England v South Africa – Day 2 – Oh No! What Have You Done?

South Africa finish the day 205 runs ahead. England made 205. 15 wickets fell on the day. It hasn’t been a great day for the new Root England, but it isn’t, if we are being really truthful with ourselves, a massive shock. England’s batting is brittle. England don’t seem to cope well with any first innings score of 300+ on the board. We can look at how we play, and we can look at reactions under pressure, but this England team seem perfectly fine batting first at home. We don’t seem perfectly fine chasing a game.

What we do have is turbo-charged cricket which seems to be advancing test cricket matches so that it would be a massive surprise if this game goes to Day 5, and less of a surprise if it finished tomorrow. This may give Bungalow Graves and his Empty Suit more encouragement for their Shiny Toy backed idiocy, but where I am sitting, it looks like a massive drop in the quality of play. Batting has become a pursuit of having a good time at the crease, and not a long time. Joe Root, a man for all seasons, set the equal fastest half-century by an England test captain, but his support consisted of a doughty but not ground-breaking 20-odd by Gary Ballance, and a sketchy old knock by Johnny Bairstow.

England’s 205 was pathetic, even given the conditions which assisted the bowlers, but with an attack that saw Maharaj take three wickets on a pitch that does not assist the spinners, Chris Morris and Duanne Olivier looked, for long periods, to be out of sorts, this has to be nothing but a bitter disappointment. Philander and Morkel are a very good opening pair when in rhythm and on a wicket that assists (or with appropriate conditions). This happens too often these days, and while for many years England’s modus operandi was being hard to beat, now it seems to be self-destruction.

And yet the day started so well. The remaining four wickets were taken in very short order and Jimmy Anderson recorded his seventh five wicket haul and 309 for 6 turned in to 335 all out. That was something to put the spring in our steps, and no doubt delight our Antipodean friend who thinks Jimmy is not all his record is cracked up to be.

The momentum, such as it was, came to a shuddering halt in the space of two deliveries. Cook prodded forward to Philander, and while I was wondering if he was LBW, the Proteas were claiming a catch. Cook had indeed nicked it on to his pad, and de Kock had, indeed, held the chance. As if this wasn’t a big enough blow, Keaton Jennings followed the ball after as he nicked off to Morkel. Interesting that the commentators said it was a ball that would have got most out – defensive failings are quite often explained away. That’s four single figure scores out of seven test innings. Early days in his career, but there is no doubt he’s not locked in yet.

Root and Ballance kept South Africa at bay in different ways. Ballance pays for not having a style that is easy on the eye. I’m sure that makes up part of the almost hysterical “he’s not up to it” I see on Twitter. He may not be, but we’d just seen the two openers ripped out in no time, and it’s time to lay it on Ballance. He’s not set at three, but good grief, this isn’t the time to go mad about him. He saw off the attack and then fell after lunch. As I said, no-one is going to pay to watch Ballance play test cricket, but there seem to be a lot of very critical people on his case.

Root’s skittish innings was in large parts genius, and large parts reckless. He seemed to convey an attitude that the only way to get back into the game was to take risks, be aggressive and cash in. He’s a top top player. Joe Root can do that. Mere human cricketers aren’t so good at it. YJB managed to make 45, but it was all over the place. He has that charming knack at this stage of riding his luck and contributing (he did at Lord’s last Sunday) so long may it continue!

When Root was dismissed with the score on 143, the last seven wickets contributed just 62 more. That’s garbage. It was put into some context with South Africa’s 75 for 1 second innings, and trouble is in store. Unless England come up with a miracle, they will be chasing 300+ in the final innings, and we all know how tough that is.

The dismissal that may raise most eyebrows was Moeen Ali’s. A very loose drive, uppish, to a man placed there precisely for that shot, is the sort that infuriates us armchair pundits and some of the media corps. But it is what it is. Moeen is there to counter-punch, and it has worked before. His profligacy was accentuated by the tail contributing next to nothing. It’s how he plays.

I have to say watching Philander bowl was fascinating. He has those virtues of line and length, and the ability to keep a batsman honest. He took just two wickets, but he removed our two most defensive players. He will be a tough man to play in the second innings, and the suspicion is that he is nowhere near fully fit.

So, it looks very much like we will be all square going into the Oval test. If it isn’t, we’ll have a ton to write about.

RIP to the five overs lost today. They will be deeply mourned by the punters pockets, and placed in a communal grave by the authorities who give the square root of fuck all about that.

Comments on Day 3 below. Chris will be on the decks tomorrow.


97 thoughts on “England v South Africa – Day 2 – Oh No! What Have You Done?

  1. BoredInAustria Jul 15, 2017 / 6:33 pm

    Well well well. I am really surprised – SA without Rabada on Broad’s homeground. I thought the series would be 2-0 come Monday. And certainly the morning started in that fashion.

    It seems Faf made a big difference in bringing focus and discipline (although I am sure AB on twitter really means a lot to the “boys” !!!)

    But I must agree with Vaughan that the team selection seems a batsman light. And in that context the cavalier batting approach (also form Root) seems odd – Perhaps they also believed that without Rabada the bowling can be pressurised.

    I will have no further predictions, but for the series a win by SA will keep the interests high. For the new captain the daggers will be out. I wonder if the men in the background that is wanting Dawson will be taking responsibility?


  2. metatone Jul 15, 2017 / 6:46 pm

    Here’s what I said in the preview:

    “This connects to my fear that beating weakend opposition allows us to fool ourselves into thinking we can carry players like Ballance and Dawson – and only find out it’s a problem when we get to a hard series abroad.”

    I might well have added out of form Cook & Jennings to the list. And it seems to me this is the story of the day. Ali, I’ll note seemed not to be confident in Dawson, which leads to Ali playing like he expects to run out of partners – which as you note goes well sometimes and not others.

    Really, we’re back to the strengths and weaknesses of “too many all rounders.” On a good day you steamroller the opposition, on a bad one, they take you to the cleaners. All of course amplified by a glass jaw of a top order.

    A note on Ballance, b/c as a Yorks fan I’ve probably seen more of his batting than most. He’ll always scratch and graft – as today. But it was clear before his return to the England side that he hasn’t solved his problem with the full ball from top tier bowlers. Not a problem for his average in CC as top tier bowlers are spread thin and often bowling plans are sketchy. But in Test cricket such things get targeted. Would I back him to solve it eventually? Probably. Can an England with Cook & Jennings up top afford to wait while he does? Much harder to believe that…


  3. LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2017 / 6:53 pm

    Look, no-one should be calling for his head, but this sums up the position so many journos seem to take:

    “Cook’s place is not in question given he is England’s all-time record runscorer.

    But the jury is still out on Jennings, whose century on debut in Mumbai last December cannot protect him from proper scrutiny this English summer.”

    Cook’s place should be in doubt if they think there are two better openers in the country, and eff all squared to do with where he sits in the record runs pantheon. After all, taking that logic, you know who should never have been dropped and nor should have Ian Bell.

    No Newman tonight. Lawrence Booth has done the Mail piece. I can’t get mad at it. The above wasn’t from Booth.


    • Miami Dad's Six Jul 15, 2017 / 7:01 pm

      Bell has had an awful County summer, so I am not suggesting a recall, but peak Bell played the ball late with soft hands – I reckon he’d have done fine on this pitch. Or he’d have charged Maharaj first ball and dollied to mid off.


    • thelegglance Jul 15, 2017 / 7:01 pm

      I’m pretty sure it was ok to question the place of the previous all time England run scorer…

      (rightly too. It’s not a sinecure).


    • jomesy Jul 15, 2017 / 7:06 pm

      I’ll call for his head!

      Re: “Keaton Jennings followed the ball after as he nicked off to Morkel. Interesting that the commentators said it was a ball that would have got most out – defensive failings are quite often explained away.”

      I take your point but I think you’re being a bit unkind to Morkel…it was a very good ball.


      • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2017 / 7:07 pm

        No. Absolutely it was a good ball.

        But Keaton Jennings is being questioned in the articles I’ve read.


  4. d'Arthez Jul 15, 2017 / 6:57 pm

    The over rate was not too great today, but 15 wickets fell. Coupled with the two change overs, that is 46 minutes lost, for which only 4.5 overs were deducted. So that means 80.1 overs were bowled in 5 hours and 44 minutes (give or take a minute or two). The average over lasted 4 minutes and 18 seconds.

    Compare that with Lord’s Day 1, in which just 5 wickets fell, and 3 overs were lost. Which means that 87 overs were bowled in 6 hours and 20 minutes. Which is an average of 4 minutes and 22 seconds.


