England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 4th day

South Africa resist before heavy rain

The Report by David Hopps

August 5, 2012

Comments: 99 | Text size: A | A

South Africa 419 and 39 for 0 (Rudolph 21*, Smith 17*) lead England 425 (Pietersen 149, Prior 68) by 33 runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Morne Morkel appeals successfully for the wicket of Kevin Pietersen, England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 4th day, August 5, 2012
Morne Morkel struck with his second ball of the day © Getty Images
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The favourite statistic at Headingley as the second Test endured a soggy fourth day was that if Yorkshire was a country - and to many people up here it is - it would be lying seventh in the Olympics medal table. The phrase "a strong Yorkshire is a strong England" used to be reserved exclusively for cricket, but the thought that it now had wider currency cheered up the cognoscenti as the rain tippled down.

A Test that has been played out in the shadow of the Olympics has already had to contend with disruption by rain to the extent that it could become that rare thing: a Headingley draw. Leeds has witnessed a positive results in its last 12 Tests, but the 13th will have to provide quite a final day to extend the trend when South Africa begin with a lead of 33 and all ten second-innings wickets remaining.

An exhilarating century from Kevin Pietersen apart, this has been at best a worthy Test - most admirable in the colossal show of dedication by Alviro Petersen whose own hundred came with a price, a grade one hamstring strain which will take a week to heal and which will leave him walking his runs if he is forced to bat.

South Africa are under physical strain. Smith, their redoubtable captain, did field and bat on the fourth day, but with a knee heavily strapped after injuring himself on Saturday evening when he slid to prevent a boundary. Most disturbing of all for South Africa, Jacques Kallis had developed lower back spasms overnight that ruled him out of bowling or fielding for the rest of England's innings. It might even rule him out of the rest of the series.

South Africa's injuries are bringing England hope. Given a dry day, they will imagine they still might dismiss a disrupted South Africa batting order for 150 within 50 overs if Headingley delivers one of its most bowler-friendly mornings. The situation is exacerbated by the ICC's controversial change in playing regulations last year that will prevent any of the three injured players batting with a runner.

England had gained a slender lead of six after Matt Prior hit a vigorous 68, a positive innings from a player who once again emphasised his qualities as a selfless team man, playing the situation never influenced by individual considerations, his contributions often underplayed.

But but they could not separate Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph before the clouds rolled back for the final time and will have been disappointed with the lack of reward in the 17 overs possible on an thundery afternoon that looked blessed for bowling. The pitch remains sound and slow - there is nothing for short - and any mischief will have to come in the air.

In their anxiety to make good use of a tiny bowling window before lunch, England conceded an umpiring review when Rod Tucker's refusal of an optimistic James Anderson lbw appeal against Smith was upheld.

Before the over could be completed, a flash of lightning sent the players scurrying for the pavilion. Rain began to fall seconds later, forcing lunch to be taken a few minutes early and restricting South Africa's time at the crease to 2.3 overs. The new ball was swinging and South Africa were grateful to reach lunch unscathed in the hope of more settled weather ahead.

After the interval there was a more sustained period of cricket and England passed - or found - the edge on a number of occasions without reward. Rudolph, opening in place of the injured Petersen, edged over the slips when a ball took the shoulder of the bat and also edged short of gully. To have a realistic chance of forcing a result, England needed early wickets but that has not looked likely from the attack at any stage in this series.

Earlier, Kevin Pietersen's outstanding Test century turned out to be only a Saturday spectacular. He fell to the second ball of the morning, lbw to Morne Morkel. After a quick glance at his batting partner, Prior, he strolled off with a broad smile and no thoughts of turning to DRS.

The mood initially was very much that of the morning after the night before. The packed Headingley crowds of the first three days had not entirely been repeated in a patchy fourth-day attendance and Pietersen, advancing slightly to work Morkel into the leg side, found that another adrenalin rush was beyond him.

England, 1-0 down in the series, needed the match to progress quickly, a situation that eminently suited Prior, who is a counter-attacking cricketer by nature. He despatched the quicks crisply through the off side, while the Yorkshireman, Tim Bresnan, resisted pawkily alongside him before he edged Vernon Philander to slip.

It needed Imran Tahir to quell Prior by bowling his legspin around the wicket into the rough outside leg stump. Tahir also made inroads for South Africa with three wickets. Stuart Broad miscued a pull as he was defeated by a quicker delivery, leaving the substitute Faf du Plessis to take a slick catch running backwards at mid on and leaving Broad with only one Test half-century this calendar year.

Prior was ninth out when he top-edged a sweep to long leg and Anderson, who steered Dale Steyn wide of the slips to put England into the lead, was then bowled by Tahir attempting a slog-sweep.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (August 6, 2012, 23:32 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 06 2012, 11:41 AM GMT) - the beauty of Test cricket is that it can amble along in an almost pointless manner & then can change rapidly in the twinkling of an eye. Refer to the WI v India in India where I think it was the 3rd test, where a draw was the only result "possible" at stumps on the 4th day - in the end, with two balls left on the 5th day, all FOUR possibilities were possible! Refer to the 1st Test Eng v SL, where SL inexplicably imploded, refer to Oz v WIndies, Pup's earlyish declaration & run-chase. All these matches were heading for a draw for most of the match, this game an ended in a tantalising position & is a great Pub debate, what would of happened if there was a 6th day? I'd say the Saffas were slightly ahead, but I think both sides were cavalier with their wickets after Lunch. Bring on Lord's.

Posted by Meety on (August 6, 2012, 23:26 GMT)

@JG2704 - whilst I think Oz, Saffas & Eng are 3 best teams in the world atm, they all have their deficiencies & the top 6 are probably closer than at anytime in the last 30 yrs. I said back during the Oz v India series that whilst Pup's Ozzys are not as good as say Waugh/Taylor/Ponting teams, his team is more watchable because you don't really know what to expect. I think that is a product of any side can win a series against anyone atm as the spread of skills is fairly even & it comes down to better preparation, better capitalising on chances & more confidence. We have the Saffas currently leading 1nil against your mob, yet they lost a test to SL on home soil, drew pakistan in UAE (England whitewashed yet had chances to win the series), & drew 1all against a side (Oz), who they bowled out for 47, Oz have had a fairly good run (post Ashes), but lost a test to NZ & were not convincing against WI. SL knocked off Pakistan but only drew England (refer to Pak in UAE), unpredictable times!

Posted by JG2704 on (August 6, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

@Muhtasim13 on (August 06 2012, 13:12 PM GMT) It's more baffling that they continually get published

Posted by JG2704 on (August 6, 2012, 14:52 GMT)

@Steve Gregory on (August 06 2012, 11:45 AM GMT) Officially Swann was left out but I reckon he was hampered by injury. Monty has one bad test and it seems is now surplus to requirements. Maybe he should say he's a batsman and get an extended run?

Posted by Muhtasim13 on (August 6, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

given the fact that this article is a report on the ongoing Eng-SA test match, it baffles me that there are so many comments regarding India.

Posted by Jazman on (August 6, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

Am I the only one who thinks that, at best, these two bowling attacks, although probably being the best around at the moment, they are pretty ordinary compared to quite of few of the attacks from the '90s and early 2000? No bowler comes close to averaging around the 90 mph mark. Donald, Akthar, Younis, Lee could manage the odd effort ball just shy of the 100 mph mark. The old shock bowlers. What happened to them? Supreme bowling attacks like the Aussies' Gillespie, McGrath, Lee, Warne, the Pakistani Younis, Ahktar, Akram and Mushtaq and the Windies' Ambrose, Walsh and Bishop, have all but disappeared. Also, has the reverse swinging yorker become a banned ball? You just don't see that anymore. Both England and SA could do with the odd toe breaker. We often hear the pitches being blamed for the high batting averages today, but honestly, what have become of the pace and skill of yesteryear?

Posted by JG2704 on (August 6, 2012, 13:02 GMT)

@jimmy2s on (August 06 2012, 10:40 AM GMT) You are half right in that there isn't a huge gulf between these sides. The 1st test was a thrashing for England but this one has been pretty level and as I put in my previous comms no one can realistically say the rain saved either side. I was saying earlier in the year that there is little to chose between Eng,SA and Australia and while England have played some terrible stuff since becoming number 1 I still maintain that. And even saying that , all 3 teams are beatable by any of the top 6. England have the worst record (of the 3) by far since becoming number 1 but in 2010/11 had the best record of the 3. There might be alot of hype and hoopla since becoming number 1 but it was on field performances which got us there.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

Can someone answer me this why is G Swan not playing?is he injured?because it looks like the balance is out in the English camp

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 6, 2012, 11:41 GMT)

Well, nothing happening here on the final day... Smith and Rudolph just steadily increasing their career batting averages. They should make a new law that allows players to just stop playing if a result isn't likely, and play a funny ODI/T20 instead with mixed teams.

Posted by veer_CSE on (August 6, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

Hi, with current status - IF SA gets another 200 runs in 50 overs then they can target to England to pressure back on england ... still we can expect some dramatic results from this final day...

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 6, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

England really are a terrible team. I hope South Africa perform some fireworks with the bat because watching England bowl is awful.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

Hi - with the current status SA has a lead of 70 runs.. and still 90 overs left for the day,, if SA able to put up another 200 runs in 40 -50 overs and give a target to Engaland to change around 270 in 50 overs and it will be real test to ENG to survive the test even if picth is bolwer friendly.. let us see for more dramatic match on final day.........

Posted by legsidewide on (August 6, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

@200ondebut seeing as Sri Lanka & Pakistan have beaten both these teams in tests in recent encounters (including away test match wins IN England and SA), I'm not sure your gulf argument makes much sense. The hammering in the UAE and humbling in Sri Lanka, didn't prove that Pakistan and SL are amazing sides, no-one was claiming that. All it shows was how overrated and overhyped the English were. If anything, the gulf is the other way around, with South Africa sitting on top.

Posted by Meety on (August 6, 2012, 10:22 GMT)

@ crindo77 - "...Looking at the way England play spin, India should play Harbhajan and Ashwin together in the November Test series..." Harbhajan & spin in the same sentence - interesting! @nikhilmjain - what has any of that got to do with this match? (a test match).

Posted by Meety on (August 6, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

@OzzyHammond "...England will miss Onions dearly on the final day. They must play him in the fifth test, (and Swann too!)..." YES! England with 13 players should do Okay! This is the same you said during the 1st Test about Finn! LOL! @ JG2704 - 1nil down, with 1 test to go, 5/1/5 becomes essential. I would assume Swann would be in for Taylor.

Posted by crindo77 on (August 6, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

Looking at the way England play spin, India should play Harbhajan and Ashwin together in the November Test series. If the thinktank finally sees the writing on the wall, Sehwag should bat at no 3, he has said on more than one occasion he doesn't enjoy opening. Rahane and Gambhir should be the openers. Rahane is a known List A performer, why keep selecting him for T20s and ODIs? Sachin, Kohli at 4,5, Raina at 6 ( the only way to get over short ball issues is to keep playing, and there was a reason why the Poms targeted Raina, he's a matchwinner). Ishant Sharma, has lost his mojo , and VVS as well. Dhoni, Zak,Yadav to follow. Sharma/Pujara on the bench. England wont be no 1 by the time they get to India, so they actually might play better. Might. I would love to see Sachin ravage Swann , like he treated Warne, at the Eden Gardens. Mmmmmmm

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 6, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

I think it's rather funny all the SA fans talking about how there's no chance England could win. Not that there isn't a load of rhetoric from some England fans too but I'm guessing that no SA fans predicted their getting bowled out for 96 by Australia not that long ago or getting beaten by SL at home, that being the same SL that England unexpectedly bowled out for next to nothing in a fourth innings just last summer. I'm certainly not saying that it's likely but it's certainly not impossible. It's quite disgusting how little respect so many people show for these players. It's even more ridiculous when the very players you denigrate would be the players you would be gushing over if you had simply been born elsewhere. If you can't appreciate players from all countries then you don't deserve respect as a cricket fan.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 6, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

@Marcio on (August 06 2012, 08:45 AM GMT), I take it that you didn't notice that you just commented on the 4th day report :-)

Posted by Supa_SAFFA on (August 6, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

@Marcio: Good morning and welcome to the final day of this test match. England and SA have taken the better part of 4 days to get through their 1st innings. So what's happening over at the Olympics?

Posted by nikhilmjain on (August 6, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

Seeing lack of information among fans, i feel like sharing some facts :- - India is no. 2 in ODIs as they have scored 7116 points on ICC ratings in last 60 matches. The results in the tests do not affect this system. - Lot of boasting by every fan about their own team. I will try to state some facts(ODI) about some major teams here. 1) India - Great batting line up, average/ ordinary bowling unit. Not much depth. The batting line up is on par or even better than SA's. The only problem lies in too much cricket. 2) South Africa - Best all round team in the world. Best bowlers in the world. Away results best among all. Deserves to be no.1. But crumble in important scenarios. 3) England - Highly talented team. Top team in their own yard. Becomes ordinary outside their comfort zone except for KP. 4) Australia - No.1 ranked team. Argued to be the case of Australia = Shane Watson. Away form questionable. 5) Sri Lanka - Not at its best currently. Amazing talent, lack of temperament.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

How negative are the bowling to Smith. 6 guys on the legside and bowling the ball straight or pitching outside leg 80% of the time. I hope he plays the ball on the ground and still scores. It's no use you bat fast and then try to frustraight a batter out with negative bowling. And to the guys that thinks that having more bowlers is the way to go. More do not mean better. Anyway I looked to the weather prediction on thursday and decided then that this would be a draw unless England were outplayed again.

Posted by Marcio on (August 6, 2012, 8:45 GMT)

Why would a result be unlikely? There are two whole days left! Either team could win it. If more time is lost it will be difficult to force a reult, but getting through two innings in the final two days of a test is quite normal, especially if the team batting last is under pressure on a turning wicket.

Posted by arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_ on (August 6, 2012, 7:49 GMT)

Lucky England. It seems, rain saved them yet again else SA would have reached to a good total. We saw even without Peterson, specialist opener of SA, England couldn't make early break-through, It shows how ordinary England bowling is. SA should refrain themselves from playing against such ordinary team which imports players and still get white-washed in sub-continent.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 6, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

@SnowSnake on (August 06 2012, 00:47 AM GMT) Because of England's poor performance/SA's excellent performance in the 1st match they don't need to do anything to push the game forward. The weather hasn't helped either side get a result.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 6, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

Much jargon being talked again. Fans of either side who say this or that would have happened - but for rain - are full of the proverbial. After Eng had such a slender 1st inns lead how can anyone predict what might happen? Re SA injuries affecting the game - again jargon. Kallis is the only guy who may have affected the England batting total and he is rarely used by Smith and wasn't Finn injured (stomach cramps) for part of SA's 1st inns? Obviously this is heading for a draw which I suppose is progress for England as it's also a 50/50 draw rather than one side dominating. I still feel despite JTs knock we need to go 5/1/5 for the last test. If there's weather around then we need to be trying to take 20 wickets quicker rather than score more runs.

Posted by cric_fan_ on (August 6, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

It's going to be a draw, but if there can be a result chances are it'll be an Eng victory rather than SA as Eng needs only 1 batting collapse to win while SA needs two, first their own batting collapses and then England's.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 7:12 GMT)

''Given a dry day, they will imagine they still might dismiss a disrupted South Africa batting order for 150 within 50 overs....'' Imagine...... dreaming? They will need to find a genie in a bottle if they have any hope of preventing one of the eleven south african batsmen scoring 150

Posted by Jabulani on (August 6, 2012, 7:03 GMT)

ToeCruncher - what a load of tosh...KP had his confidence and ego back while he was still in school, in South Africa. But yes he will always be an English cricketer but will always be a South African too, you can't change where you were born and grew up.

Posted by Hammond on (August 6, 2012, 6:53 GMT)

England will miss Onions dearly on the final day. They must play him in the fifth test, (and Swann too!). Looking forward to tonights viewing, really hope that the weather doesn't spoil the fun.

Posted by Hammond on (August 6, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

Loving all the comments about birth places of some of the England players. It always means that England are doing well. Keep em coming.

Posted by ToeCruncher on (August 6, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

@Front_Foot_Lunge: Although KP was a South African, he no longer is. KP will only ever play for England. A credit to both England and KP. I dont think KP would be half the player he is, had he played for SA. The politics and cricketing system in SA would have stunted his development. It is only in England that he has built his confidence / ego, that makes KP KP! Not that I am saying one way is right, and the other is wrong; its just the fact that SA has, in the past, surpressed players that are individualistic. SA only takes players that fit into the dressing room. That is why the team wins matches, not individual players.

Posted by chuparustam on (August 6, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

well some of the SA players got injured and England started dreaming of winning this test....no shame to these Eng fans.....they defeated a injured Indian team where Zaheer, yuvraj, harbhajan, rohit sharma, gautam gambhir, ishant sharma, sahvag and even sachin played through fever........I think England would struggle even against a fully fit Bangladesh on subcontinental venue as we all know how well they play Spinners. ENG played two series out of England...against pak they got whitewash 3:0 and against SL they had 1:1....they got this statistical No. 1 position due to many Home series and luck (others bad luck due to injury).....

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 6, 2012, 6:27 GMT)

@Front_Foot_Lunge on (August 06 2012, 05:39 AM GMT), if either team wins from here it will be in large part due to a fantastic effort from their bowlers in the second innings so your comment is rubbish.

Posted by Meety on (August 6, 2012, 6:25 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK - the allrounders you mentioned, really should be considered bowlers who can bat, & any runs they get are a bonus. I think the allrounder tag creates too big an expectation on the likes of Bresnan, Broad & to a lessor extent Swann. The Saffa attack is well drilled & skilled, so I would not be counting on too many heroics from the tail, a good result would be one good innings out of 6 (2 innings times 3 tests), against this quality attack. @Bramblefly on (August 05 2012, 19:33 PM GMT) - I suppose that was a sarcastic reponse to some earlier trolling? I initially didn't see what I think you're responding too & thought it was an odd comment. I think I'm a bit clearer now!

Posted by Front_Foot_Lunge on (August 6, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

If South Africa wins, it will be due to the efforts of one South African. If England wins, it will be due to the efforts of one South African.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 5:33 GMT)

SO: Lords SHALL decide who will the Lords of Test Cricket. The series couldn't have got to a better finishing

Posted by Sanjiyan on (August 6, 2012, 5:13 GMT)

To all the English fans saying S.A. are the ones who are lucky for rain id like to point at the scorecard. England need 10 wickets for 150 or less runs to be able to be in a winning position. Finn and anderson are the only 2 candidates who pose a problem for the saffers. Broad is medium pace at best atm and bresnan thinks hes bowling at 100mph with his short deliveries. IF eng manage to do this they will have the small matter of facing steyn and co who wont be going down without a fight. The bowling as a whole(both sides) has been average imo. England( Pieterson and Prior) have pulled the advantage from sa and its now even. Kudos to them. I doubt either team will force a victory from this point, theres too much to do in 1 day which is a pity as this game was looking to end with a bang. As for lords drop broad, the kid is overrated and imo Finn is a more than worthy replacement.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

the best indian test team 4 overseas game......1.gambhir 2.sehwag 3.kohli 4.sachin 5.laxman 6.dhoni 7.irfan 8.ashwin 9.zaheer 10.aaron 11.yadav..........and the reserves are.....12.yuvraj 13.rohit 14.rahul sharma 15.ishant or sreesanth..........if the squad is of 17.........then no. 17.raina

Posted by landl47 on (August 6, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

It's unfortunate that this game seems to be destined to be a draw. There's really nothing in it between the teams, but there's no way SA can score fast enough to put pressure on England, so unless SA collapses as they did against Australia (and I don't think that's at all likely) then SA will bat the match out. They might make a token declaration, but they aren't going to leave England less than 250 to win in 20 overs. At least in this game England has shown the ability to compete on even terms. On to Lord's for the finale, which England must win to retain the #1 ranking. Hopefully it will be a great (and dry) game.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (August 6, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

@TheIndiaRockers??????What???? @ m1991vicky hi mate I can read your post at least, urm no total rubbish they didn't destroy us in 2005 (at least). If you watch cricket it might help you form a better opinion. As for cricket 20 years ago this team cannot be judged on that now can it. @Jezza as usual a decent post, you actually watch the game.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 6, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

@doos_kevin_27 on (August 06 2012, 01:06 AM GMT), certainly KP was the star for England but if England don't deserve to win just because of that then surely SA don't deserve win because they relied even more heavily on Alviro Petersen in their first innings. If England did go on to win then it would require significant contributions from the bowlers too so they would deserve it from that point of view, with the same going for SA. Apart from that, many teams have won games in the past based on a significant innings from one player. Do you discount any of SA's victories in the past when they have been carried by Kallis' batting?

Posted by Hammond on (August 6, 2012, 3:41 GMT)

C'mon England, you can still win this. I remember a similar situation against Sri Lanka. People keep writing England off, and they keep coming back. This Australian is cheering you all the way to winning the series 2-1 and rightfully retaining number 1 position.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 6, 2012, 3:38 GMT)

The most likely result was a draw anyway but it's a shame that it's basically been forced by the weather. Both teams were still in with a slim chance of winning but now it is very unlikely. England can still maintain some hope based on the fact they managed to bowl out SL cheaply at Cardiff and Australia bowled out SA for 96 once in SA recently. Innings like that are very much the exception rather than the rule though. I very much doubt that SA will try to score quick runs and declare because they then risk losing wickets themselves and possibly handing England the match so, with a 1-0 lead, I'm sure they will play out the draw. If it stays dry but overcast then England may manage to roll SA for not much but the odds are against it. The odds are even more against both teams getting rolled, which is what would be required for SA to win. The fact that it may rain again makes the result even less likely. Lords will be a must-win for England.

Posted by satish619chandar on (August 6, 2012, 3:18 GMT)

Too tough to get result on this game.. Unless its a miracle.. SA's injury list is so long but still, they have enough power to make it.. If SA gets thru first session not losing more than 2 wickets and AB still to bat, they might think about forcing issue.. Wish the rain stays away and lets the teams to play hard and earn a result or even draw.. Expect a draw - Even a dull one..

Posted by TheIndiaRockers on (August 6, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

England escaped from the protios series win . Rain as saved england team other wise 2-0 win for SA. SA is the only team who can win all over the world. England team is a joke. THey can win only in england thats it(against subcontinent team).Against india in india,eng team is a fluke..... Biggest joke of cricket history is No1 team england in 2012..Lol. England is far below than bangladesh. There should be a qualifier match for england team to play worldcup.......Hehehe

Posted by m1991vicky on (August 6, 2012, 2:21 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: "Rain saves South Africa, just like it has done Australia for so many years Vs England" - OMG....Are you really serious??? First phrase is terrible as everyone knows whom the rain has really saved..... Second Phrase is literally atrocious. Did rain help Australia every time while they were destroying England for 20years from late 1980s to 2007??? Who knows you might even say rain helped Shane Warne to destroy England every single time!!!!!

Posted by jezzastyles on (August 6, 2012, 1:10 GMT)

Unfortunately, the weather has ruined what was shaping as a "nailbiter of a test match". Neither team has got on top of the other, which should happen when two world-class sides do battle (despite some of the dribble I've read inferring one team or the other was saved by the rain??). It's fair to say, after their poor showing in the 1st test, ENG have bounced back, so Lords will be a 50/50 match. Neither team bowled poorly, but there weren't any standouts either. Prior has been the most consistent performer for ENG in both tests, not quite in the Gilchrist league, but one of the real workhorses for them. @Bramblefly - I wholeheartedly agree. Presumably, players emigrate to another country to improve their opportunities and build a better future for themselves, just like any other immigrant does. Once they are legally available to respresent their adopted country, good luck to them. That's just the nature of modern-day life, so people just need to get over it.

Posted by kevin_se_doos_24 on (August 6, 2012, 1:06 GMT)

I am South African and would like to just say that anyone who thought South Africa had a chance of winning this test post the KP knock is delusional. With the injuries to Alviro, Kallis and partly Smith, there is no way they would be able to bat at a steady pace, or with the confidence to then exert pressure on England. One player has put England in this position and not the team, hardly worthy of a positive result for England!

Posted by SnowSnake on (August 6, 2012, 0:47 GMT)

I think test cricket does not have any quality fast bowlers left. By the time this series is over fast bowlers from both teams will see their average/wicket increase. Very boring series. SA does not even try to score at an average of 3.3 rpo. They are always around 3.0 or lower. I give credit to England who tried to make a match out of this game. SA was aiming at draw right from the beginning.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2012, 0:19 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy on (August 05 2012, 23:28 PM GMT) - I didn't realise the strongest team was determined by an injury count (I'll happily concede that to England if the matches won stat remains the same in the series). It is unfortunate (and perhaps something the SA management should investigate) that we have had so many injuries on tour but none of the players can be described as injury prone (and Mark Boucher's was a freak injury). Smith isn't the first player to dig his knee in to the turf and walk away second best and Kallis has hardly missed a test for 12 years.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 5, 2012, 23:28 GMT)

Only england can win this game now. A good session with the ball will set it up nicely for us. With South Africa now starting to break down with injuries, it just goes to show who the strongest team is. Then again at least South Africa's bowlers arent as fragile as australia's weak attack.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (August 5, 2012, 21:23 GMT)

Rain Save England not South Africa.Tomorrow If rain stay away Then Amla,AB,Duminy Batted at 3,4,5 and score quick run at strike rate over 100 and should declare at around 280 within 40 overs and Give steyn and co almost 60 over to bowl out England...

Posted by maddy20 on (August 5, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

Bowling Sa out for under 150? I didn't know you had a funny bone Mr.Hopps! Hopefully, Kallis will recover in time for the third test.Boucher, Smith, De Lange, Peterson and now Kallis. 5 players injured but England still can't win. Some No.1 that!

