England v SA, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 2nd day August 3, 2012

England can still win - Broad

39

Despite resuming on the third day with a deficit of 371 runs, Stuart Broad has insisted that England can still win the second Test at Leeds and level the series against South Africa.

Having been put in by England, South Africa scored 419 but Broad, the England allrounder, called on his team-mates to replicate their efforts of 12 months ago at Edgbaston when they amassed 710 for 7 against India, with Alastair Cook contributing an epic 294. Then, according to Broad, England will be in a good position to exploit any uneven bounce in the pitch on the last day.

"We need one of those Edgbaston knocks - 600 or so - and then to put South Africa under pressure on the last day," Broad said. "I think this wicket will eventually get lower, and that's where the four quick bowlers can come into their own - hitting the pitch, and the ball going underground.

"We need to learn from what the South Africans did as well. We're in no rush here with the bat. We can just settle in, take our time and try to build as big a total as we can. Our number one priority with the bat is to try to be patient, and look as big as we can.

"Being none down for us was vital tonight, and tomorrow morning the first hour will be huge - because we all have one job, and that's to bat as big and as long as we possibly can."

Broad defended England's decision to insert South Africa and their decision to omit a specialist spinner from their side for the first time since 2003. While part-time spinner Kevin Pietersen claimed the wicket of Jacques Rudolph with just his second delivery - a sharply turning offbreak - Broad suggested that was a one-off and the pitch would not offer much assistance to South Africa's legspinner Imran Tahir.

"There's always that expectation and pressure when you win the toss and bowl, that the opposition team won't get 400," Broad said. "But wicket-wise, I don't think it was that dangerous to bat on. It took a fantastic knock from Petersen, with 180. He played and missed a huge amount, but obviously played fantastically well to get there. It took that to stop us bowling them out a little bit cheaper.

"I think Rudolph was quite unlucky - because it was the only ball that turned all day. Nothing else really did anything. There were a few raised eyebrows when that ball did turn but nothing else really threatened, so I don't think there are too many panic alarms."

Broad did sound one note of caution. Headingley has a reputation as a ground that favours seamers when there is heavy cloud cover and he admitted England would rather the game was a rain-ruined draw than have to face Dale Steyn and co. in bowler-friendly conditions.

"We hope the weather will be good to us," Broad said. "We hope it is either sunny, or raining, because we don't want that heavy cloud. We'd be in a bit of trouble then.

"That was one of the reasons why we bowled first. The forecast was so bad over the weekend, our best chance was to try to bowl South Africa out on day one and then the ball was in our court. But we can't do much about the weather."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hammond on August 4, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    @Fourworldcups- incredibly amusing that "18 months" just misses a 3-1 wallop England served out last time they visited here.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    @Meety on (August 04 2012, 09:07 AM GMT) The reason why I see it as a less risk strategy is that I feel no more confident (batting wise) in having 6 batsmen as 5. At least having 5 bowlers gives us a better chance of closing the gap with the ball

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    As I've said before , I don't actually find it that strange to leave Swann out. This is based on my thoughts that Swann is severely hampered by his injury. If it purely is tactical then I would say this would be irational and regardless they should have called up Monty or another spinner. Even KP looked threatening so it is surely already looking a bad decision

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    @rahulcricket007 on (August 04 2012, 07:38 AM GMT) You're talking jargon again. Can't remember which test it was but it would either have been the 3rd test in UAE or the 1st test in SL. The test where Eng were bowled out for 70 odd was one where we only needed 150 odd to win so why would cricinfo post about Broad saying Eng could chase 150..?

  • rahulcricket007 on August 4, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    SO COOK HAD GONE NOW . LBW TO PHULANDER . NO EDGABUSTON MAGIC FOR BROAD .

  • on August 4, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    I dont know what Broad has been smoking but he's not on this planet. IF england make 600 that would take them into the 5th day(maybe the end of the 4th) then the bowlers(medium pacers) will have to bowl SA out in less than 100 overs or less. This would require NO rain at all and for eng to bat in sunny conditions then bowl in overcast conditions and even then its a long shot. Reality is, Englands best shot is to go for a draw. Hopefully Eng will drop broad at lords and bring in a bowler who can actually take wickets, maybe then they have a chance of keeping their nr 1 spot.

  • Meety on August 4, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    @JG2704 - I know your reasoning, & I don't disagree with the merit, I just think it is high risk against a quality bowling unit to go in with 5 specialist batsmen & a string of capable low order batsmen. This maybe because I rate Steyn so highly. I think he is the type of bowler, that if the conditions are right, he can run thru a line up, & if you are 3 down at drinks on the first morning, with just Prior & the "tail" to come, it starts to look bleak. On a slightly different line, stating the bleeding obvious, but ASSUMING, 5/1/5 gets the nod, I would ASSUME, that would include at least ONE spinner?

  • The_bowlers_Holding on August 4, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    The weather is going to be the biggest factor with the forecast for overcast or rainy certainly likely to be favourable bowling conditions, therefore England scoring another 450 runs is unlikely. Rahulcricket007 using the caps lock is such an intelligent way to get your well rounded pov across I wish I had thought of that.

  • Gregg22 on August 4, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    Very interesting comments by Broad. Well, most of them were so contradicting i squirmed a bit while reading them. Didn't make any sense whatsoever. From a logical point of view(not the England dressing room) at least. The only thing that can prevent us(that's SOUTH AFRICA) from winning this is rain. I do not foresee such a hapless performance from our bowling attack as India had. So England better start doing the rain dance. Shouldn't be such a tough ask considering weather there in general.

  • rahulcricket007 on August 4, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    DID ANY ONE REMEMBER THAT SAME BROAD SAID THAT ENGLAND CAN CHASE ANYTHING LESS THAN 200 EASILY ON BATTING FOURTH IN ABU DHABI AGAINST PAKISTAN . WHAT HAPPENED ? ENG WERE BOWLED OUT FOR A HUMILIATING 72 BY PAKISTAN . SAME WILL BE HAPPENED HERE . ENGLAND WILL BE BOWLED OUT FOR 320-340 . SA WILL GET 80 RUN LEAD & THEN MAKE 280-300 IN SECOND INNINGS TO PUT A TARGET OF 370-380 FOR ENGLAND IN FOURTH INNINGS .

  • Hammond on August 4, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    @Fourworldcups- incredibly amusing that "18 months" just misses a 3-1 wallop England served out last time they visited here.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    @Meety on (August 04 2012, 09:07 AM GMT) The reason why I see it as a less risk strategy is that I feel no more confident (batting wise) in having 6 batsmen as 5. At least having 5 bowlers gives us a better chance of closing the gap with the ball

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    As I've said before , I don't actually find it that strange to leave Swann out. This is based on my thoughts that Swann is severely hampered by his injury. If it purely is tactical then I would say this would be irational and regardless they should have called up Monty or another spinner. Even KP looked threatening so it is surely already looking a bad decision

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    @rahulcricket007 on (August 04 2012, 07:38 AM GMT) You're talking jargon again. Can't remember which test it was but it would either have been the 3rd test in UAE or the 1st test in SL. The test where Eng were bowled out for 70 odd was one where we only needed 150 odd to win so why would cricinfo post about Broad saying Eng could chase 150..?

  • rahulcricket007 on August 4, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    SO COOK HAD GONE NOW . LBW TO PHULANDER . NO EDGABUSTON MAGIC FOR BROAD .

  • on August 4, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    I dont know what Broad has been smoking but he's not on this planet. IF england make 600 that would take them into the 5th day(maybe the end of the 4th) then the bowlers(medium pacers) will have to bowl SA out in less than 100 overs or less. This would require NO rain at all and for eng to bat in sunny conditions then bowl in overcast conditions and even then its a long shot. Reality is, Englands best shot is to go for a draw. Hopefully Eng will drop broad at lords and bring in a bowler who can actually take wickets, maybe then they have a chance of keeping their nr 1 spot.

