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Anorak | Captain Hook

Captain Hook

by | 1st, August 2003

‘MICHAEL Vaughan’s captaincy could have got off to a worse start, although it’s hard to imagine how as England were played off the park by South Africa yesterday.

You’d never catch an Englishman dancing like that

But this time it was the batting that let England down, as the team was tamely dismissed for 173 on what looks to be a decent batting track.

By the close of play, South Africa were only 22 runs behind with nine wickets in hand.

And to make it worse, the visitors’ captain Graeme Smith is still there on 80 not out, having been dropped by Vaughan’s predecessor Nasser Hussain on eight.

In recent Tests, England’s batting has been pretty solid in their previous 15 Tests, they have failed to pass 300 in at least one innings on only one occasion.

In that time, their average first innings score is actually over 400 which makes yesterday’s performance that much worse.

The Telegraph is quick to blame the batsmen, accusing them of throwing away their wickets ”in a flurry of ill-conceived shots”.

”If the only demon was the occasional two-paced nature of some of the short balls, several of England’s batsmen, Alec Stewart and Andrew Flintoff among them, seemed intent on exorcising them by hook or by hook.”

Chief beneficiary was Makhaya Ntini, who took five wickets on what he described as the best day of his career.

”If my grandfather was alive, he

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