England v SA, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 5th day August 6, 2012

Spin mystery and a Broad burst

Plays of the Day from the final day of the second Test between England and South Africa at Headingley

Wicket of the Day
For the second time in the match, Kevin Pietersen struck with just his second delivery. His part-time offbreaks were, in the absence of Graeme Swann, the only spin option available to England's captain, Andrew Strauss, but Pietersen soon showed what might have been had England selected a more balanced side by extracting extravagant turn from the pitch and beating Jacques Rudolph's forward press. It was another reminder, if any were required, about the folly of omitting Swann from the team. To rub salt in the wound, Pietersen finished with 3 for 52 - his best Test figures - both highlighting his worth to the England management and their selectorial mistake. It is also worth noting that, by scoring a century and taking four wickets in the Test, Pietersen achieved something that Andrew Flintoff never managed.

Resuscitation of the Day
South Africa were ambling to safety and the Headingley Test was all but dead when Stuart Broad charged up the defibrillators. He had AB de Villiers out lbw and, with no reviews left, de Villiers could not challenge the on-field decision although replays showed it was missing leg by some distance. Broad's next ball had no ambiguity about it. JP Duminy did a comical half waltz with his feet and was trapped low on the pad. With two wickets in two balls and a chance to repeat the heroics he performed against India last year, Broad had brought the match to life. He did not get a hat-trick but earned his five-for.

Opening moment
While most attention focused on the opening partnership for England in their second innings - Pietersen being promoted to open with Alastair Cook in an obvious show of positivity - the opening bowling partnership was just as interesting. South Africa persisted with Morne Morkel despite the fact that Andrew Strauss was not there to bowl at.

Telling statistic of the Day
When Graeme Smith and Rudolph took their opening partnership to 100, it became the first time since the Timeless Test in Durban of 1939 that England had conceded a century opening partnership in both innings of the same Test. For an attack that came into the series with a reputation as one of the world's best, it is not a statistic the England bowlers will savour.

Surprising statistic of the Day
When Strauss scored his sixth run, he reached 7,000 in his 176th Test innings. That means he reached the milestone quicker than quicker than Shivnarine Chanderpaul (177 innings), VVS Laxman (181 innings), Saurav Ganguly (183 innings), Mark Waugh (183 innings) and Desmond Haynes (190 innings).

Drop of the Day
If England were to have any chance of winning this game, they had to take every chance offered. Instead a series of edges from Rudolph, in particular, dropped agonisingly short or flew wide of the fielders and, when Smith was on 44, he was missed by James Anderson at second slip off Tim Bresnan. Even worse was the drop - also by Anderson - of De Villiers off Pietersen when the batsman had 23: a relatively simple chance that Anderson spurned at slip. It seemed, at the time, as though the chances came too late to make any difference to the result but, bearing in mind the run chase finally set England, it may have made all the difference. It was another example of England's increasingly fallible slip fielding of recent months.

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  • John on August 7, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    @360review on (August 07 2012, 16:22 PM GMT) It's still an improvement on the 1st test. Smith's wicket should not have been given and AB was unlucky that SA had no reviews which was also a bad decision. However by the same token if Alviro was caught by Cook in the 1st inns what would SA have made? Also Jimmy dropped AB before he was given out and I think we put a couple more down in the 2nd inns so by that token our bowlers could have had even better figures. So it's swings and roundabouts. I could say that if Eng had taken their catches they'd be well ahead and you could say if Smith and AB weren't given out etc. Pretty pointless really. At the end of the day it was a draw and the neutral would say that it was a fair result with both sides having periods in the ascendancy.

  • Master on August 7, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    @landl47, you are reading too much into England's performance. Did you discount the fact that one of the Broad wicket was a freebee due to lack of DRS review? How about Smith's edge or their lack of? You are just trying to ignore the facts and want to stay in denial that England's bowling has improved.

  • Big on August 7, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    So Broad got 5 wickets haul, but not without help from DRS or its lack of. Its apparent he only excels in a very narrow playing conditions and got very lucky to get is 5 wickets. He won't have any impact in 3rd test unless the curator prepares a green and bouncy pitch.

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    Intersted to see if Broad can carry some form in to the next Test or if he only performs under the right conditions when the game is long gone anyway. He seems to be a bit of a mood player these days and the mood hasn't struck when it matters yet.

  • Randolph on August 7, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    Cricket is pretty much dead in England. The talent is woefully thin.

  • John on August 7, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    @ Johan Kotze on (August 07 2012, 07:24 AM GMT) Disagree re Rudolph - I thought none of his foot was beghind the line which is the umpires - agree re Smith but it did seem strange that Smith took so long to review it. Yes bad decision re ABDV but this happens sometimes. Good job none of this affected the result

  • Satish on August 7, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Lunge : England can certainly take positives from the match.. Bowling showed improvement by almost 10 times.. Did you say"why does the Ashes need to be 5 match series as Aussies are bad"? Winning a couple of Ashes makes you too bored to play Ashes? Imagine how the Aussies could have felt after dominating for almost two decades.. Looks silly.. Had there been extra day, SA would have batted more carefully and scored enough runs to make England fight harder for a draw.. Even then, this would have been the best result England could have hoped for..

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Pity that the third umpire spoiled the value of the review system with the Rudolph stumping and Graeme Smith dismissal in the second innings. There is no excuse for the third umpire as he had all the evidence at his disposal to make the right calls. Having said that, the DRS overall worked well and it helped to bring about the right decisions, something we all wanted. Umpire Steve Davis' decision to give AB de V out LBW with ball clearly missing the stumps was pathetic. In the end it didn't matter but at Lords' it may very well do. We have the two best teams in the world playing for the no 1 spot but not the two best umpires standing. Messrs Dar and Taufel should be asked to go to Lords' urgently. The occasion calls for it.

  • Walter on August 7, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    Drop Broad and bring in swan. Finn performed very well and always looked threatening. Broad is a nothing bowler, he takes 5 wickets on a day 5 pitch when the other team is looking to score quick runs. I can do that as well, does it mean im good enough to play on international level? no. The SA bowling looked a little off to me, only on the last day when Steyn was flying in did it redeem itself a little. Vern was off target too often and in general they went for the short ball too often considering the way the ball sat up and screamed: HIT ME. Batting looked ok but still slightly shakey. Lords looks like it will be a cracker. Hope SA can field their strongest team.

  • j on August 7, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    What a match we would have had if rain hadn't lost us a day: Just like the times the rain saved Australia when V England, and England take away a lot of positives from this one. And How is it the world's best two cricket teams are only playing a 3 match series? With Australia so bad, why should the Ashes be a 5 match series and the contest between the world's best two teams by a country mile only get a 3 test series?

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