Friday, August 17, 2012

England lose the impetus

England started in superb fashion yesterday with Finn proving again that he has the potential to be a match winner. His selection ahead of Bresnan was a positive one - no disrespect to the fantastic Yorkshireman - with the requirement of taking 20 wickets paramount.

Unfortunately for England, the early ground made up was lost to a strong South African rearguard action and the possibility of getting SA out for close to 2-250 disappeared quickly in the late afternoon gloom. With a less than settled batting line up, a score of over 300 from the tourists will provide a tough ask to produce a position to win from for England.

Jimmy Anderson was excellent all day and whilst Broad was strangely subdued and low on pace, Finn provided early fireworks before some radar issues in the afternoon. Graeme Swann asked many questions the most pertinent of which was 'Why didn't I play in the last test?'

South Africa as always were gritty with Duminy, de Villiers and Rudolph all absorbing various blows to the body to slowly claw their way back into the test.

The morning session will be key. If England can skittle the remainder cheaply then they have a chance to win the match if Cook and Trott in particular can perform their vigils at the crease. Should South Africa bat all morning and into the afternoon then England could potentially be staring down the barrel again - No Nonsense.