    • thelegglance Jul 15, 2017 / 7:04 pm

      The 90 overs in the day is meant to be the minimum though, not the target. There’s no excuse whatsoever short of a helicopter landing on the square. They have an extra half hour to cater for delays.


      • d'Arthez Jul 15, 2017 / 7:22 pm

        I take your point, but my argument is that the overrate was actually quite decent compared to many other efforts we have seen throughout the world in recent times.

        Not many sides bowl more than 90 overs in the day, barring the odd extra over in spinning conditions (India managed it once or twice in the series against England in 2016, on day 1), or when they’re chasing a win on the fourth / fifth day, with a loss not being a realistic prospect. Everyone treats 90 overs as the norm for 6.5 hours.

        I am not sure what one can do to incentivise the fielding teams to bowl those overs. Financial penalties will simply favour the richer teams (England, Australia and India), since their central contracts are often worth 10 times as much as the other nations can afford. Demerit points? Free hits? Bans for captains? Earlier starts / later finishes? Go back to 6-day Tests, to ensure the contest lasts at least 444 overs (that is 450 overs with 3 changeovers that do not come at scheduled intervals)? No solution to this problem is ideal.

        Also, it can invite the batting teams to fake injuries, and cause all kinds of delays. Want to ban a bowler? Pay people in the crowd to constantly be in front of the sight screen …


        • thelegglance Jul 15, 2017 / 7:29 pm

          run penalties work wonders in limited overs cricket. But the penalties they have now would work if they were actually enforced. Bowling 15 overs an hour simply isn’t an arduous request. They don’t because they aren’t compelled to.


          • Mark Jul 15, 2017 / 7:37 pm

            Nobody gives a toss about the over rate now I’m afraid. ICC, cpatains, broadcasters. 90 overs is an option not a necessity.

            What is funny is they still want 4 day tests with a hundred overs bowled in a day. Welcome to 8 hour day test matches. Plus travelling time.


          • thelegglance Jul 15, 2017 / 7:39 pm

            I know. I’m howling into the gale I’m afraid.


        • d'Arthez Jul 15, 2017 / 7:56 pm

          Yeah, that will be fun. Touring say Sri Lanka (just as an example, I expect all teams to do this) and the home board hiring the entire audience to block the sight screen, time and again – a sure fire way for Sri Lanka to rack up 500 runs in a day, but is it cricket? No.

          And given this is professional sports, where anything goes if it gives a slight edge, I am sure this will happen (eventually). If not by the home boards, then by betting syndicates, regardless of whether it is legal or not.

          I can imagine how much fun the Ashes away will be, when the touring side has to bring a long a bunch of hooligans to prevent the home “supporters” from doing just that. Who needs professional boxing or football hooliganism, when you can pick a fight at the cricket and be handsomely rewarded for it?

          And not to forget the professional ball retrievers, because suddenly the “home” ball retrievers can’t be bothered to speed up their efforts, as it benefits the home team if they don’t. The idea sounds good in theory, until you realize that the stakes are too high.

          It may work in domestic cricket, but that is because stakes are not too high.


        • dannycricket Jul 16, 2017 / 5:41 am

          My personal favourite would be to always finish on time, and to give the batting team 6 penalty runs for every ball lost. The extra half hour would be there to allow for extraordinary stoppages outside the bowling team’s control (serious injuries, issues with a sightscreen, spidercam delaying play, etc). Of course there are issues with that, not least that it incentivises the batting team timewasting, but it should be enough to get at least 15 overs an hour.


  5. BOZ Jul 15, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    sent you mail but returned saying unavailable – don’t understand!


  6. Mark Jul 15, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    The Cook issue should not even be an issue. He is still one of the best openers in the country and his place is not up for debate. However, if he keeps failing and other players emerge then time will tell. That is the way it’s supposed to work, but has not been the case with other players. No witch hunt for Cook, but no special favours either.

    Problem is we can’t find another opener at this moment in time. We have tried about 8 or 9 over the last few years with little success. The media has made the situation worse by the eulogising of Cook and his millions of runs he has scored this summer at county cricket. Remember when KP made 300 odd and the same media laughed and riddliculed his efforts? Ho no ho second division runs are of no importance they laughed.

    Anyway, the only reason Cook is on the radar is because of the medias stupid coverage of him. The bigger problem today was the team doesn’t seem to adjust to the situation around them. You can go on as many SAS cross country marches as you like it won’t help out in the middle. It’s a fault that seems to repeat under this mangememt. Semi final vs Pakistan the other week? England seem to have one plan, and if it doesn’t work they have no other. Root top scored and because he didn’t go on and score another big hundred he will be blamed. The Legglance’s favourite irritant blaming the players who score runs rather than those that don’t.

    When he and Bairstow were out what was needed was a bit of graft from the lower order to grind their way to 250 -280. They carried on like millionaires. But you can’t expect the lower order to bail out the top order for ever.

    Englands bowling at the end was disappointing as there seemed to be something in the pitch. Unless something changes this test match will be lost. And the shit will hit the fan because already people are muttering darkly about players being picked who are mates with the captain. Oh the irony!


    • thelegglance Jul 15, 2017 / 7:38 pm

      Sorry, I completely agree. Cook’s place is not remotely in question, I merely meant it should be judged by the standards he performs to now, rather than harking back to his record. Otherwise Tom Graveney would still be playing.


      • Mark Jul 15, 2017 / 7:51 pm

        It’s funny how the age of 34 is not an issue now. KP was almost in his bath chair at 34.

        And 10,000 runs was a selfish obsession.


        • "IronBalls" McGinty Jul 15, 2017 / 8:25 pm

          Cook’s had how many? 11 opening partners? Were they all crap cricketers?
          Bit of blue sky thinking…take Cook out of the equation…see what happens…what’s to lose? The only consistent thing about England’s batting recently has been the top order collapses.
          My life’s experiences have taught me that staleness requires a good shake up, and bring in freshness….just saying! :-/


          • d'Arthez Jul 15, 2017 / 9:05 pm

            Think part of the problem may well be that those guys had to bat with Cook. I am fairly confident that a very successful opening pair could be crafted out of the discards …


      • Benny Jul 15, 2017 / 9:04 pm

        I completely agree too. I wouldn’t even criticise Cook on getting few runs in just 3 innings. Hoping a big one is round the corner or I’ll change my mind.

        England, for a while, have had an obsession with all-rounders. Reason? They’re there to bail out failing top order batsmen. We have a country of millions and milions of people. If the people running cricket can’t find 11 top cricketers, the wrong people are running cricket. Sorry to whitter on about this again but it’s nonsensical.


    • BoredInAustria Jul 15, 2017 / 7:43 pm

      Ali Martin muttering darkly in the G: “Whether Root’s personally-endorsed selection, Gary Ballance, gets the chance to cash in when Jason Holder’s newly-announced and somewhat low-profile touring party arrive is hard to divine at present, with his dismissal to Philander on 27 – bowled via inside edge – rather wince-inducing.”

      Oh Cook was just sent packing inside five overs. No wincing.


    • jomesy Jul 15, 2017 / 7:54 pm

      Sorry. Have to disagree. This team can ONLY move on when the douche bag exits. Is it fair to call him a douche bag? In his defence, I’m not sure as I think he’s incredibly thick. Which is why he shouldn’t have been allowed to be in charge of a paper bag never mind the national team. Fine opening bat? For sure, once upon a time. Totally damaging to the team? Not to start with, of course, but now? Without doubt.

      The points you make are correct, i.e. he, currently, deserves his place on merit and the media rim – yes rim – him, and all he does, endlessly.

      Imagine if you were joining a team in which so, so many others had been discarded because they couldn’t play with Cook. Or now, when he’s not captain, and still the media lick his arse.

      Forgive my language, but dearest, darling Alistair needs to go and we’ll have the same chat until he does.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Jul 15, 2017 / 7:56 pm

        Let me play devil’s advocate: does it help anything and anyone to be as unfair to Cook (not judge him on his runs) as it was to Pietersen?


        • jomesy Jul 15, 2017 / 8:10 pm

          There is no devil’s advocate. Of course it doesn’t. But Cook can do what he wants without consequence and that’s hugely damaging to try and foster team spirit. Am I KP fan? Clearly. That’s not my point. My point is pretty simply: treat people
          fairly and they’ll respond in kind. Favour people and you bring problems. To be clear, people who don’t feel equal when they should have the “disgust” response from the brain. Who would want to join team England under those circumstances when it’s been their life dream?


        • Benny Jul 15, 2017 / 9:09 pm

          I believe the official excuse for dropping KP was “we’re moving on”. Maybe we should take the same approach with Cook, be prepared to lose a few but bed in some future stars.


          • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2017 / 9:16 pm

            I will say it again. I miss Paul Downton.


          • "IronBalls" McGinty Jul 15, 2017 / 9:21 pm

            What’s to lose? Really…what is to lose??? The day today, typically exemplifies the empty suit’s brand of thinking…play exciting attacking cricket and it doesn’t matter if we lose….complete bollocks from an air head marketing man. To all England cricket fans…winning matters!!!


          • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2017 / 10:18 pm

            As I said earlier – 92 tests up to mid-summer 2013 he made 24 hundreds. Last 50 tests? 5. His average is still decent, but those contributions are less frequent, and it is undeniable. This is the sort of form that had his peers in that team labeled as “inconsistent”, “infuriating” etc.

            I’m not fed up pointing this out.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Mark Jul 15, 2017 / 9:35 pm

            Assuming they settle the players pay dispute down under, Cook is going on the Ashes. So they are not going to drop him. I’m quite relaxed about that. He should just concentrate on his batting now and stop all the media profiles and other such clap trap.

            If he is happy in the ranks, than just get on with it and stop doing all this media stuff about er…..how he is happy to be in the ranks.

            A more worrying issue is what role does Flower have on selection? Officially none. But there a lot of Flower types picks. Did Root pick them or someone else?


  7. "IronBalls" McGinty Jul 15, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    MiLord…the empty suit is just as thick….just more “weaselly”…..is that a word?


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 15, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      Oh no. I’ve seen people I’ve got a lot of time for on Twitter (although I disagree with him on the new T20) who think he is the real deal. Might have to consider the thought that I might be wrong….



  8. northernlight71 Jul 15, 2017 / 11:26 pm

    I see Saint Jimmy of Anderson is trotting out the “we’re quite a young side” line today to explain the all-too-familiar batting malaise we were subject to.
    The youngest player is 25. Four of them are over 30.
    Cook – 32
    Jennings – 25
    Ballance – 27
    Root – 26
    Bairstow – 27
    Stokes – 26
    Ali – 30
    Dawson – 27
    Broad – 31
    Wood – 27
    Anderson – 34

    Average age of the team is 28. The vast majority of them have played at least 30 tests. Wood, Dawson and Jennings are the ones in single figures. Even triple Gary Ballance has played 22 times. Anderson, Broad and Cook over 100 times. Root, Bairstow, Stokes and Ali are all well past 30 matches.

    Nice to see the red hot, sharp journalists pulling him up on this one.


    • dannycricket Jul 16, 2017 / 5:57 am

      I think it bears saying that batsmen from Yorkshire are averaging 50 in this game, compared to 5.71 from the other counties. Clearly what’s needed is more Yorkshire players in the team…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. BoredInAustria Jul 16, 2017 / 6:46 am

    … things have changed.
    MSM being critical of the captain, and wctt having a go at the Guardian cricket correspondent. There might be a chance still to have an open discussion on Mr Flower’s role, but then that might be taking things a bit too far.
    I used to care but things have changed – Bob Dylan

    Liked by 1 person

    • BoredInAustria Jul 16, 2017 / 10:03 am

      … and keeps changing: Graeme Swann on BBC Test Match Special
      “Joe Root was incredible yesterday – he was like Viv Richards. He, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali should be playing their shots. It’s the defensive players like Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings and Gary Ballance who should try to bat all day. Play old school Test cricket”

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Prime.Evil Jul 16, 2017 / 8:44 am

    Too much doom and gloom. After Lord’s, it was going to be a cakewalk, 4-0. This SA side is a decent team and when the mood takes them, they can put up a fight. England may yet win the series. On the way to winning the war, one may very well lose a battle or 2. Not so?

    The past year or so it saddened me to watch Amla bat. He appeared to be a once great boxer fallen on hard times and now taking fight after fight to keep the wolf from the door. The young guns beating him into a pulp to prove that they can beat a champion. His greatness only coming through every now and then.

    Cook, I believe, is in a similar position. A good servant of English cricket coming to the end of his career. A pity the vultures are circling. Of course, we may argue a truly great man knows when it is time to go. Then again, can we really blame a woman trying to cling to her looks or a man to his virility?

    Fair enough, Cook is a favourite with the press and powers-that-be (Duminy? AB?) but we the people, who ultimately put money on the table to turn them into stars and watch them perform for our pleasure, are swift with judgement. A lot of the time justified: example, record companies coming up with “Greatest Hits” albums purely to suck money out of us saps. I used to get crazy mad to see this nonsense on the shelves. Pay a man a fair wage for a fair day’s work but not the record company trying to screw us over for a percentage (sorry Ripley).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. LordCanisLupus Jul 16, 2017 / 10:13 am

    Sir Ian being Sir Ian

    “Good – Have your best two bowlers on a the start of play”

    No wickets in 10 minutes

    “Get the spinner on, because they got Amla out at Lord’s”

    Are any of you convinced out there that you couldn’t do that job?


    • Sean B Jul 16, 2017 / 10:38 am

      I think Sir Ian actually passed away years ago and Sky simply replaced him with a robot that spews random past comments from yesteryear..


    • BoredInAustria Jul 16, 2017 / 10:55 am

      Ed Smith with the expert insight:”It’s now or never for England now, with the lead at 231″
      But I suspect he got that from someone else..


      • BoredInAustria Jul 16, 2017 / 11:19 am

        I wonder where Ed heard this: “England’s inconsistency is hard to understand. I guess it’s like an arm wrestle in many way. Once you lose the advantage it’s hard to get the momentum back. The rearguard innings you used to see are much less often. Once teams get behind they tend to lose. Maybe that’s the way the game has evolved.”


        • nonoxcol Jul 16, 2017 / 11:35 am

          I think that’s exactly what we all said about the bargain basement bollocks Ashes series of 2015, while the likes of Smith just banged on about #redemptionforCook. Isn’t it though?

          Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Jul 16, 2017 / 11:39 am

            It’s less than 12 months since “All 8 trophies” (or was it 9) and potential world number 1 there for the taking.


          • Mark Jul 16, 2017 / 1:06 pm

            This is why I believe test match cricket as I love is doomed. The changes 20/20 have brought to techniques is changing the way test cricket will be played. One side gets on top and then the other side just goes through the motions.

            They thought 20/20 would save cricket financially, and it has. But it will change test cricket so fundementaly that it won’t be the same game. Maybe it doesn’t matter because young people don’t care about what went before. If they like 4 day tests with attacking play then that’s the future.

            Why not have 20/20 test matches? 2 innings, 80 overs in one day test matches?

            Liked by 1 person

        • SimonH Jul 16, 2017 / 2:56 pm

          Maybe he might look at what SA did against Australia in Perth (especially after the close of Day One score) during the last winter?

          That would involve a member of the English MSM having a fucking clue what teams are doing when they aren’t playing England though… so I guess it isn’t going to happen.


  12. LordCanisLupus Jul 16, 2017 / 10:44 am

    Bowlers allowed to show dissent and grumpy with a young captain now, judging by how the box is laughing about this. If you can’t see the double standards, well…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jul 16, 2017 / 11:04 am

      It amuses me how much they are now talking about how many test matches we lost last year, and the odd selections of the last few years.

      Funny I don’t remember them being concerned at the time. The removal of Cook as captain is exposing the coaching staff.

      Also where is Cook, the old pro genius helping the captain with the reviews? We were told he would be sitting at slip advising the new captain. There were pages of column inches on the subject over the last few weeks.


      • d'Arthez Jul 16, 2017 / 11:12 am

        Also, given the conditions, this really puts England’s efforts yesterday to shame. Of course it does not help that the bowlers hardly got rest, but still.

        By the way, Zimbabwe giving Sri Lanka a real fight in the Test there. Sad it does not get much attention …


        • Prime.Evil Jul 16, 2017 / 11:41 am

          Yes, Zimbabwe won the ODI series. Sri Lanka has gone downhill a bit recently.

          Herath key player again this test match. If he lasts long enough, next time SA go to Sri Lanka I’m sure there will be hell to pay. Seeing that Faf managed to get “proper SA pitches” when Sri Lanka came visiting. Herath looked like a beginner.


          • SimonH Jul 16, 2017 / 6:15 pm

            “next time SA go to Sri Lanka”.

            Which will be 2024 at the earliest. SA did win on their last tour of SL, by the way, and those pitches were hardly green seamers.


  13. BoredInAustria Jul 16, 2017 / 11:30 am

    Charles Dagnall TMS: “I was speaking to Samit Patel in the press room at Trent Bridge earlier. He’s a little miffed that he’s not been considered in the Liam Dawson role. He’s a good player, Samit.”

    Better not ask Rashid’s opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy Jul 16, 2017 / 12:03 pm

      I enjoyed this from the G OBO:

      “In decades to come, historians will push themselves to the brink of a nervous breakdown and waste billions of pounds of public funding trying to find a satisfactory answer to the following question: why did Liam Dawson play Test cricket?”


      • d'Arthez Jul 16, 2017 / 12:05 pm

        The humourous / shocking thing about that comment, is that there is public funding for cricket research, but no public funding for cricket …


        • Benny Jul 16, 2017 / 1:39 pm

          What on earth is cricket research?


        • d'Arthez Jul 16, 2017 / 1:41 pm

          See question above. Maybe I should have phrased it a bit clearer.


  14. d'Arthez Jul 16, 2017 / 1:25 pm

    Silly question maybe, but why have we had only 3 overs of spin in the first 2 hours and 50 minutes?


    • thebogfather Jul 16, 2017 / 3:26 pm

      might get too close (tho’ not very close) to bowling 90 overs in a day…can’t let the plebs get value for monty


      • thebogfather Jul 16, 2017 / 3:27 pm

        ermm.. money not Monty (tho’ Panesar may be more useful than Dawson, even with the bat…)


  15. thelegglance Jul 16, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    Ok, Hussain says he’s playing devil’s advocate, so I can’t beat up on him too much, but the idea bowling the spinners might mean losing control is preposterous. It’s day three. They are 320 behind already. They couldn’t be less in control if they jumped out of an aircraft without a parachute.

    South Africa would happily bat another day at this rate. Taking wickets rapidly is the ONLY slim chance England have, otherwise it makes sod all difference if they’re 500 behind or 800 behind.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Jul 16, 2017 / 2:28 pm

      I’m sure you will be delighted to know that Nasser informed us first thing this morning that he had spoken to Mr A Cook who told Nass that he didn’t think he nicked it on his dismissal.

      Oh look the spinner has just got an LBW on review. Old spin bowlers like must be looking on drooling with Hawkeye. They would have got thousands of wickets.


      • thelegglance Jul 16, 2017 / 2:30 pm

        I don’t buy the idea they’d have got loads of wickets. Batsmen would have changed their techniques, which is exactly what happened when DRS came in. They played with the pad because they could. The moment they couldn’t, they used the bat.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Jul 16, 2017 / 3:25 pm

          Yes im sure they would use the Bat more, but LBWs were never given out with the batsman on the front foot coming forward. No matter how low on the pad they hit. It was just a given that it was not out.,

          When Hawkeye came in, and tracked the ball hitting the stumps, with batsman coming forward umpires started giving a few.


          • thelegglance Jul 16, 2017 / 3:51 pm

            Yes, and because they knew it wouldn’t be given, they used the pad so they didn’t risk being caught. Now they use the bat. The only effect the change of technique *might* have had is an increase in close catches.


          • Mark Jul 16, 2017 / 4:15 pm

            I get your point, and yes I’m sure they would have played more with the bat, but I don’t think they always deliberately played with the pad. Often they were just beaten by the bowler.

            As they were NEVER given out under the old system, any change would have only increased the amount of wickets because at worst the number of catches would have increased , and I still believe there would have been more LBWs. So bowlers would have got more wickets.


      • d'Arthez Jul 16, 2017 / 2:53 pm

        I agree with TLG here.

        Same thing must have happened when they changed the lbw laws in the 1930s. That is a bit harder to prove statistically (due to WW2 interfering with Test cricket).

        A change of law / playing conditions will lead to a change in how people play. Some batsmen / bowlers adjust a bit quicker than others, so you may get a bit of an effect at first, but over the course of time, the effect simply vanishes.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. dannycricket Jul 16, 2017 / 3:16 pm

    The interview at Tea reminded me that Mark Ramprakash is England’s batting coach. Are we missing the obvious answer for why a group of players who dominate at the county level can’t make the step up to Test cricket?


