The Cape Town game was a bad day in the office for England. Everything seemedto begoing in SA’s way and they slaughtered their way to a mammoth 350. And they weren’t going to let a repeat of 434 happen.
Coming to St.George’s park, all the talk was on Smith winning the toss and chosing to bat in such conditions but Im sure he was a little carried away by the big total they posted in the previous match. Anderson and Broad were brilliant in the opening spell, bowling as straight as possible and hitting good lengths.
I’ve always believed full lengths with the new ball will surely fetch wickets,whatever be the format and even on a relatively flat pitch. Because that is when the batsman meets the ball with least control. The uncertainty of the behaviour of the ball is maximum when it’s a little fuller than good length. Broad pitched it up, Smith missed and was caught in front of leg stump. LBW appeals in front of leg stump generally go in favour of the batsmen, especially for left handers but this was a fine decision by the umpire. Smith shuffles in huge amounts and I doubt he’ll ever change that. Amla was stifled by some tight bowling and in trying to force the pace after five dot balls, held out at mid wicket.
The Duminy-De Villiers pair is one of the most exciting to watch but not a secure pair after the loss of two quick top order wickets. Duminy got out to a false pull shot, a shot which a lot of school and club batsmen get out to and AB was a little unlucky to be caught in front of leg stump off Bresnan.
Once 4 wickets were down, good captaincy took over and Strauss brought Anderson back into the attack. Even at the international level, it would have been so easy to go back to defensive mode and give Swann the ball.
Anderson did exactly what was expected of him. He uprooted Boucher’s off stump with a ball that moved a trifle away from it’s original line. Ryan Mclaren did not have the substance to pull SA out of that mess. Alviro Petersen made yet another half century and was the only one who could hold his face high up.
This South African side has a very depleted look. Thank goodness Morne Morkel is back now but I’ve always wondered why he was dropped in the first place. Kallis is sorely missed and perhaps even Ntini’s stability with the ball. And someone like Justin Kemp at that No. 6 slot should do this side a lot of good.
119 was simply not enough for SA to defend. The only bright point of their bowling was Morne Morkel’s performance. He showed good pace and rythym and is going to pose a threat in the tests. Trott played another masterful knock to steer England home.
Beware South Africa, KP is warming up nicely for the tests.