Anorak News | A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

by | 29th, July 2003

‘THE first Test petered out into a draw, as it always looked likely to do after Ashley Giles had ensured that England would not have to follow on.

A rare success for James Anderson

But South Africa will definitely go to Lord’s in the more confident frame of mind after dominating the Edgbaston match from the off.

The form of Graeme Smith, in particular, and Herschelle Gibbs suggests that England will have their work cut out if they are to bowl the visitors out twice in the match.

And Sean Pollock once again showed that he is a handful on any pitch, even if he has a tendency at time to bowl quite a defensive line.

England, for their part, will worry that the bowlers failed to carry their form from the one-dayers in the Test series.

In fact, none of the quartet will be happy with the way they bowled on what was, admittedly, a very flat pitch on the first couple of days.

Most worrying was perhaps the bowling of James Anderson, who never managed to find the right line and length for the pitch.

Anderson is England’s premier strike bowler, even with Darren Gough in the side, and he needs to be firing if England are to gain the ascendancy in this series.

In this match, his sole wicket came at the cost of 129 runs in only 26 overs – at a single short of five an over.

The good news, however, is that England’s batting is now a lot sturdier than it has been for some time.

The 408 they scored in the first innings was the 10th time in the past 15 matches (and 23 completed innings) that England have passed 400 in an innings.

In only seven of those 23 innings have they failed to pass 300 – five of which were against Australia last winter.

In that time, they average over 40 a wicket – which is fine batting by any team’s standard – and the house-of-cards collapses seem to be a thing of the past.

So, England have no reason to be down on themselves as they move into the match on Thursday.

In many ways, they can take as many positives out of this match as South Africa because they will surely not bowl as badly as they did on Thursday again.

And the boost of having a new captain could prove the fillip that they need.

Posted: 29th, July 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink