Anorak News | Overstepping The Mark

Overstepping The Mark

by | 22nd, August 2003

‘ENGLAND are probably just in the ascendancy after the first day of the fourth Test against South Africa, but the papers know the position should be a lot better.

A Pat on the head

The Mail makes no bones about it, accusing the team of frittering away a dream start which saw South Africa slump to 21-4 at one stage.

South African skipper Graeme Smith was out in the very first over of the day after electing to bat on the notoriously unpredictable Headingley pitch and fellow opener Herschelle Gibbs was out in the second.

But an unbeaten century from Gary Kirsten and an unbeaten 50 on debut from Monde Zondenki dragged the visitors from 142-7 to 260-7 at the close of play.

The Mail says James Anderson, amazingly the most experienced of the four specialist seamers at this level, was the weakest link in attack.

“Fears about his present energy levels, both mental and physical, may have contributed to the decision to go in with five pacemen,” it says.

But it adds that by the end of the day an old adage had come into play – “namely that if four seamers cannot do the job five will not make any difference”.

The Express says England were left ruing a dropped chance and the no-ball from Andrew Flintoff off which Kirsten was caught before lunch.

Over to football, and the Mirror relays a simple message from the FA to Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira: “Shut Up, Vieira.”

It says the FA have told the Frenchman he is talking nonsense after he claimed that the north London club were being victimised following Sol Campbell’s citation for violent conduct.

More worrying for the FA and, in particular, England coach Sven Goran Eriksson is a piece in the Express which shows just how much the international side rely on two men.

Almost half the 58 goals scored by England under the Swede have come from Michael Owen (15) and David Beckham (11). The next highest scorers are Darius Vassell, Robbie Fowler and Emile Heskey, all of whom have found the net four times in the past two and a half years.

It is now 23 matches since Paul Scholes scored for his country, while Eriksson has also complained about the dearth of strikers in the country.

With a wobbly defence and dodgy goalkeeper, that means that just about every area of the pitch is officially a worry. Roll on Turkey!’

Posted: 22nd, August 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink