South Africa v England: First Test, day one

If the toss is crucial in a game, and you lose said flip of the coin, then perhaps if at the end of the first day you can say you are still in the match then that represents a very good day indeed.

Weather conditions were unfriendly throughout, and the surface looked green, seaming just enough early on to be a real danger to the batsman and als0 (more surprisingly – not least for Joe Root) proving conducive to spin from the start.  Yet the forecast for improved weather for the rest of the game made this first day potentially decisive for the Test, and England will be well pleased that they are not just in the game, but in a reasonable position.

The late loss of Taylor was unquestionably a blow, for without that wicket it could have been said to not just be a good battling performance, but one where England had a chance of getting on top.  Even so, from 49-3 and in terrible trouble, to reach 179-4 is a fine recovery.

Losing early wickets probably shouldn’t be too harshly viewed, for it certainly appeared difficult batting conditions, though the nature of those wickets will grate somewhat – Cook won’t need to be told that was a poor shot – and it didn’t appear to ease greatly for the rest of the play.

For both Taylor and Compton, much praise is warranted.  Although Compton scored slowly, which is what he was criticised for first time around, in these circumstances it was exactly what England needed, and in any event at no time did it feel in any way negative – he put away the bad ball well, and turned over the strike regularly.  One might say that the difference is in a player who is backed to perform rather than failure being pounced upon, but one innings is one innings.  What is interesting is that he is batting at number three, and given the most successful recent exponent of that position for England was Trott, it may yet be a position that suits him.

Taylor has developed from the batsman who first appeared three years ago, though even then that flawed player showed there was no shortage of nerve and bottle in him.

South Africa only have three front line seamers and England must aim to keep them in the field, and put the pressure on Steyn through additional overs he has to bowl.  Certainly he appeared what he is – a class above anyone else.

England do have a deep batting line up, so will hope to capitalise on the hard work done, but they’re in that tough situation where 300 would be a pretty impressive total to reach given conditions, but likely won’t be enough as the track flattens out in the sun.  So while they have done extremely well, they will need to do extremely well again tomorrow as well – perhaps an unfair return for the effort put in.

All in all, decent effort from England – or more specifically decent effort from Compton and Taylor.  On to tomorrow, where we’ll have a better idea of the balance of the game.



11 thoughts on “South Africa v England: First Test, day one

  1. Arron Wright Dec 26, 2015 / 7:30 pm

    Apparently Lovejoy was sniping at Compton all day.

    Hands up who’s surprised by that little glimpse into the late-Flower dressing room.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Dec 26, 2015 / 8:42 pm

        Never mind *that phrase*, there is almost nothing in the whole excerpt that doesn’t stink of entitlement, self-satisfaction and a bubble to rival Westminster in its splendid isolation.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Dec 27, 2015 / 9:36 am

      Put “Swann Compton” into Twitter – he’s been at it again this morning, even though Compton has played the sort of innings that normally has everyone (and certainly Lovejoy) falling at Cooky’s feet if the captain delivers it in these circumstances.

      Two minutes into his latest stint, and he’s jeering at the relative heights of Taylor and Bavuma.

      Truly a hateful little prick.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Dec 27, 2015 / 9:38 am

        A minute later and he’s blamed Compton getting out, having “dug England into a hole”, for the late order collapse.


        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 27, 2015 / 10:23 am

        Lovejoy is only proving by his spiteful remarks that Compton was dropped for non cricket reasons. His face obviously didn’t fit in the dressing room of hypocrites and self satisfied 7 year olds.

        The Flower dressing room was many things, but fair it was not, and as for integrity? Preparing secret dossiers and putting a player under secret spying is not integrity. There was a massive clique, and the in crowd were allowed to get away with whatever they liked. Others not so much.

        If Lovejoy had found out a secret dossier was being compiled listing all his faults, and a fellow team mate was running a secret Twitter account that was ridicuing him, I m sure he would have never shut up about it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 26, 2015 / 8:36 pm

      “Is there a batsman in Test cricket who hits the fielders more than Nic Compton? Surely he has got to work it out better.The problem he has is that if he does not convert into something big with a little push at some stage, he’s back in first class cricket no matter how good he looks at the crease and how long he bats at his pace. He takes the team nowhere. Granted it wasn’t easy in the beginning against new ball but it’s 50 overs now and England looking good. Compton keeps South Africa in it.”

      The Daryll Cullinan comments to which George refers.


      • AB Dec 26, 2015 / 11:21 pm

        He does seem a specialist at the pull shot for a dot, a shot that is something of a rarity no matter what standard of cricket you play.


      • amit Dec 27, 2015 / 4:23 am

        For years, we said the same for Rahul Dravid. Look how that one turned out.
        Players can evolve with time but you’ve got to keep patience with the talent that you identify. However, that has been one attribute found missing in the English selectors. They’ve chopped and changed the opener too much in the last 2-3 years.
        Often the wrong opener!
        I enjoyed watching Compton yesterday.
        He struggled initially but found way to cope up, put the bad balls away and made a decent score, even if it wasn’t the most attractive half century he will ever make. He was far more assured than Taylor who was almost determined to give his wicket away with aggression. Good old fashioned test cricket.

        I think the batting depth might end up as the difference between two sides unless the big 3 of the SA team bring their A game. Then, it wouldn’t matter.
        But for now, I am not so sure of the SA team selection. Selecting Piedt ahead of Tahir seems defensive and they definitely have a longer tail than we are used to seeing. The pitch on show seemed slower than usual (may be rain contributed t it) but it did spin for Piedt. A good spin bowler like Tahir was likely to be more threatening on that pitch. Right now, they seem short of one bowler.


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