  • Meety on August 4, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    @JG2704 - I know your reasoning, & I don't disagree with the merit, I just think it is high risk against a quality bowling unit to go in with 5 specialist batsmen & a string of capable low order batsmen. This maybe because I rate Steyn so highly. I think he is the type of bowler, that if the conditions are right, he can run thru a line up, & if you are 3 down at drinks on the first morning, with just Prior & the "tail" to come, it starts to look bleak. On a slightly different line, stating the bleeding obvious, but ASSUMING, 5/1/5 gets the nod, I would ASSUME, that would include at least ONE spinner?

  • The_bowlers_Holding on August 4, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    The weather is going to be the biggest factor with the forecast for overcast or rainy certainly likely to be favourable bowling conditions, therefore England scoring another 450 runs is unlikely. Rahulcricket007 using the caps lock is such an intelligent way to get your well rounded pov across I wish I had thought of that.

  • Gregg22 on August 4, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    Very interesting comments by Broad. Well, most of them were so contradicting i squirmed a bit while reading them. Didn't make any sense whatsoever. From a logical point of view(not the England dressing room) at least. The only thing that can prevent us(that's SOUTH AFRICA) from winning this is rain. I do not foresee such a hapless performance from our bowling attack as India had. So England better start doing the rain dance. Shouldn't be such a tough ask considering weather there in general.

  • rahulcricket007 on August 4, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    DID ANY ONE REMEMBER THAT SAME BROAD SAID THAT ENGLAND CAN CHASE ANYTHING LESS THAN 200 EASILY ON BATTING FOURTH IN ABU DHABI AGAINST PAKISTAN . WHAT HAPPENED ? ENG WERE BOWLED OUT FOR A HUMILIATING 72 BY PAKISTAN . SAME WILL BE HAPPENED HERE . ENGLAND WILL BE BOWLED OUT FOR 320-340 . SA WILL GET 80 RUN LEAD & THEN MAKE 280-300 IN SECOND INNINGS TO PUT A TARGET OF 370-380 FOR ENGLAND IN FOURTH INNINGS .

  • Fourworldcups on August 4, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    @ Hammond, on results over the last 18 months, Aus are a far superior Test side than England. Poms could potentially fight back from here but I'm certainly they won't.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    @Meety on (August 03 2012, 22:37 PM GMT) I don't really see 5/1/5 as a high risk strategy at all. Obviously if Eng win this game (massive IF) and if JT has a massive game then it becomes a risk. Before this game our number 7 and 8 had averaged better than our number 6. It would be a high risk strategy if we had an established consistent number 6 so the reason why it is not is because you're not taking much away from the batting

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    @Trickstar on (August 03 2012, 21:44 PM GMT) Hate to say it but I actually think the chances of us going 5/1/5 anywhere is very remote. I'm sure Swann is hampered but I still feel it is extremely naive not going for Monty or someone on this pitch.

  • Meety on August 4, 2012, 6:59 GMT

    @pommyadders - everything you said I agree with, except regarding the "tail". I think England have a good tail, but I don't think it is as effective against a quality bowling line up. Now that I've said that, Bresnan & Broad will probably get a run a ball century stand! @jezzastyles - re: kick up the.., what do you think of the Oz A tour so far?

  • Hammond on August 4, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    @jonesy2- my question to you is- if England are so ordinary then what does that make Australia?

  • Surajdon9 on August 4, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Match will draw due 2 rain and English camp will be the Happy Camp....

  • jezzastyles on August 4, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    AUS should, in hindsight, thank ENG for the much needed "kick up the arse" that was the last Ashes series; it saw the demise of Ponting's captaincy, thankfully, and highlighted the flaws throughout the team, batting & bowling. Since then, our bowling has grown in strength, while the batting has made progress but still has a long way to go, especially once Ponting and Hussey leave the scene. However, on what we've seen so far in this series, the Pommy bowling attack is way down on form, all of the bowlers have been below par. Credit must be given to the SA batsmen for the disciplined and professional manner in which they have gone about dismantling the Pommy bowlers!! The ENG batting lineup must deliver, and they need to score runs at a decent clip to have any hope of establishing a big enough lead to have any meaning. Hope the rain stays away.

  • AMAZINGFAN on August 4, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    i feel eng will not even score 350.i expect steyn & co to destroy eng's batting.eng is going to have tough times later this year when they tour india.

  • jonesy2 on August 4, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    my question is. who is going to listen to broad? the fact that he is still playing test cricket is a testiment to how incredibly ordinary england are. some goes for most of the side but then again who else are they going to pick, the bottle is bone dry

  • jmcilhinney on August 4, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    There are plenty happy to criticise Strauss for putting SA in to bat but I can't agree. Take out Petersen's innings, which would have been the case if Cook hadn't dropped a sitter, and England would quite possibly be in a strong position. England's crime was poor catching, not a poor decision at the toss.

  • jmcilhinney on August 4, 2012, 4:40 GMT

    Realistically, England are up against it here but being prepared for the worst doesn't mean you shouldn't plan for the best. There seems to be an assumption in some quarters that SA are now infallible but that is far from the case. England need a good showing with the bat here and, while it may not happen, they have to go in believing that it's possible. If they can end day 3 about level with SA and wickets in hand then they can push hard for a session or session and a half then they can put some pressure on the SA batting. In that case anything can happen. While it would be a shame to win just because of this, it also looks like England may only have to take 9 wickets as Petersen may not be able to bat again. This is all reliant on the weather holding out of course.

  • Patchmaster on August 4, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    Can anyone answer why Mr Broad is now a medium pacer, bowling at around 82kph ? He used to be so much faster - what happened ?

  • henchart on August 4, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Broad Jr. ,before invoking Edgbaston 2011 ,probably forgot that opponents this time are not overrated ,overpaid flat track bullies from the sub continent who are waiting to annihilate his team on dust bowls in winter.

  • immit13 on August 4, 2012, 3:32 GMT

    When a player's team is down such statements are always there from one or the other team member, I surely can inspire the side but it also puts a lot of extra burden on them. Anyways i don't care as I am supporting SA to go out and achieve their deserved TEST ranking. I still remember such statements from Indian side last year and we all know what happened!!!

  • Sinhaya on August 4, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    As per BBC weather forecast, no play will be possible today after 1PM. Also, tomorrow too heavy rains are forecast.

  • Meety on August 4, 2012, 2:41 GMT

    If England do get 600 runs, Broad will almost look like Nostradamus!

  • on August 4, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    height of optimism mr.broad scoring 700? against a south african attack!!! it s possible only against india and in england only because the indian attack in english conditions was less than average at best

  • on August 4, 2012, 0:43 GMT

    fellas ... lets no jump ship here ... 180 run lead with 5 session makes a good game, i agree with broad here and please dont say england can't post 600 :l

  • on August 4, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    In a cricinfo article after the first Test the word "honesty" was used numerous times by the writer and in quotes from the English players. Where is that honesty here? Does Broad truly believe that Tahir isn't going to get at least a few to turn? That KP is the only spin bowler that can manage to get just ONE ball to turn on this pitch? If it wasn't so dangerous to bat out there, why did England insert SA? If it wasn't so dangerous, why did it require the "fantastic knock" from Petersen to prevent SA being bowled out cheaply? If you win the toss and insert a side, why are you saying that you "can't do much about the weather"? This kind of interview is disappointing to say the least. Somebody gave Broad the dressing room hymn sheet and asked him to sing like a cherub for the journalists.

  • pommyadders on August 4, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    @Meety, clearly the England camp think the same as you do re 5 bowlers being high risk but I'm really not so sure it is in Eng's case. Back when we had Flintoff, we played 5 bowlers and could so so because we considered him a genuine allrounder, but when I think back on his career there was probably only a short period in and around 2005 where I'd consider him a genuine batsmen. The rest of the time he was very hit and miss and only "just". With our current middle order of Bresnan, Broad and Swann, whilst none of them are genuine allrounders, between the 3 of them they surely add up as one?? We have one of the best wicket keeper batsmen currently playing test cricket so I honestly think we can go 5-1-5 and still have a better balanced side than we did back in Big Freds day when we last fielded a side like that consistently.

  • Beertjie on August 4, 2012, 0:05 GMT

    At last an honest assessment by an England supporter, @The_bowlers_Holding. You've hot it spot on when you write "Australia and India softened us up with their poor showings". These rankings are at best a rough guide to test cricket supremacy which would be much better assessed through the test match knock-out system to be introduced within a few years. What is beyond doubt imo is that for England South Africa have ALWAYS been "a worthy adversary the like of which we haven't faced for a while at home". People who should know better should not have been singing England's praises so LOUDLY before this series. It must be because of being starved of said supremacy that the #1 ranking featured so prominently. Well let's hope that shortly all of this nonsense can be laid to rest and honest appraisals (in which mental aspects play as important a role as stats) taking on board qualities of temperament, grittiness etc. can come to the fore again in assessing the qualities of players/teams.

  • yorkshirematt on August 3, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    I think England know they've made two huge mistakes, firstly by leaving Swann out, or if he is injured then playing Panesar instead, and secondly putting SA in to bat, and they'll be happy to leave here with a draw, have a rethink, and then see what they can do at Lords.

  • The_bowlers_Holding on August 3, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    I strongly feel a draw is the best we can expect from this game and then on to Lords where who knows but we don't seem to win many there against tough opponents. England seem to have lost a bit of oomph in the field or maybe it is just good resolute test batting from a worthy adversary the like of which we haven't faced for a while at home and came unstuck against in UAE. Australia and India softened us up with their poor showings so I suppose it is an international conspiracy to deprive us of prolonged dominace alas; we are doing ok in the Olympics mind you (deflection).

  • Meety on August 3, 2012, 22:37 GMT

    @JG2704 - I think Swanny in Sri Lanka in the 1st test (re: 1st sentence)! A 2nd innings collapse is what England need, whereby Sth Africa get rolled under 200, & that's providing that England bat into the 4th Day. Both big IFs, but plausible, they'll really be regretting not having a specialist spin option now as to win, they'll be bowling on the 4th & 5 th day pitch! 5/1/5 is the way to go should this test be drawn or won by the Saffas (IMO), an England win would mean the higher risk strategy of only 5 specialist batsmen is a less appealing risk/reward strategy. I know the 6th batsmen has not conributed much to the England cause in recent times, but I genuinely feel it is a big risk playing 5 specialist batsmen against any attack with Steyn in it. England have a very good batting tail, but I don't think they'll boss a disciplined Saffa bowling attack like they could or would against India. Should the Saffas win this test, the 3rd test is moot.

  • thruthecovers on August 3, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    I'd say a draw is currently the most likely outcome. If I had to put percentages on it, 60% for the draw and 20% for a win either way. A cluster of early wickets for SA would see their chances improve significantly but big partnerships for ENG only slightly as partnerships takes time and ENG might run out of it in the end. Then there still is the weather, which is supposed to deteriorate. My gut says draw

  • pommyadders on August 3, 2012, 22:29 GMT

    Agree with both your comments. I've been campaigning for 5 bowlers since the day Collingwood retired. The chance of an Eng win in this test is very remote, if we bat well then a draw is by far the most likely outcome here. Going into Lords 1-0 down we have to go for broke and to me that means Swann (if fit) or Monty in for Taylor, no matter how well he goes here. Broad asking for an Edgbaston effort here with the bat is all very well, but we bowled India out for 200 odd in their 1st innings in that test. SA have 400 on the board and you don't lose too many tests from there. If we bat well and bat long we'll be saving the test not making ground to win it IMO.

