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Reality Bites

by | 25th, July 2003

‘FOR all the sense of optimism surrounding England’s chances against South Africa in the five-match series, yesterday could not have gone much worse for the home side.

England look stumped

On a good batting track, South Africa managed to make this England attack look pretty ordinary – helped, it must be said, by the bowlers themselves.

Against good opposition and on good batting tracks, Test cricket is often a game of patience.

And, having failed to get an early break-through, England showed a lack both of patience and experience.

That is not to take anything away from the South African batsmen who seem to have discovered their form at the right time.

But the speed at which Graeme Smith and Hershelle Gibbs scored after seeing off the new ball will have worried Nasser Hussain.

Batsmen at this level need to be made to work for their runs and these two were given too many easy runs by some wayward bowling.

It is a good lesson for the likes of James Anderson, whose only experience of Test cricket has been in the two easy victories against Zimbabwe earlier this year.

And it shows that there is a big difference between bowling with a white ball in one-day internationals and bowling with a red ball in Tests.

But international cricket is also about learning quickly and England will have to put the lessons of the first day into practice very quickly today.

The chances are that the weather will save them in this Test match, as long as they do not let South Africa run away with things today.

But conceding 398 runs in a day for only one wicket on the first day of a series is about as harsh a reality check as you get.

And it means that England must show their mettle if the series isn’t to get away from them before it has even really started.



Posted: 25th, July 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink