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Anorak | Wagging Tails

Wagging Tails

by | 22nd, August 2003

‘ENGLAND will undoubtedly be the more disappointed side after the first day’s play of the fourth Test, having had South Africa on the rack at 142-7.Once again, their inability to polish off the tail has cost them dear and allowed the visitors to bat their way back into the match.

Resuming this morning on 260-7, South Africa will now have their sights set on a first-inning total well in excess of 300.

On a pitch that offers help to the bowlers, that will be enough to put pressure on England’s top order.

It is hard to know why England so frequently concede so many runs in the latter part of an innings.

At Trent Bridge, for instance, the final five South African wickets notched up considerably more than the first five in both innings – 230 to 132 in the first innings and 81 to 50 in the second.

By contrast, England’s first five wickets contributed 378 of the 563 runs the team scored in the match.

Part of the problem, it seems to me, is that bowlers become impatient when bowling at lower-order batsmen and lose their discipline.

Frequently, they are content to try to get the established batsman off strike so they can have a go at the tailender, but end up overextending themselves and conceding runs.

At times like this, it is crucial that the captain reminds his bowlers of the disciplines that allowed them to take wickets early on.

Even with the old ball, there was plenty of encouragement for the bowlers when they pitched it in the right place.

In the absence of a bowler like Ian Botham, who was brilliant at cleaning up the tail, England need to treat even numbers nine to eleven in the same way as they treat one to three.

Otherwise, we will continue to see excellent positions thrown away like we did yesterday and have so often in the past.’



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