Posted by JG2704 on (August 5, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

@Beertjie on (August 05 2012, 17:42 PM GMT) re "Those on this site hoping that SA will slip up at Lords are among the dreamers" - the likelihood is that SA will not lose at Lords but is it that impossible? After the 1st match we were supposed to get trounced in all 3 matches and this match looks to be heading for a draw with the 2 sides looking evenly matched. Did I dream that late last year SA lost the 2nd match to Australia after handily winning the 1st match?

Posted by JG2704 on (August 5, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 05 2012, 14:37 PM GMT) You're very wrong there. When an England player gets injured it's down to fitness and conditioning. When an opposition player is injured it's due to very bad luck

Posted by JG2704 on (August 5, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

@reality_check27 on (August 05 2012, 12:47 PM GMT) Is there really any point in putting loads of stats (which apart from Pak/SL) are from yesteryear? And what has it to do with today's play or the state of this match?

Posted by Jabulani on (August 5, 2012, 19:51 GMT)

Front-Foot-Lunge - Rain saves AS, you are joking right? There is no way that England had the upper-hand in this test, they were much better than they were in the first but to say that they were going to win is out right delusional!

Posted by Jabulani on (August 5, 2012, 19:48 GMT)

200ondebut - a probable Eng victory??? How do you come to that?

Posted by Bramblefly on (August 5, 2012, 19:33 GMT)

The rain looks like it might save South Africa. Will be a crushing victory for England otherwise. Boy the saffa bowling looks ineffective. Most are barely above medium pace

Posted by Bramblefly on (August 5, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

@Tommytuckersaffa. Sigh. They're all Englishmen. English fans don't go on about the Pakistani South African. It was Tahir's choice to naturalise in SA. Most of the cricket world just accepts it and rightly so. Enjoy the contest and lose the pre-minted excuses. If you fell so strongly about it, organise a campaign to boycott English cricket until we mend our wicked ways. Going on about it against the background of an enthralling test match is just lame.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (August 5, 2012, 19:19 GMT)

Although this test will almost certainly end in a draw, Eng should take some positives from it (as will SA, though they needed it less). Batting wise they all scored a few but one or two should of gone on. Prior is playing very well, KP too. Jimmy looked a handful, and Finn bowled ok. Taylor fought well on debut. A much improved performance and hope for even better tommorow and at Lords. SA have few injury concerns too and I hope they are resolved for the Lords test.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (August 5, 2012, 18:56 GMT)

Swann will be a shoe in at Lords and I think Bresnan might be up for the chop. I hope it is Broad (well below his best IMHO). My head might exploed if the drop Finn but we will have to wait and see. Eng have peformed well in this game but need another positive day tommorow to build some momentum into Lords. I hope we get some play tommorow though the weather looks like it will be a typical English summers day!

Posted by SICHO on (August 5, 2012, 18:43 GMT)

This really cracks me up, England bowlers give it their best and still look average against watchful and cautious SA batsmen, as a result England fans jump for joy and claim they were struggling. Look at how SA bowlers responded today, its not any attack that can respond in that fashion. They did this twice(remember the 2nd day of the 1st Test), England are good but not good enough to bowl SA out in a day. It takes something to do that, and I don't think England can or will do that tomorrow. They won't bowl SA out tomorrow.

Posted by ToeCruncher on (August 5, 2012, 18:30 GMT)

Why are the english commenters adamant SA should be aggressive. On day 1, Eng won the toss, and elected to field. Reason dictates that Eng should make the play, especially since SA are already 1-0 up, and playing in England! The SA performance has at times been spectacularly mediocre, but seems to be on par with England's performance. SA lost their head with KP (all kudo's to KP), but otherwise SA has been ahead for most of the game. A draw then, seems like a fair result. England will have to take heed of KP's performance, and up their game to beat SA. I predict 2/1/0 to SA

Posted by 200ondebut on (August 5, 2012, 18:29 GMT)

Rain has taken away a probable Eng victory - which would have set up the Lords test a treat.

What this series has shown is the huge gulf between Eng/SA and the rest of the world.

Posted by MattyP1979 on (August 5, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

Good to see some fight from Eng in this game, though it looks as if rain will be the winner. Would still like to see us bowl well again tommorow and hopfully create a tiny bit of pressure. But as many have pointed out it looks as if this one is heading for a draw.....onto Lords. As for comments on Broad/Bresnan I have to agree, Broad is having a terrible series so far, Bresnan too could do more certainly. Which one keeps their place for Lords might be decided tommorow.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (August 5, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

It's unfortunate that rain is the decider of this test match. Even w/o the rain the match was heading to a draw. Gr8 innings by KP. Had he stayed at the crease for another hour or so ENG would have been leading by at least 125 or 150 and that would have given the bowlers some target to bowl at. I doubt ENG can bowl SA out cheaply on day 5.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (August 5, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

@min_2cric: 1) England aren't a poor side. 2) They do not cry against Aus, they have beaten them regularly recently. 3) They do not cry against SA, they have a very decent record against them recently. 4) You're clear lack of cricket knowledge is shown up by that comment.

@RandyOz: Yeah I don't know why their speeds are so slow at the moment, it's a little disturbing compared to recent times. They showed good control though, especially Anderson, far and away the best bowler in the team.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (August 5, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

@rajmal67: Narine still has a lot to prove, only Ajmal and Swann can make claims to that title. Swann has looked jaded recently so Ajmal is the best choice. Tahir is nowhere near being the best spinner in the world, lacks the control of Swann and Ajmal and his legbreaks aren;t good enough to give an advantage over Swann who can only spin one way. Narine may be very fine in a few years time but I can almost guarantee that inexperience will cost him soon. Spin bowling takes a long time to master and Narine has a lot to learn. He could well be a world beater, but for now, he is just another young 'mystery' spinner who WILL be found out.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 5, 2012, 17:49 GMT)

Rain saves South Africa, just like it has done Australia for so many years Vs England.

Posted by Beertjie on (August 5, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

@Pratchett on (August 05 2012, 14:12 PM GMT) together with England "SA is the most conservative side in world cricket", but that was why I thought they'd beat their hosts who could only dream of winning (until KP lit the spark to show them how it could be done in reality) by using their negative tactics and praying for rash tactics (like the short-pitched stuff attempted against KP last evening). If you've got as balanced a side as they have, they could afford to press for victory, but why do so when the opposition is so accustomed to their opponents self-destructing? Those on this site hoping that SA will slip up at Lords are among the dreamers. Unlike England they possess the players to counter-attack if they need to and they won't heap unnecessary pressure upon themselves because they are confident in both their abilities and their tactics. They'll never dominate like the great Oz and WI teams, because of their conservatism, but they'll be difficult to shift for the next few years

Posted by SCC08 on (August 5, 2012, 17:25 GMT)

@Pratchett - why would SA want to chase the game being 1-0 up in the 3 match series. And, get your facts straight - Eng set the most boring fields... Do their best to keep the runs down as apposed to bowling teams out. This from your Sky commentary team.

Posted by SCC08 on (August 5, 2012, 17:22 GMT)

@Hammond.. You having a laugh? Commenting on SA struggling against the swinging ball. Your World beaters Bell / Bopara / Strauss / Cook & KP ( apart from one knock each ) have been shocking all tour.. Suppose you want to compare that to the averages of the SA side this tour? Oh, and agreed on Pior he's South African.. I mean amazing!

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

Tahir and Narine going head to head with Swann? Sorry, but I dont think so. Narine has played just three tests and really didnt threaten in England albeit on a fairly unhelpful surface. Tahir bowls some good deliveries but also manages to bowl a lot of short balls and full tosses. For me Number one spinner in the world is a choice between Swann and saeed Ajmal, with a nod also towards Herath and for all round contribution, Vettori.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (August 5, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

As soon as the non englishmen were out, england folded like a pack of cards.

Posted by waza1234 on (August 5, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

The obvious change that England should make for Lords is to bring back Graeme Swann for Tim Bresnan. Also give Steven Finn the new ball instead of Broad as he has more pace.

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (August 5, 2012, 16:02 GMT)

@Hammond....you really are prone to hyperbole, aren't you?..if the openers looked like club batsmen against the swinging ball then I really hope for the sake of your argument that your club openers average 50 in Test cricket. No? Didn't think so...and Rudolph opened for Yorkshire many times presumably at this ground so there's another one out the window.

Posted by Ra_Thore on (August 5, 2012, 15:33 GMT)

YAWN...headed for a draw.

Posted by rajmal67 on (August 5, 2012, 15:27 GMT)

As the battle for world number one test team rages on, a secondary battle is happening. Imran Tahir is going head to head with Sunil Narin of the West Indies and veterans like swann as the best spinner in the world. Unfortunate to see that there is no Indian spinner in the mix

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

This test match has been a P(i)eterson show so far !!!

Posted by crindo77 on (August 5, 2012, 14:53 GMT)

Switched on the TV this morning to hear familiar gloatings of the Sky team- with so many injuries, can SA keep England out? Like General January worked well for Russia, reliable Captain Injury has once again jumped to Englands rescue, and the Poms are wetting themselves with excitement. It was a real change to see some deserving success for England's Olympians, in comparison. Home advantage, swinging conditions, a fit team and a series of injured oppositions. If that doesn't do it, maybe a bit of ball tampering; what say , Broadie? Time for a chat with Athers, maybe?

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 5, 2012, 14:37 GMT)

@Gerard Pereira (post on August 05 2012, 13:42 PM GMT): O.K. so if you (and others) are going to continuously play that card, then consider this: barring the odd completely random accident such as McGrath stepping on a stray cricket ball, what you (and others) are effectively admitting is that other teams are hopelessly unfit/injury prone. Fitness and conditioning is a huge part of test cricket. If other teams can't keep up with England, then that to me sounds like a number one position very well earned.

Posted by JG2704 on (August 5, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

Funny to see some of the old trollsters returning. Back to the game , I think the thing I'm most disappointed about is Bresnan and why he took so long to score the few runs he did. Because of KP and Prior the game had moved forward and I'd rather have seen Bres play some shots and get out - even if it meant us finishing behind - as it just eats into the game. The draw is obviously still the big favourite but I actually think if any side wins this game it's England. The reason being that SA aren't likely to declare and give themselves enough time to bowl Eng out as they are 1-0 up so no need to risk anything. The only way I see a result is if Eng somehow manage to bowl SA out cheaply in the 2nd inns and giving ourselves more overs is the best way to go. JT also batted slowly yesterday but when he came in the game looked in SA's control. Broad contributed nothing much either but at least he didn't waste valuable time.

Posted by Pratchett on (August 5, 2012, 14:12 GMT)

@ Greatest_Game - SA going for the kill? That's not gonna happen mate! I'm fairly confident that they will be playing for a draw and go to Lords in a no-lose situation. It would be unfortunate if it turns out like this, but SA is the most conservative side in world cricket. Please prove me wrong boys!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (August 5, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

Disappointing to see England fold relatively quickly this morning but at least getting any sort of lead was a slight psychological advantage to England. The teams have basically been even so far in this Test so George Dobell's white flag may have been a little premature. As I've said before, England were obviously outplayed in the first Test but SA have had trouble maintaining their standards through entire series before so all is far from lost. All results are still theoretically possible from here but you'd have to rate the draw as a big favourite. An SA win would require both teams to collapse as I don't really see SA pushing for a victory by trying to score quickly and declaring. If England can bowl SA out for less than 250 then they're a chance but that would still be a more than tricky run chase. If the rain stays away then it could be a cracking finish... or peter out into a tame draw.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

Injuries to opponents are a huge boost for England. Last summer it was Zaheer Khan, Shewag, Gambhir and Tendulkar nursing one kind of injury or another. this time it is Boucher,Petersen, Kallis, And Smith, that and the rain and overcast skys England keep hanging on to their highly dubious number one position by the skin of their teeth.I am betting on Steyn to break down next.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (August 5, 2012, 13:35 GMT)

What is going on with Broad? He has lost pace significantly. Last summer, he was bowling with real pace against India at around 90 MPH. Now he is bowling in lower 80's.

Posted by Min2_cric on (August 5, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

eng is really very poor team...they became no.1 just bcoz india didnt play well and windies is a bad team...eng can win only in eng and against ind, wi, sl...wen they play against aus or sa they cry...

Posted by Hammond on (August 5, 2012, 12:48 GMT)

Just intact. They looked like batsmen in my club team against the swinging ball.

Posted by reality_check27 on (August 5, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

some stats for pom fans last time england toured west indies they lost the test series only series west indies has won at home in last 7 years.when eengland toured sout africa they managed a draw. when they toured srilanka they lost to srilanka and this time managed a draw. england toured pakistan whitewash they lost. past time they toured india whitewash 2-0 they lost which is nothing new as they have never won a series in india since more tahn 20 years. a team which as such a dismal recored is no 1 strange

Posted by Hammond on (August 5, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

Good knock by Prior (again)- he is almost getting up there with a Gilchrist type effect. Hope the clouds stay over (sans rain) and we see the SA batsmen struggling like they did just before lunch.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (August 5, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

This is a very interesting batting order for SA! One of the bowlers - my money is on Morkel - will come in at No. 6 with Petersen & Kallis only able to bat at 7 & 8. A middle order of Amla, De Villiers & Duminy could force a high strike rate, that is if AB comes out of his uncharacteristic 1st inns. shell and attacks the bowling like KP did. An AB reply to KP's fantastic knock would really give the fans their money's worth. Duminy has been in very good touch this year in all formats, and looked relaxed & fluent in inns. 1. Amla had set off at quite a pace before cunningly running himself out! If SA REALLY want to force a win they will need to keep the scoreboard ticking over at somewhere between an ODI & T20 rate because any declaration will have to factor in a KP second innings replay. If the bowlers do not force a collapse, the batting should let us know SA's intentions by tea. Hopefully we will not see a very cautious & conservative SA playing for the draw.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 5, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

The rain looks like it might save England. Will be another crushing victory for SA otherwise. Boy the pommy bowling looks ineffective. Most are barely above medium pace.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

draw most likely w/ weather but who knows

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (August 5, 2012, 12:07 GMT)

SA NEED A BIG RAIN DELAY OR A BIG OPENING PARTNERSHIP (AT LEAST 70-80 RUNS ) SINCE KALLIS & PETERSEN CAN BAT ON NO. 7 & 8 . REAL BONUS FOR ENGLAND .

Posted by arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_ on (August 5, 2012, 12:03 GMT)

SA just needs to put a target of 250 or so and declare. England batsmen will not be able to handle the pressure of chasing in 4th innings.

Posted by SCC08 on (August 5, 2012, 12:03 GMT)

2 scores above 400 and NO Englishman scored above 34......

Posted by arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_ on (August 5, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

Lead of 6 runs ! Wow ! Strauss should be thankful to South African ..... KP .

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (August 5, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

Not good enough from England's so-called all-rounders IMO. It's been ages since Bresnan/Broad have done anything of note with the bat. I'd have loved to see some extra quick runs on the board to take England into even a slight advantage, but instead it's still looking 50:50 to me, and probably just a draw.

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David HoppsClose
David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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England v South Africa at Birmingham - Sep 12, 2012
England won by 28 runs
England v South Africa at Manchester - Sep 10, 2012
No result
England v South Africa at Chester-le-Street - Sep 8, 2012
South Africa won by 7 wickets (with 6 balls remaining)
England v South Africa at Nottingham - Sep 5, 2012
South Africa won by 7 wickets (with 93 balls remaining)
England v South Africa at Lord's - Sep 2, 2012
England won by 6 wickets (with 20 balls remaining)
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