    • Sean B Jul 16, 2017 / 3:26 pm

      Looks like they’ve added Shane Watson as ‘DRS coach’.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. thebogfather Jul 16, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    ThePlagiarist climbs aboard the much-deserved adulation f Federer to remind us of his ‘own’ ‘cleverness’


    • Mark Jul 16, 2017 / 4:03 pm

      So once upon time Ed Smith wrote a column about how great Federer was. It wasn’t really a stretch was it? He might as well of written…… “Einstein was quite good at science. ”

      He does love to pad out his work with the quotations of others.

      “Talent is like the marksman who hits a target that others cannot reach,” wrote Arthur Schopenhauer; “genius is like the marksman who hits a target others cannot even see.” Andre Agassi, reflecting on a tiebreak between him and the young Federer, said that the Swiss player “took the match to a place I didn’t recognise” – this from the best ballstriker of the previous generation.

      He should run these quotes by the Ping pong man because according to him you just need 10,000 hours of practice, and you too can play tennis like Federer. And they just voted him sports writer of the year.

      Liked by 1 person

          • dannycricket Jul 16, 2017 / 4:36 pm

            I think I’d be at a disadvantage because I can’t remember reading any of Ed’s work. I was planning on waiting for Chris to post his version, then just copy it with a few slight changes.

            Liked by 3 people

          • BoredInAustria Jul 16, 2017 / 10:09 pm

            Brilliant! Made me laugh.


  18. Mark Jul 16, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    Broad should go to Specsavers.


  19. Sean B Jul 16, 2017 / 4:25 pm

    Pitch beginning to play up now, genuinely can’t see England scoring 200, let alone 400+


    • oreston Jul 16, 2017 / 4:40 pm

      Your reckon this group of players won’t knuckle down and fight an obdurate rearguard tomorrow with Liam Dawson emerging as the new Brigadier Block? Say it isn’t so…


      • Sean B Jul 16, 2017 / 4:45 pm

        Haha, looking forward to seeing at least one or two of the batsmen getting out to wild hoicks…


        • oreston Jul 16, 2017 / 5:01 pm

          You know how this situation goes these days. 175 all out by early in the afternoon session, I reckon. Half an hour’s relative common sense until the openers fall, then a blaze of embarrassingly rash shots to please Empty Suit (…who strangely will be nowhere to be seen). Commentators questioning whether the pitch was fit for Test cricket. A new captain, but somehow the same England performance of recent experience.
          Really hope I’m proved wrong…


          • Sean B Jul 16, 2017 / 5:03 pm

            Yep, you’ve got it in 1. Might just copy this now and post it tomorrow…

            Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jul 16, 2017 / 5:29 pm

      That was a shocking LBW by the umpire. If it had been clipping the bails he would have been out on umpires call. Very harsh with a brand new hard ball. It was going well over the stumps.

      Just saying…..

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Mark Jul 16, 2017 / 5:33 pm

    This could be one of the greatest noughts of all time.


    • Sean B Jul 16, 2017 / 5:56 pm

      I literally fell apart laughing, especially as I’d just asked on Twitter whether England should send a night watchman out to protect Cook.

      Damn DRS…


      • Mark Jul 16, 2017 / 6:37 pm

        I guarantee somone will do a write up in a paper tomorrow in which the last 20 minutes was the highlight of the day.


  21. SimonH Jul 16, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    Someone needs to find their inner Bev Congdon tomorrow (one for the old-timers there).

    Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel Jul 16, 2017 / 9:25 pm

      I remember Trevor Bailey saying that Congdon was vulnerable in his 170s. It always surprises me, after living through that 1973 series, how moderate Congdon’s overall record was


      • oreston Jul 16, 2017 / 11:26 pm

        There are worse career highlights than that series 🙂 I don’t know how many Tests New Zealand were playing in those days, or how much of a regular fixture he was throughout his time, but apparently he only played in 61 games between 1965 and 1978. That’d be about four years’ worth these days. You’re right though – surprisingly unimpressive average over all.


    • oreston Jul 16, 2017 / 11:39 pm

      I’ll settle for someone finding their inner Mike Atherton. Actually, if he can somehow set aside his media duties for the next couple of days, could we sneak him into the batting line-up in a prosthetic Gary Ballance latex mask (Mission Impossible style). And a mission impossible it almost certainly would be…


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