Anorak News | Bridge Work

Bridge Work

by | 18th, August 2003

‘THE third Test between England and South Africa is likely to be decided today by which teams holds its nerve best in what is sure to be an enthralling couple of hours’ cricket.

Ronaldo beats a cunningly disguised Beckham

England start off as favourites, needing only five more of the visitors’ wickets, while the Proteas needs 138 more runs on a deteriorating pitch.

But the papers are certainly not counting their chickens, with Derek Pringle in the Telegraph suggesting that the pitch is not nearly as bad as batsmen seem to believe it to be.

”Given the Jekyll and Hyde nature of England’s bowling, leaving Trent Bridge victorious cannot be guaranteed,” he says, ”though Michael Vaughan’s team, with bodies refreshed after a night’s sleep, will surely start clear favourites when play gets under way this morning.”

The Guardian praises the England bowlers’ discipline last night in what it calls ”a humdinger of a Test day” – ”a series in the balance, a crazy-paving surface which insisted that something could happen at any moment, and an England side fighting to redeem its reputation before an unashamedly partisan crowd”.

South African all-rounder Shaun Pollock, who took six wickets in England’s second innings, reckons that it could go either way.

”England will not be happy we have two guys at the wicket who scored 90 and 50 in the first innings, so it could be interesting,” he tells the Independent. ”It is all about pressure and who handles it best.”

But James Kirtley believes England are very much in the ascendancy, saying: ”We’ve bowled well out there. If we can create the same mood and the same tempo in the morning there is no reason why we should not finish the job.”

Only time will tell whose optimism is better founded, just as only time will tell whether Chelsea’s band of expensive mercenaries can sustain a challenge for the Premiership title.

Their campaign, however, got off to a perfect start yesterday when they beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield, with one of the imports, Juan Sebastian Veron, getting the first goal.

The Sun watches billionaire owner Roman Abramovich celebrate the immediate return on his £75m investment in new players under the headline, ”Yellski”.

”It was so exciting and an incredible experience,” he tells the paper. ”I’m very pleased with the performance and the result. I felt it with my heart and loved every moment.”

Proving that football and the inevitable hyperbole is very much back, the Sun’s Steven Howard salutes Manchester United’s signing Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player since George Best. All on the basis of 29 minutes as a substitute.

”He has a beguiling and lethal mix of grace, balance, speed and athleticism,” writes Howard. ”At times, he looks as if he is floating on air. A butterfly with a machine-gun.”

Meanwhile, the man he replaced at Old Trafford, David Beckham, was jeered as he was substituted during Real Madrid’s 0-0 draw with Valencia.

”David who?” as they now say in Manchester.’

Posted: 18th, August 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink