Anorak News | The Whole Hogg

The Whole Hogg

by | 18th, January 2005

‘WITH only a couple of days to recover before the final Test match at Centurion, England will draw enormous heart from their thrilling victory in Johannesburg yesterday.

New patron saint of Yorkshire

Had South Africa held out for a draw as they did in Durban, one wonders how the England bowlers would have managed to raise themselves for one final effort.

As it is, it is South Africa who face that problem after what Neil Manthorp in the Guardian calls “as dispiriting a defeat as South Africa have suffered in the modern era”.

Although Matthew Hoggard and Marcus Trescothick are rightly the heroes of the piece after the former took seven second innings wickets and the latter made a brilliant 180, the hosts’ batting comes in for a lot of criticism.

“The revival bubble,” Manthorp continues, “did not merely burst on the fifth day, it exploded in spectacular fashion.

“The level of disappointment and anger from players and supporters alike was alarming: the self-belief rediscovered at Newlands had been snatched away with the deftness of a pickpocket.”

England captain Michael Vaughan, on the other hand, is in charge of a team which may not be playing at its best but nevertheless believes in its ability to win.

And he rated this as one of the best wins in recent history.

“To bowl out a South African team containing nine batters in two sessions was a truly amazing effort,” he said.

Writing in the Times, Simon Barnes says England were “dreadful” for much of the match – and certainly played worse than South Africa.

They won, however, because they expected to win.

“Winning is no novelty for them and so, when so many were injured, exhausted and ineffective, every one in the side played with the same predatory relish of the possibility of victory.”

Another Englishman who has long displayed such predatory relish is Michael Owen, but it appears the Real Madrid striker is becoming frustrated with his lack of opportunities in Spain.

The former Liverpool player came off the bench to score a seventh goal of the season and retain his record of having the best goals/minutes ratio in La Liga.

But still he is below Raul and Ronaldo in the pecking order – a situation, says the Independent, that he is unlikely to allow to carry on for too much longer.

“I want to be in the starting XI and I’ll never be happy sitting on the bench,” he said – prompting speculation of a move back to England.

Owen has now scored a goal every 110 minutes on the pitch, Ronaldo has a goal every 124 minutes but Raul has been on the pitch for 344.5 minutes for every one of his goals.

Jonathan Woodgate is missing…’

Posted: 18th, January 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink