England vs. South Africa, 1st Test, Day 1


Well it’s certainly felt like a lifetime after all the white ball shenanigans, but today, the 6th July, the Test season finally started with the symbolic bell being rung at Lords to mark the true start of summer. Both teams came into this Test with question marks around their batting, with bowlers carrying a niggle or two and two new captains aiming to put their individual mark on their respective teams. I don’t think it would be unfair to summise that the only real highlight of the morning as far as England were concerned was that Root won the toss and quite rightly elected to bat on what appeared to be an absolute belter of a pitch; however England managed to make a complete pigs ear of the first session, which again confirmed everyone’s fears around the make up of England’s top order.

In every single Test played in England, it is always imperative to see off the new ball in the first hour and from there batting often tends to get much easier but England completely failed to do this. Jennings might be a tad unlucky as the ball was shown to be pitching outside leg stump and to be fair, Bairstow got a good one; however there was nothing evident in Gary Ballance’s batting to show that he has made the technical tweaks to cope with international fast bowlers. I can understand why he was picked, after all weight of runs in the CC Division 1 should in theory be rewarded; however it does seem that the selectors weren’t exactly enamoured about his selection, this coupled with the fact that he was asked to bat at number 3, which is a surefire way to have your technique tested out, makes no sense at all to me. The fact that he played around a straight delivery reminded me of all the technical difficulties that were exposed by Australia a couple of seasons ago. It may just be that Ballance, like many before him, is too good for the county game but not good enough at Test level, he will certainly feel the heat the longer he is unable to post big runs. My biggest criticism of the morning however, was the shot that the ex-captain and media lovechild played to get out. It was just a lazy waft at a wide delivery that someone who has 30 Test hundreds (yes we are reminded of that every time he walks into bat) should not be playing. Yet we have seen it time and time again as Messer’s Clark and Harris can vouch for in many an Ashes series. The fact that Nasser described the shot as someone who was just in too good form was even more risible than the shot itself; I expect that to be buried in the national newspapers tomorrow.

So at 76-4 on a flat Lord’s deck, England were in more than a spot of bother when Stokes joined the new (and improved) captain at the crease. There was a real chance of being rolled over for under 250, which would have been a complete disaster in the circumstances; however the fortunes of each side completely turned on their heads. South Africa suddenly looked like they had morphed into Pakistan on the field and England decided to play positive but not reckless cricket. The pitch that England’s top order had made to look a minefield suddenly looked anything but that. Stokes played beautifully I thought and just when I was about to praise him to the high heavens, he then got out himself playing a low percentage, high risk shot. Stokes has a beautiful technique and I have absolutely no issue in him playing with a completely positive mindset, but trying to hook a ball with the realistic result of it being a single at most, isn’t particularly smart. Once Stokes tweaks this part of his game (and he has improved dramatically over the last 18 months), then England will have a hell of a player on their hands. Moeen also came in and played a typical Moeen knock full of dreamy drives and the odd misjudgment; however he did look remarkably improved in playing the short ball than he did in the winter (and that caused me to write a large rant about it). It was the perfect counter attack against a tiring South African bowling attack on a very hot day and hopefully he can push on in the morning.

The main praise of course has to go to Joe Root, who despite riding his luck at times played a sublime innings under pressure. There was of course speculation leading up to the game as to whether Root would be able to combine the pressures of captaincy alongside carrying the England batting, as well as the constant annoyance of us and him at his failure to convert 70’s & 80’s into match winning hundreds. We needn’t have worried. After the early let offs, Root played the type of innings that reminds us why he is one of the top four batsmen in the world. His ability to keep the score ticking over, his ability to dispatch both the good and bad deliveries to the boundary and his ability to score all over the wicket means that he must be a nightmare to bowl to, let alone set fields for. It would have been easy for Root to go into his shell and to try and grind out a score with England’s batting in disarray, but that’s not how he plays nor how he wants his team to play and at times it was special to watch. One swallow does not make a summer, but the early prognosis is promising.

