMAO.. the so called best bowling line up struggling to get a wkt and that too in their own backwards.. wow.. ha ha.. Oh queen give a wkt please ..lol

  • jmcilhinney on August 2, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    That first session was completely discouraging for England because at least they looked capable of taking wickets but yet another dropped catch and Finn's dead ball will deflate them somewhat. They've been dropping catches all summer but they just can't afford it against quality opposition. That was a sitter too, so even the fact that Cook is not a regular slipper is no excuse. As for the dead ball call on Finn, if the umpire warned him and the captain then fair enough I guess but I have to wonder why the decision was made then when he's done it many times this summer. Did the batsmen say something to the umpire or did the umpire decide himself that it was distracting to the batsmen? I've been saying that that habit could cost England a wicket but I was thinking about a run out. I guess every umpire has to call that dead ball every time any bowler does that now or you just can't justify calling it at all. Either it's distracting or it's not.

  • on August 2, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    I could see something like this happening, but I thought it would be a run out that was ruined.

  • no.1_multicultural_team on August 2, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    Should have gone to specsavers! haha

  • JimDavis on August 2, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Oh to have the luxury to leave out Chris Woakes. I wish Australia had such a problem

  • on August 2, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Wow, guys, do you know that there are two teams out there. Let's talk about South Africa a little more, shall we? They are the ones dominating, not so?

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 2, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    A key spinner is mandatory in test cricket IMO... couple that with the fact England have gone for 6-1-4 as expected, it's advantage SA I think. The only wickets England look like hitting so far are the ones at the non-strikers end as they run in to bowl.

  • PACERONE on August 2, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    With this knocking over of the stumps by Finn been called a DEAD BALL should be changed to No BALL.This way the only one penalized is the bowler.If the bowler touches the return crease it is a NO BALL,therefore hitting the stumps should be called a NO BALL instead of a DEAD BALL.

  • satish619chandar on August 2, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    It might sound even funny.. Blokes near me are just having when heard that the ball called dead as bowler knocked stumps.. But when the umpire informs the bowlers of it, he should be extra careful.. In fact, it had saved them more than 10 runs(as of 30 overs) but cost a big wicket too.. Why Finny repeatedly knocks down the stumps even after umpire informed him.. What if it costs wicket again? Just kiddish stuff from him..

  • satish619chandar on August 2, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    No strike with new ball.. Not what a captain wants when electing to field winning toss.. How important is it to report small things to umpires and make it official.. Sorts of professional approach by Smith saved his wicket.. Certainly not a bad decision but new decision that one.. Good job Smith and umpire.. It might just turn annoying kicking the stumps.. Just like grunting..

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 2, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Sooo Baaaadddd!!! In deference to dropping Swann they have obviously asked Finn to drop his pace. I feel strongly that the Engalnd bowlers should be administerd an electric shock every time they bowl too slowly. Otherwise pick Darren Stevens!

  • Narkovian on August 2, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    About time someone stopped Finn hitting the wicket when he bowls. It was getting ridiculous. I agree it is offputting to the batsman. Especially when you are half expecting it to happen ( ie 2 or 3 times an over). Serve ENG right if a direct throw run out was attempted at the bowler's end. It would not count if the bails were already off. Come on Finn... sort yourself out.

  • on August 2, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    It may have been a major mistake to omit Swann from this Test!

    It is always wise to have variation. Swann is a great bowler. He was wicketless in the first Test, but so was most of the other bowlers!

    This move might backfire!

  • Temuzin on August 2, 2012, 12:35 GMT

    So here is the status of England bowling so far in this series: 216 overs 721 runs 2 wickets. Isn't that amazing?

  • on August 2, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    When you win the toss - bat. If you are in doubt, think about it, then bat.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 2, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    One of the biggest problems England have had is that we have an umpire out there who's making the rules up as he goes along.

  • Highflyer_GP on August 2, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    More than 450 runs since they've taken a wicket.

  • on August 2, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    England need magic to get south africa out and seems like no magician in their bowling line up ...

  • Enigma734 on August 2, 2012, 12:16 GMT

    Its Lunch on day one, and no wicket for England yet. bet they must be thinking of the next 2 due to come in next wicket, a guy that made 311 runs and if they lucky to get him, next is a guy that has 27000 odd runs in test....this looks like Strauss time as captain is numbered...

  • Temuzin on August 2, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Vow, 216 overs bowled for 2 Wickets so far in this series. What a great bowling performance in their backyard by the world number one team. Keep it up bravo... lol....

  • on August 2, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Could they have not considered Monty Panesar?

  • maddy20 on August 2, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Looks like a repeat of first test . Deja Vu for England. With the ball neither swinging or seaming, England are all set for another couple of days on the field. With no spinner they cannot even try using the old ball to spin out the SA batsmen, who were often found wanting against quality spin. They will rue benching Panesar. I would have dropped "Golden Child" Broad for Panesar.

  • Selassie-I on August 2, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    well, that tactic paid off didn't it.

  • Meety on August 2, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    Still flumoxed & 0/84, early days.

  • landl47 on August 2, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    I think the strategy was based on the last time England played at Leeds, which was against Australia in 2009. Aus played 4 seamers and won by an innings. However, pretty much everything that could go wrong for England did go wrong in the morning- strategy, execution and luck. SA has it all going their way at the moment.