  • Trickstar on August 3, 2012, 21:44 GMT

    @JG2704 I agree, the chances of a 5 man attack should be very high at Lords, especially if this game ends in a draw, bring back Swann then go with him and Jimmy, Broad, Bres and Finn and move Prior to 6. Will be a funny one if Taylor does have a good debut and sores runs but needs must. Got a feeling Swann's more injured than they're making out and if that's so, got to go with Monty instead, which wouldn't be a bad bet for the right handers.

  • Trickstar on August 3, 2012, 21:37 GMT

    Problem is any win for either side is the weather, next 3 days has thunderstorms and showers throughout the day, so who knows how much play we'll have. One hope is if SA bowl like they did this evening, it could be possible to put up a good score, they were far from their best but the openers still had to bat well. We need the openers to both get close to a hundred to give us a chance , then for Trott to do his thing and then for a KP special, a bit like he did the other month in SL a run a ball 150 or in the the last Ashes, where he smashed 220 odd very quickly. It's good to see they still believe but If the weather makes the draw more likely, I really do fancy England at Lords with Swann back because it's been a good ground for us and you can always expect a SA collapse and defeat in at least one game in a series.

  • JG2704 on August 3, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    Didn't we hear this on one of our SC tours and I'm sure we'll get similar comms on this one. Realistically I'd say 65%+ SA win , 30% draw and -5% Eng win. Eng have to do something they've not done since the last Ashes series and bat well while under scoreboard pressure to stand any chance and without the spin option our chances must be further hampered. If we get a draw in this one - especially if it's a level(ish) draw - then we have to hope we'll take momentum into the final test. I still say 5/1/5 should be the way - and even more so if this game ends in a draw - as we'd have to win the final test and surely it's better to be defeated 2-0 whilst giving your best shot to level the series than it is to go safety first under such circumstances. A 1-0 defeat is no use whatsoever

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  • JG2704 on August 3, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    Didn't we hear this on one of our SC tours and I'm sure we'll get similar comms on this one. Realistically I'd say 65%+ SA win , 30% draw and -5% Eng win. Eng have to do something they've not done since the last Ashes series and bat well while under scoreboard pressure to stand any chance and without the spin option our chances must be further hampered. If we get a draw in this one - especially if it's a level(ish) draw - then we have to hope we'll take momentum into the final test. I still say 5/1/5 should be the way - and even more so if this game ends in a draw - as we'd have to win the final test and surely it's better to be defeated 2-0 whilst giving your best shot to level the series than it is to go safety first under such circumstances. A 1-0 defeat is no use whatsoever

  • Trickstar on August 3, 2012, 21:37 GMT

    Problem is any win for either side is the weather, next 3 days has thunderstorms and showers throughout the day, so who knows how much play we'll have. One hope is if SA bowl like they did this evening, it could be possible to put up a good score, they were far from their best but the openers still had to bat well. We need the openers to both get close to a hundred to give us a chance , then for Trott to do his thing and then for a KP special, a bit like he did the other month in SL a run a ball 150 or in the the last Ashes, where he smashed 220 odd very quickly. It's good to see they still believe but If the weather makes the draw more likely, I really do fancy England at Lords with Swann back because it's been a good ground for us and you can always expect a SA collapse and defeat in at least one game in a series.

  • Trickstar on August 3, 2012, 21:44 GMT

    @JG2704 I agree, the chances of a 5 man attack should be very high at Lords, especially if this game ends in a draw, bring back Swann then go with him and Jimmy, Broad, Bres and Finn and move Prior to 6. Will be a funny one if Taylor does have a good debut and sores runs but needs must. Got a feeling Swann's more injured than they're making out and if that's so, got to go with Monty instead, which wouldn't be a bad bet for the right handers.