As for South Africa, it was great first session and then a sobering experience for the rest of the day. Philander bowled brilliantly in his first spell, accurately probing England’s batsmen with every delivery and fully deserved of his 3 wickets. The success of Philander in international cricket (average of 23 with the ball) should prove a lesson to England amongst others, that you don’t need to have express pace to trouble international batsmen as long as you have the skill to land it on the same spot 6 times an over. I’ve seen many a decent county bowler being dismissed from England’s thinking because they don’t bowl at 85MPH, yet Philander tends to hover around the 78MPH mark and has been highly successful. This should prove as food for thought for the selectors but somehow I don’t think it will. The rest of the day unfortunately proved to be a bit of a horror show for the Proteas, with a reeling England at 76-4 being able to finish the day at 357-5. The Proteas had their foot on England’s throat and then failed to go in for the kill, of course dropping the oppositions best player twice early on is never a strategy that is worth pursuing. This combined with the fact that they bowled two wickets off two no balls, meant that even the most battle hardened South African is likely to be crying into his Castle Lager tonight. To take one wicket off a no ball is reckless, but to take two with the latter being from a spinner is down right criminal. I’m not sure I’d fancy being in the Proteas’ dressing room tonight.

On a couple of last side notes, I fortunately/unfortunately (depending on your point of view) missed the Empty Suit interview at Tea though I’m guessing that it contained lots of buzz words such as ‘engagement’, ‘family friendly’ and ‘new audiences’ with very little actual content. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. And as a final moan, we yet again didn’t complete the full 90 overs in a day and at one point it seriously looked like we might not get many more than 80. This has been a bugbear of all the editors on the blog; however if I’m paying top dollar for 90 overs, then that is exactly what I want, 87 overs simply won’t do. End of.

So on to Day 2, and to see if England can motor towards 500 or whether South Africa can take early wickets with the new ball. Either way, it feels like the first session tomorrow could be pivotal as to the result of the game. Thoughts and Comments below as always:

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95 thoughts on “England vs. South Africa, 1st Test, Day 1

  1. thelegglance July 6, 2017 / 6:58 pm

    I once captained a team that took four wickets off no balls in around 40 overs. I lost my rag the last occasion when a team mate called out ‘unlucky’ to the bowler.

    Oh I’m back. Jetlagged but back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean B July 6, 2017 / 7:01 pm

      That’s the reason I was never allowed to be Captain. There would’ve been blood, and lots of it….

      Like

      • thelegglance July 6, 2017 / 7:07 pm

        Not sure I was that polite either. From: Being Outside CricketSent: Thursday, 6 July 2017 20:01To: chris@blueearthmanagement.co.ukReply To: Being Outside CricketSubject: [New comment] England vs. South Africa, 1st Test, Day 1

        a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; }

        a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; }

        /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ WordPress.com Sean B commented: “That’s the reason I was never allowed to be Captain. There would’ve been blood, and lots of it….”

        Liked by 1 person

        • thebogfather July 6, 2017 / 7:16 pm

          …ermm… prefer my more concise review at the bottom of the last thread…. or was that a transcript of Cookies thoughts on the days play? 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sean B July 6, 2017 / 7:20 pm

            If only I’d have seen it before writing my review, I’d have posted it on the blog and claimed it as a my own. If it’s good enough for FICJAM, then it’s good enough for me…

            Liked by 1 person

          • thebogfather July 6, 2017 / 7:48 pm

            SB – twas a reply to jetlaggedleggy’s post above, your’s was excellent as ever!

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus July 6, 2017 / 8:39 pm

            I’m thinking of shutting the site down when no tests are being played.

            Good to see you all back and commenting.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark July 6, 2017 / 7:15 pm

    New captain , New team, same old England. Top order fails, and the Middle order bail them out. England go from didly squat for 4 to 350 at the close of play.

    Some days it’s your day, and Joe Root took advantage. Good day to do it on your captains debut. SA were very average in their basic skills. Catching, and no balls. Sloppy play has cost them, and some odd captaincy. If England add another 100 runs tomorrow SA will be in trouble because this pitch doesn’t look like it will be great batting last. Time will tell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel July 6, 2017 / 11:22 pm

      Maharaj (iHope) gives the ball much more of a rip than Dawson. Why Elgar didn’t bowl him more from the Nursery End will be a talking point. He nearly got Root stumped, after all, when bowling from the right end. And can anyone explain why Vilander is always unfit? Bedser and Cartwright bowled about 20 times as many overs every year for 20 yearsand never pulled up after 5 overs

      Like

  3. Miami Dad's Six July 6, 2017 / 7:36 pm

    Weird day. Think England dodged a 180 all out bullet with the no balls and dropped catches. Even at 70-4 SA weren’t exactly playing particularly well. Morkel and Rabada really off the button.

    As a batsman, Dawson has the best opportunity he could hope for tomorrow. As a bowler, it’ll be interesting to see how days 3-5 go for him. Wonder if the England quicks might get it to reverse.

    Like

    • thelegglance July 6, 2017 / 7:41 pm

      There was a bit of spin today – out of the footholes which isn’t much use except against the left handers, but it was there and for day one a touch surprising.

      Like

      • thebogfather July 6, 2017 / 7:53 pm

        Dear Leggy… I guess you’ve been on too much Kerala alcohol and have dribbled it all over your WordPress! lol

        Like

        • thelegglance July 6, 2017 / 7:55 pm

          It’s the email reply function. It never renders properly for some reason.

          Like

          • man in a barrel July 6, 2017 / 11:24 pm

            What footmarks did Maharaj get turn from to get Root almost stumped?

            Like

    • LordCanisLupus July 6, 2017 / 8:56 pm

      I read Newman, so you don’t have to…

      Ballance!

      It was Root who insisted he had his close friend and Yorkshire captain Gary Ballance alongside him once it became clear England could not pick a batsman in Haseeb Hameed who has not scored a first-class 50 this season.
      But the early evidence is that Ballance will continue to be exposed by the very best bowling, especially batting at three, after he was trapped in the crease and palpably lbw after being pushed back by Morne Morkel.
      It capped a bad morning for Ballance who had failed to encourage Keaton Jennings to review what looked to the naked eye to be a bad lbw decision from Indian umpire S Ravi off the outstanding Vernon Philander. Replays showed the ball had not only pitched outside leg but would have missed the stumps.
      Cook, so outstanding in scoring six hundreds for Essex this season, had made a poor start to his new life as senior professional by playing a loose waft at Philander before Ballance compounded his own dismissal by wasting a review.

      The gift.

      Like

      • Mark July 7, 2017 / 9:10 am

        He doesn’t rate Balance much does he?

        And he doesn’t like Root having a casting say on who plays. I take it Newman prefers the selectors to pick the team? Although I seem to remember a year or so ago him pushing to have the whole selection panel replaced when the rumour was they were not picking the players Cook wanted.

        It’s not as if England captains & former Essex captains ever picked some of their mates from Essex is it?

        Like

  4. man in a barrel July 6, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    The ball that turned to beat Root’s bat was not out of the rough!

    Like

    • Sean B July 6, 2017 / 8:25 pm

      It was down the slope at the nursery end. Very confused why they bowled the spinner from the pavilion end…

      Like

  5. Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) July 6, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    A pet hate from my playing days was seeing a boundary fielder concede a four after the ball has gone over his head. Today’s looked as bad as any – very village. A good day of cricket, very sloppy by England before lunch.

    Who is Empty Suit?

    Like

    • BobW July 7, 2017 / 7:16 am

      Totally agree on this and this winds me up more than the no balling (well I am an ex bowler). The fielder is on the boundary for a reason. Also it’s a lot easier to run forward than run backwards.

      Like

    • AB July 7, 2017 / 3:22 pm

      Oh that’s an absolute village staple. As a bowler, you know a bloke is about to try a huge slog, you put the man on the boundary. “Right on the boundary, foot on the rope” you keep telling him.

      3 overs later, you’ve worked hard, bowled with discipline, cut off the easy runs, and now the big slog comes, exactly as predicted, a nice juicy top edge to your man in the deep.

      But what’s this? Apparently he was feeling lonely and has wondered in 10 yards off the rope to get a better view of the action. Predictably, he tries to get back but trips over his own feet. The ball lands exactly where he should have been standing and bounces for four. “I didn’t have a chance” he shouts “Fucking Shit ball anyway”

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Sean B July 6, 2017 / 8:29 pm

    What has happened to the verdict?? This watered down shower of shite upsets me greatly….

    Like

    • Mark July 6, 2017 / 8:43 pm

      It’s the new era, empty suit told me all about it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sean B July 6, 2017 / 8:50 pm

        Guess they have to save their pennies having paid through the nose for the new TV rights. I look forward to when next year’s Test Matches are fronted by Barney the Dinosaur…

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus July 6, 2017 / 9:05 pm

          Sean made Polite Enquiries.