  • JG2704 on August 2, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    Well just getting towards lunch and it looks like SA's morning. Smith has played and missed a few times as has Alviro and APs mistimed pull landed safely. Just when we need some luck it's going the other way. As for the Finn/Smith wicket that's fair enough for it to be called dead ball. It seems as though SA have said that they want a dead ball every time Finn hits the wicket so I have no probs there - Finn needs to learn to avoid those stumps.

  • Percy_Fender on August 2, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    I am not too sure if a spinner as good as Swann would have been superfluous at Headingly. I am watching the S Africa bat right now and it seems like the 2002 game with India being replayed. Dravid and Bangar weathered a similar green top on that occasion after which India went on to score over 600 in the first innings. Then Kumble and Harbhajan destroyed England by an innings I think if I am not wrong. I do not know what the weather forecast for the latter part of the game is that Strauss talks about to justify putting South Africa in to bat after winning the toss. I get the feeling that putting South Africa in is because Strauss felt unnerved by the presence of Steyn, Morkel and Philander on a green top. I think England should have batted first.

  • EnglishCricket on August 2, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    This is a very very risky selection mid you it was a total surprise for everyone. If Swann is injured fine but what they should've done is that replace Swann for another quality spinner Panesar or even use Tredwell and replace Broad for Finn then England may have a sniff. I just hope we don't lose this Test match.

  • gondal007 on August 2, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    higher the risk higher the return :)

  • on August 2, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    Sturat Broad should have been dropped!...he is the only one who is in the team on the back of one good summber rather than overall improvement..Bresnan and Swann are far more reliable with bat and ball..btw i'm an ardent Indian fan :)

  • priceless on August 2, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Can somebody comment !! Why is Nic Compton's name never mentioned for an England place.?? Have England decided no more South Africans perhaps?? He is by far the most successful batter in UK this season. 20% + more runs than his nearest colleagues.

  • JG2704 on August 2, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    @Meety on (August 02 2012, 10:19 AM GMT) Who knows what goes through the mind of the selectors.IMO Swann's injury must be hampering him as I really don't feel Eng would drop Swann as a tactical thing. Personally , I wonder if Eng have ran out of patience with Monty after the 1st SL test despite him being our highest wicket taker in UAE in 1 less test than all our other bowlers.It seems strange that they have seemingly infinite patience with going 6/1/4 when our number 6 has been failing for months/years.I give up on our selectors I really do.

  • JG2704 on August 2, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    @satish619chandar on (August 02 2012, 10:31 AM GMT) Re "Not much have been done by spinners in England for a long time" - so I guess you mean that SL and UAE are a long time ago ? Agree it might be a while since Swann had test success in England.

  • on August 2, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    They can still use KP to bowl spin if required though he's part-time.

  • Madselector on August 2, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    "Golden child" Broad... loved this...

  • satish619chandar on August 2, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Not much have been done by spinners in England for a long time and Swann is effective only against lefties these days.. Even in UAE and SL, he was at his best against lefties and struggled a bit against right handers.. the problem England have now is, if the new ball goes unproductive for them, they might be in for a long haul.. With all four being right armers(and almost similar), their attack might lie down as one dimensional.. However, they might be a different blokes with strikes in new ball and get in the big guns with lesser score on the board.. Let us see how things go on..

  • UAETigers on August 2, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    Risky move to drop your key and lone spinner!!

  • Meety on August 2, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Wow! High risk strategy. I assume it must be injury related, although I suppose that would of meant Panesar brought in as cover.

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  • Meety on August 2, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Wow! High risk strategy. I assume it must be injury related, although I suppose that would of meant Panesar brought in as cover.

  • UAETigers on August 2, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    Risky move to drop your key and lone spinner!!

  • satish619chandar on August 2, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Not much have been done by spinners in England for a long time and Swann is effective only against lefties these days.. Even in UAE and SL, he was at his best against lefties and struggled a bit against right handers.. the problem England have now is, if the new ball goes unproductive for them, they might be in for a long haul.. With all four being right armers(and almost similar), their attack might lie down as one dimensional.. However, they might be a different blokes with strikes in new ball and get in the big guns with lesser score on the board.. Let us see how things go on..

  • Madselector on August 2, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    "Golden child" Broad... loved this...

  • on August 2, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    They can still use KP to bowl spin if required though he's part-time.

  • JG2704 on August 2, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    @satish619chandar on (August 02 2012, 10:31 AM GMT) Re "Not much have been done by spinners in England for a long time" - so I guess you mean that SL and UAE are a long time ago ? Agree it might be a while since Swann had test success in England.

  • JG2704 on August 2, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    @Meety on (August 02 2012, 10:19 AM GMT) Who knows what goes through the mind of the selectors.IMO Swann's injury must be hampering him as I really don't feel Eng would drop Swann as a tactical thing. Personally , I wonder if Eng have ran out of patience with Monty after the 1st SL test despite him being our highest wicket taker in UAE in 1 less test than all our other bowlers.It seems strange that they have seemingly infinite patience with going 6/1/4 when our number 6 has been failing for months/years.I give up on our selectors I really do.

  • priceless on August 2, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    Can somebody comment !! Why is Nic Compton's name never mentioned for an England place.?? Have England decided no more South Africans perhaps?? He is by far the most successful batter in UK this season. 20% + more runs than his nearest colleagues.

  • on August 2, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    Sturat Broad should have been dropped!...he is the only one who is in the team on the back of one good summber rather than overall improvement..Bresnan and Swann are far more reliable with bat and ball..btw i'm an ardent Indian fan :)

  • gondal007 on August 2, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    higher the risk higher the return :)