  • pommyadders on August 3, 2012, 22:29 GMT

    Agree with both your comments. I've been campaigning for 5 bowlers since the day Collingwood retired. The chance of an Eng win in this test is very remote, if we bat well then a draw is by far the most likely outcome here. Going into Lords 1-0 down we have to go for broke and to me that means Swann (if fit) or Monty in for Taylor, no matter how well he goes here. Broad asking for an Edgbaston effort here with the bat is all very well, but we bowled India out for 200 odd in their 1st innings in that test. SA have 400 on the board and you don't lose too many tests from there. If we bat well and bat long we'll be saving the test not making ground to win it IMO.

  • thruthecovers on August 3, 2012, 22:33 GMT

    I'd say a draw is currently the most likely outcome. If I had to put percentages on it, 60% for the draw and 20% for a win either way. A cluster of early wickets for SA would see their chances improve significantly but big partnerships for ENG only slightly as partnerships takes time and ENG might run out of it in the end. Then there still is the weather, which is supposed to deteriorate. My gut says draw

  • Meety on August 3, 2012, 22:37 GMT

    @JG2704 - I think Swanny in Sri Lanka in the 1st test (re: 1st sentence)! A 2nd innings collapse is what England need, whereby Sth Africa get rolled under 200, & that's providing that England bat into the 4th Day. Both big IFs, but plausible, they'll really be regretting not having a specialist spin option now as to win, they'll be bowling on the 4th & 5 th day pitch! 5/1/5 is the way to go should this test be drawn or won by the Saffas (IMO), an England win would mean the higher risk strategy of only 5 specialist batsmen is a less appealing risk/reward strategy. I know the 6th batsmen has not conributed much to the England cause in recent times, but I genuinely feel it is a big risk playing 5 specialist batsmen against any attack with Steyn in it. England have a very good batting tail, but I don't think they'll boss a disciplined Saffa bowling attack like they could or would against India. Should the Saffas win this test, the 3rd test is moot.

  • The_bowlers_Holding on August 3, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    I strongly feel a draw is the best we can expect from this game and then on to Lords where who knows but we don't seem to win many there against tough opponents. England seem to have lost a bit of oomph in the field or maybe it is just good resolute test batting from a worthy adversary the like of which we haven't faced for a while at home and came unstuck against in UAE. Australia and India softened us up with their poor showings so I suppose it is an international conspiracy to deprive us of prolonged dominace alas; we are doing ok in the Olympics mind you (deflection).

  • yorkshirematt on August 3, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    I think England know they've made two huge mistakes, firstly by leaving Swann out, or if he is injured then playing Panesar instead, and secondly putting SA in to bat, and they'll be happy to leave here with a draw, have a rethink, and then see what they can do at Lords.

  • Beertjie on August 4, 2012, 0:05 GMT

    At last an honest assessment by an England supporter, @The_bowlers_Holding. You've hot it spot on when you write "Australia and India softened us up with their poor showings". These rankings are at best a rough guide to test cricket supremacy which would be much better assessed through the test match knock-out system to be introduced within a few years. What is beyond doubt imo is that for England South Africa have ALWAYS been "a worthy adversary the like of which we haven't faced for a while at home". People who should know better should not have been singing England's praises so LOUDLY before this series. It must be because of being starved of said supremacy that the #1 ranking featured so prominently. Well let's hope that shortly all of this nonsense can be laid to rest and honest appraisals (in which mental aspects play as important a role as stats) taking on board qualities of temperament, grittiness etc. can come to the fore again in assessing the qualities of players/teams.

  • pommyadders on August 4, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    @Meety, clearly the England camp think the same as you do re 5 bowlers being high risk but I'm really not so sure it is in Eng's case. Back when we had Flintoff, we played 5 bowlers and could so so because we considered him a genuine allrounder, but when I think back on his career there was probably only a short period in and around 2005 where I'd consider him a genuine batsmen. The rest of the time he was very hit and miss and only "just". With our current middle order of Bresnan, Broad and Swann, whilst none of them are genuine allrounders, between the 3 of them they surely add up as one?? We have one of the best wicket keeper batsmen currently playing test cricket so I honestly think we can go 5-1-5 and still have a better balanced side than we did back in Big Freds day when we last fielded a side like that consistently.