          No, the last one on the show wasn’t me?

          Was the Duminy one Mr d’Arthez?

          Go to ESPN Cricinfo…

          Like

          • Sean B July 6, 2017 / 9:18 pm

            Sadly my main question ‘is Alastair Cook an overrated, flat track bully?’ didn’t make it….

            Like

          • d'Arthez July 7, 2017 / 7:51 am

            No, I have not sent in a question with regards to Duminy. If I had, it would be to the President of South Africa, asking him if Duminy can be detained for torture, treason or anything. Just as long as he can’t be picked for any South African team. He has been dreadful for merely a decade.

            Questions about why Duminy is picked feature every series on PoliteEnquireies, and even the commentators cannot even begin explaining that one, so they don’t even try anymore.

            Notice that Cook was dropped for not making any runs in New Zealand. Guess who also did not make any runs there? JP. When the third Test was there to be saved, JP could not be bothered to apply himself, despite 70+ innings worth of experience. So he had to be retained. The excuse that opening in New Zealand is hard, did not work for Cook. The excuse that “I can’t bat” seems to work every single time for JP.

            Seriously, he needed 9 years to get a second series in which he made 2 scores of 50 or more (against Sri Lanka, at home, after his debut series in Australia). Sure, it does not help that South Africa usually get 2 or 3 Tests in a series, but there have been players who have been dropped for far better performances than JP Duminy. And seriously, if he is too incompetent to bowl, or field, maybe it would have made sense to actually pick a proper batsman? There are quite a few batsmen of colour who are deserving of a look-in, but no, JP has to be played.

            His record in England is dreadful (and his Test record seems decent there, but that is greatly aided by 2 not outs). Therefore he had to play the Champions Trophy. Because who does not want a finisher whose SR (at 6) is lower than that of the openers? Who does not want a finisher who averages 2 runs per 3 balls faced in England? His highest score in a mere 19 ODI innings in England is 38 (against Sri Lanka, probably the side that had the least useful bowling attack for the conditions there). So of course he had to play every game in England. Why try and win something, when you can pick JP Duminy?

            His record in ICC tournaments is equally dreadful. One ton against Zimbabwe (2011), and one 50 against Ireland (2015). So obviously he is a big game player, and needs to be picked indefinitely. Sure the numbers look decentish, as long as you don’t pay attention to whom he scores his runs against (22 innings in ICC tournaments, with 115* against Zim, 99 against Ireland, and 40 against Netherlands accounting for half the runs he has made in these tournaments).

            South Africa would have been better off playing with 10 men, than 10 + Duminy. And I have been arguing that since probably 2011. His best contribution since then was in Australia 2012, when he got injured after close of Day 1 of that series. It allowed Faf in the side.

            At this point in time, I cannot see any meritocratic reason to select him. The only “reason” that I can see to pick him, is corruption. Whether that is team selection or fixing outcomes of the games, I’d let ACSU investigate.

            Liked by 2 people

        • Mark July 6, 2017 / 9:12 pm

          It explains why Bob Willis was being interviewed at the ground by David Gower after the match. Bob was in the studio decked out in shades, and doing jokes about Elgar’s variations.

          Like

          • BobW July 7, 2017 / 7:12 am

            I was waiting for Bob Willis to moan about the no balls but he kept quiet on that one. I was rather disappointed given that he was the king of no balling in his day.

            Like

  7. man in a barrel July 6, 2017 / 11:28 pm

    Is Philander fit to bowl 30 overs per day? If not then who is going to bowl his overs? Questions for Dean Elgar

    Like

  8. Alec July 7, 2017 / 8:03 am

    de Bruyn, one would assume.

    Like

  9. LordCanisLupus July 7, 2017 / 10:17 am

    Jonah Dmitri gets to watch some cricket (hint, special occasion today, coming up to the half century) on the TV this morning and we lose a lot of our advantage.

    That was a tough old decision for Dawson.

    Like

  10. SteveT July 7, 2017 / 10:17 am

    Dawson showing his ‘good character’. Just the man to lead a recovery of a top order collapse. The floral one will be disappointed.

