Anorak News | The Greatest Test

The Greatest Test

by | 18th, August 2003

‘NO-ONE could ever accuse the third Test between England and South Africa at Trent Bridge of lacking excitement.

And not a football in sight

For all the complaints about the pitch, it has so far been as good an example as you could wish for of why the five-day game remains the ultimate form of the game.

And as it enters its final day today, both sides have a fighting chance of victory.

England must start as slight favourites, given the way they bowled last night.

Neil Mackenzie and Mark Boucher can thank a fair amount of luck and a couple of favourable umpiring decisions for the fact that they are still there this morning.

Had one or both of them been out, the match would surely have been all but over.

As it is, England (with only three fit seamers, a ball that is getting softer by the over and on a pitch that is capricious in the extreme) need to take five wickets to square the series and set us up for a thrilling couple of matches at Headingley and the Oval.

South Africa, on the other hand, can take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series if their last five wickets can knock off the 139 runs they need.

So much will depend upon the first hour of play this morning. If England take a couple of wickets, I expect them to wrap up a comfortable win.

If South Africa survive, their confidence will grow and they will regain the upper hand.

However, after a couple of days in which the initiative has swung back and forward between the two teams, the final day is unlikely to be without drama of its own.

Neutrals should hope for an England win because it sets up the rest of the series.

But whoever does triumph, this has been a fantastic advertisement for Test cricket at a time when so much of the world are being seduced by the immediate pleasures of the one-day game.

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