    Like

    • Mark July 7, 2017 / 10:28 am

      Roots picks are not working out so far. If England were to lose this match, the media will do something hey haven’t done for 4 years. Namely, attack the captain.

      On the other hand, picking a spinner primarily for his batting seems a bit odd to me. Shouldn’t his prime reason for selection be his wicket taking?

      Like

      • SteveT July 7, 2017 / 10:40 am

        You would hope so wouldn’t you, unless the wicket taking spinner has a fragile temperament of course.

        Like

        • Mark July 7, 2017 / 10:51 am

          I honestly believe if we ever produced a spin bowler of the quality of Shane Warne, but who could not bat……Real rabbit……some in the media would be saying………”yes, but we have this bloke at Derbyshire who averages 37 with the bat.”

          Like

  11. Mark July 7, 2017 / 10:21 am

    Just watching the review of Dawsons lbw and for a split second when they put the name of the third umpire up on screen I thought it was Stephen Fry. Turned out it was Simon Fry.

    Nothing would surprise me anymore. Don’t tell empty suit, he will see it as a posible new revenue stream. Let celebrities take turns at being third umpires, in exchange for a set fee.

    Like

  12. d'Arthez July 7, 2017 / 10:29 am

    South Africa forget to review a plumb lbw against Broad. So it is 1-1 in the review howler department (not reviewing when a review would have resulted in a wicket / saving a wicket).

    Like

  13. thelegglance July 7, 2017 / 10:30 am

    Not ideal for England in terms of the match situation, but there aren’t many finer sights than seeing Moeen Ali teeing off when he has to bat with the tail.

    Discuss.

    Like

  14. Mark July 7, 2017 / 10:45 am

    An “Evening with Nasser.” last night apparently?

    “Don’t worry, I’ll do all my greatest hits…..just bare with me while I do my new material first. A couple of hours of new stuff, and then I will do all my old favourates. Trust me.”

    All the classics….. Like putting a foot through the fridge door. And…..win the toss at Brisbane and put the opposition in on a belter. Pointing to my number 3 on my back and saying this is where I bat. I have an acoustic version of everyone’s favoure Nasser hit, namely being bowled in the WI by one that rolled along the deck.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus July 7, 2017 / 10:54 am

      To me Nasser is like that good kid at school, the funny, slightly irreverent, cool kid who you got one with, who when he left became a snivelling authoritarian toady. It’s that much more galling because he was on your side before.

      It hurts that much more. His book is really good. He’s gone downhill in the Cook lovefest.

      Like

      • Mark July 7, 2017 / 11:11 am

        I must read his book sometime. It sits gathering dust at my local Library, and I should give it a go sometime.

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus July 7, 2017 / 11:43 am

      Is there some secret viewer feedback Sky have that says we want more Drug Cheat in the commentary box? He’s a weapon. Pure and simple. He might have a great cricket brain, but he isn’t a broadcaster in any way, shape or form.

      Like

      • SteveT July 7, 2017 / 1:06 pm

        At least he’s not Dominic Crok

        Like

        • SteveT July 7, 2017 / 1:07 pm

          Cork I meant! not a bad mis-spell though.

          Like

    • LordCanisLupus July 7, 2017 / 10:58 am

      Nice to see the ECB stick their nose in on the side of Cricket Australia – for that is what this is.

      I prefer “A Difficult Winter” as the title.

      Like

      • Mark July 7, 2017 / 11:10 am

        Nah, it’s only BT who will suffer. And they have been dumped in the latest TV deal.

        Do you think this announcement is akin to coming down on the side of CA? There had been talk of Cricet Australia putting out a 4th or 5th rate team if an agreement can’t be reached. This rather ends that talk. If no deal by mid October, England aren’t going.

        I would have thought it puts the pressure back on CA to get a deal done. Maybe I’m reading this wrong?

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus July 7, 2017 / 11:17 am

          Oh yes, I do believe it is done to “help” CA. Why? Because that sort stick together. No way the ECB does or says this without running it through them first. First rule of all management – bring the workers to heel. Whether it is a clever intervention is for others to decide. Personally, it’s dense. It’s supposed to ramp up the leverage by creating a deadline they have no intention of sticking to. If this deal is resolved mid-November there will still be an Ashes tour. Not like rearranging the Olympics.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mark July 7, 2017 / 11:35 am

            I have no doubt that you are right, and that the ECB would side with CA. And I’m sure you are right by saying they have probably run it by them.

            But if no deal can be reached by CA and the Aussie players then it makes no difference what England do. Assuming the players stick to their position of not playing as they are now out of contract.

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus July 7, 2017 / 11:40 am

            It’s a pathetic intervention. I worked for many years on the union side in the office I worked in. The one lesson I never learned is that the management team don’t think like we do. The logical prism, that this intervention would be interpreted by authority in any other way than “you obstreperous players, get into line by x date or you’ll be sorry” wouldn’t have entered their heads. Oh, it is meant to be all things to all sides in their own view, but we all know what they mean. Or at least we should. There were always the useful idiots on the worker side who sided with management and said they were always reasonable.

            I could write a thesis on this, but we don’t do politics.

            Like

          • Mark July 7, 2017 / 12:08 pm

            I have no doubt the management do not negotiate in good faith.

            Interesting to hear an Ex Aussie player in the week say that CA have refused to go to arbitration for the last 3-4 months. A good indication that they don’t want an negotiated settlement. Also, it ran down the clock to the players being out of comtract and so not being paid.

            CA didn’t want a deal while the players were in contract unless they got it on their terms. They prefered to wait until now when the players will be without money coming in. Doesn’t effect the top players but the lower ranked players will start to feel the pinch.

            To be honest, I wouldn’t want to play for Australia any more after this anyway because it seems the management are less the baggy green, and more Rio Tinto. Doesn’t quite have the same warmth and pride to it.

            Like

      • oreston July 7, 2017 / 11:14 am

        This was my initial thought. I suspect this might just be part of the game of brinkmanship, with ECB helping out CA informally (and with plausible deniability, natch) by announcing a position, much earlier than was really needed, which it is hoped will “focus minds” to reach a solution.
        There’s a couple of months yet before this becomes a critical situation so there’s every chance a settlement will be thrashed out and those pesky players brought to heel.

        Like

  15. Mark July 7, 2017 / 11:14 am

    400 odd could be a great score on this pitch. Batting doesn’t look so easy if the bowlers put it in the rigjt place. Balls keeping low, bit of movement of the pitch.

    I thought Lords only created belters these days. (Watch the game play out to a 5 day draw now.)

    Like

  16. Mark July 7, 2017 / 11:40 am

    That was some pathetic bowling by SA at the end. Moronically just bowling short ball after short ball at the tail enders.

    As soon as he pitches it up on off stump….. he gets the edge. Why do bowlers think that what works against number 1,2,3,4,5,6 won’t work against 10,11?

    Like

  17. LordCanisLupus July 7, 2017 / 11:45 am

    We haven’t bowled a ball and Warne mentions leaning on Cook for advice.

    I win. I had the over/under at one ball

    Like

    • Mark July 7, 2017 / 12:01 pm

      Ha ha ha.

      How much do you want to bet he was handed a card with the words written on it?

      Like

    • SteveT July 7, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      He mentioned it yesterday, even before the match had started!!

      Like

    • jomesy July 7, 2017 / 4:54 pm

      Maybe he meant as a Drunk uses a lamppost?

      Like

      • oreston July 7, 2017 / 5:47 pm

        …whereas how a dog uses a lamp post would arguably be more appropriate.

        Like

  18. SteveT July 7, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    Boycott on England’s two spinners:
    ‘Hang on, two slow bowlers maybe but I wouldn’t call them spinners’

    Like

    • d'Arthez July 7, 2017 / 1:25 pm

      We’ll see how much “control” Dawson can offer here.

      Like

    • Mark July 7, 2017 / 2:02 pm

      Rashid might have been quite interesting on this pitch on day 4 and 5. But he doesn’t give “control” according to his detractors.

      Like

  19. man in a barrel July 7, 2017 / 2:00 pm

    It looks as if Root is another bottler. Although Dawson was going at 7 per over, it was because Elgar was worried and wanted to hit him out of the attack. Surely it was worth another over to see if Elgar would try another big hit

    Like

    • SteveT July 7, 2017 / 2:12 pm

      He brought Mo on and he’s nailed Amla in his first over. For all his flaws he does have that knack of getting batsmen out.

      Like

      • thelegglance July 7, 2017 / 2:19 pm

        His bowling strike rate is perfectly reasonable for a finger spinner. His economy rate and average isn’t great, but nor is it miles away from what is typical for England spinners not called Swann. And he can bat rather well, so fills a role nicely there. Moeen is not the answer as a bowler to many things, but I always come back to the point that the idea others out there are far better simply isn’t the case.

        Liked by 1 person

        • oreston July 7, 2017 / 2:36 pm

          You may a point about Moeen. Definitely people should stop blaming him for not being something he will never be and perhaps focus on what he does bring to the table. Meanwhile I see it’s going well for Dawson so far. Just the 29 runs conceded from four superbly controlled overs, with a deficit in the wickets column.

          Like

          • SteveT July 7, 2017 / 2:41 pm

            They’re just sayng on TMS that Dawson was picked as he is a solid character who gives control. No sniggering at the back

            Like

          • thelegglance July 7, 2017 / 2:53 pm

            England are able to field six bowlers because Moeen and Stokes are in the batting line up basically and that goes down to seven. At the moment he’s worth his place as a batsman I’d say.

            But you’re spot on about people focusing on what players can’t do rather than what they can.

            Like

          • SteveT July 7, 2017 / 3:08 pm

            He’s also just got his 100th wicket, to go with the 2000 runs. Elgar gone.

            Like

          • thelegglance July 7, 2017 / 3:44 pm

            My liking for Moeen is mostly because I just love watching the guy bat, and want him to succeed. But I do think he gets stick for what he can’t do rather than praise for what he can. His batting recently has been excellent, but there’s always a but.

            Like

          • Mark July 7, 2017 / 3:09 pm

            The numerous “all rounders” like Stokes, Ali, Bairstow (wicketkeeper) even Broad, and other bowlers who can bat, have been the reason for what success England have had in the last couple of years. Without them, Cooks captaincy record would have been abysmal.

            It’s why I never believed in the……. “there is no alternative” doctrine.

            Didn’t really matter who captained England as the formula was dictated by a long batting line up that somehow got England up to 300 plus in most innings.

            Like

      • AB July 7, 2017 / 3:32 pm

        Its a bit bizarre having 4 specialist batsmen, 3 specialist bowlers and 5 all-rounders, but you’ve got to make the most of what you’ve got.

        It just so happens that England currently have more competent all-rounders than any other discipline.

        We don’t really have a front line spinner, but we have 3 decent back-up spinners, and we don’t really have a proper number 6, but we do have the best number 7 since Gilchrist was around.

        Oh well, seems to be working out ok so far.

        Like

        • thelegglance July 7, 2017 / 3:43 pm

          It’s kind of reminiscent of the South Africa side of the late nineties, where the all rounders started at 3 (Kallis) and often finished at 10 (Pollock. I mean, bloody hell, Pollock at 10!).

          Like

      • man in a barrel July 7, 2017 / 3:50 pm

        It’s ironic that Dobell has been plugging the line that Moeen is not the number one spinner in the team and yet he has bowled more overs than Dawson. I think it might have been worth trying to buy Elgar’s wicket with a couple more Dawson overs. Elgar was rattled by the 2 deliveries that turned on him out of the rough and was looking to hit him out of the attack, not totally convincingly. Yes the runs column looks bad for Dawson but he got Elgar to miscue once. The ball from Moeen to bag Amla was a snorter

        Like

        • thelegglance July 7, 2017 / 3:51 pm

          Moeen bowls a lot of good balls. It’s just that he also bowls a lot of four balls. A converted part timer in other words…

          Like

          • Mark July 7, 2017 / 4:12 pm

            When Cook was showing absolutely no faith in his spin bowlers after Swann retired it was a couple of spells from Ali that seemed to change his mind. Moeen got some useful wickets, and didn’t get belted out of the attack.

            Cook didn’t have to do anything too risky in his captaincy style with Moeen. He didn’t have the same faith in Rashid. But Rashid was a different type of bowler. Much more attacking and therefore more risky.

            England captains tend to be very conservative in their outlook. Probably because they are manufactured out of a plant just outside Milton Keynes.

            Like

          • thelegglance July 7, 2017 / 4:19 pm

            Cook was a dire captain of spinners not called Graeme. Not a clue.

            Like

  20. SteveT July 7, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    Don’t worry D, it’s Duminy to the rescue 😉

    Like

    • BoredInAustria July 7, 2017 / 2:21 pm

      Cricinf: ” Now then, another left-hander for Moeen to aim at. And JP Duminy is dodgy against offspinners.”

      Like

      • d'Arthez July 7, 2017 / 2:46 pm

        Cricinfo should have read: “Now then, anohter left-hander for Moeen to aim at. And JP Duminy is dodgy against anything.”

        Can’t say I am having great confidence in his heroics by his innings thus far. I’d be massively surprised if he makes it past 25.

        Like

        • SteveT July 7, 2017 / 3:21 pm

          Prepare not to be massively surprised, out for 15.

          Like

  21. d'Arthez July 7, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    98/4* – Duminy still at the crease, but I am sure a pretty 15 will satisfy the detractors and the selectors …

    Congrats to Moeen for bagging 100 Test wickets.

    Like

    • d'Arthez July 7, 2017 / 3:20 pm

      Duminy gone for 15. Told you all what quality JP is.

      Like

    • d'Arthez July 7, 2017 / 4:16 pm

      De Bruyn and Bavuma doing some rebuilding. Not that it will amount to much in all likelihood – South Africa are still about 30 runs short from the Duminy drop (which cost 174 runs; yeah, I know caveats apply and all that). Duminy has done the damage already, and I don’t expect him to even make those 174 runs in 8 innings.

      Also, barring Kuhn (but as an opener, that is part of the job), everybody has outbatted Duminy – both in terms of balls faced and runs scored). So needless to say, the reasonable expectation is that it will be de Bruyn who will be dropped for Faf, so that Duminy can be retained for more scratchy 15s.

      If by some sound judgement / divine intervention (and given the persistent stupidity of the selectors, it is probably going to require the latter) it is Duminy who makes way for Faf, then this clusterf**k will have been well worth it for all South Africa supporters.

      Like

      • Mark July 7, 2017 / 4:58 pm

        Do you have any theories as to why they stick with him?

        Like

      • d'Arthez July 7, 2017 / 5:23 pm

        Honestly. No.

        In the past his bowling and fielding was used as an excuse to keep picking him. And of cours,e looking good in the nets, and all that. His bowling has gone down the drain. And his batting has really not flourished at all, since his debut series. His average is testament to that. And honestly, you can’t be picked forever for what you have done a decade ago.

        Quotas may help a bit explaining it, but it begs the question: why pick a Coloured player who has hardly performed, when they can easily pick other Coloured / African players who would also tick that particular box. None of those players have even been given a look-in (guys like Zondo for instance). We can blame the selectors for that. And selectorial biases may well play a part in that as well (as happens everywhere). But not even scoring 1 50 in 6 out of 18 series he has played in, and averaging less than 25 in half of those series, are hardly the numbers that justify picking him indefinitely. I can name about half a dozen England openers who have been dropped while doing better than Duminy on such metrics, in the last few years alone.

        Bear in mind that quotas do exist, but they’re not hard targets (they are annual targets, but that means teams can be picked that are too “White” in individual situations; in other words, dropping Duminy for say Markram (as a White batsman in the squad; I would not be advocating for him to be honest) can be compensated by picking an extra Coloured / African player in an ODI). So, again, there is no reason to keep picking Duminy.

        And yes, quotas do have their use. The problem is, as I have argued before is that access to cricket is heavily racialised in South Africa (just as access to cricket in England is heavily dependent on the school you go to).
        As such, Africans in particular have far fewer chances, relative to the share of the population. Don’t for a moment think that Bavuma and Rabada did not enjoy fairly privileged upbringings.

        But in terms of meritocratic reasoning? I can’t really see it. And it has been not just me. It is something that has bewildered many people who support South Africa.

        De Bruyn gone, to Anderson. 203/5. England well set for a convincing win here.

        Like

  22. "IronBalls" McGinty July 7, 2017 / 4:18 pm

    Just had a quiet chortle at the fact that Root isn’t giving Jimmy much bowling time. Vaughan’s quote that “Jimmy will be putting Root on the naughty step” was classic irony?

    Like

  23. man in a barrel July 7, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    That lbw shout against de Bruyn was mighty close. It certainly looked out. But surely Wood should have been warned for following through onto the danger area

    Like

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