I’m not sure what to say. That was quite stunning. If someone had told me at 8am this morning that England would win this game by seven wickets sometime after tea I would’ve laughed. Yet that’s exactly what happened. The Cricket Boks were steamrolled and humiliated. Don’t you feel sorry for them? Didn’t think so.
Today was one of those days that happens infrequently in English cricket: we won a series away from home, against an old foe, with style and swagger. Yes the win comes with something of a caveat because South Africa were missing their two opening bowlers, but does anyone really care right now? The bottom line is that England played excellent, entertaining cricket in this series, and we thoroughly deserved to win.
Stuart Broad was absolutely sensational today. It was just one of those memorable occasions when he gets his tail up and runs through a side. We first saw it in the 2009 Ashes at The Oval. We saw it again at Trent Bridge last summer. But in my opinion today’s effort was possibly the best of the lot. The pitch really wasn’t a minefield. It wasn’t the first morning of a test on a green top with overcast skies either. It was just a brilliant spell of bowling. Congratulations, Stuart.
A few days ago I wrote that this could be a seminal test match for England – a true barometer of the team’s development under Bayliss. Would England be up to the task? The answer couldn’t have been more emphatic. Achieving parity in the first innings after being 90-odd for 4 was a great effort. Root and Stokes have confirmed their status as two of world cricket’s brightest and most watchable talents.
This series victory was also hugely satisfying because we did it without leaning heavily on the skipper. England have come to rely so much on Cook over the last year or so. I really thought he’d need to have a big series in order for England to compete. Yet we’ve done it without him. You could say we’ve done it without any openers.
The rest of the side has done a fine job. Nick Compton made runs in the first test. James Taylor pulled off two jaw dropping catches this afternoon. Moeen Ali has chipped in with important wickets at ideal moments. Steve Finn has looked better than he has for a while. It was a real team effort.
Perhaps the only other player who didn’t make much of an impact was James Anderson. Thats’s James Anderson, the leader of the pack, and the bowler we’ve come to depend on so heavily in recent times. Who’d have thought it?
The bottom line is this: England have beaten South Africa in South Africa for only the second time since readmission. And we basically did it without our country’s leading run scorer and wicket taker. It’s unexpected and very, very sweet indeed. It also bodes extremely well for the future. Well done lads. Bloody well done.
The pitch really wasn’t a minefield…
Not to detract from Broad’s remarkable spell, but 18 wickets fell today. The pitch was offering a great deal of help to bowlers – note that only two players scored over 50 in the match.
Personally, I think Root should have shaded man of the match.
And if England ever get a solid opening partnership, they’ll be unbeatable.
Both teams made 300 in the first inns. Then SA fell in a heap. It wasn’t that bad for batting imho. I think the average first inns score at the Wanderers is 280 or something. Agreed re: the openers. Who is the next man up after Hales? Roy? Lees? Carberry?
James Vince looks the part to me. Roy doesn’t have the technique, and Carberry would be a step back.
I haven’t seen Lees bat, but his record looks good – he seemed to be the better Yorkshire option when Lyth was picked last summer.
Hales still has at least one game left to state his case.
I wouldn’t bet against him hitting a ton and prolonging the agony – and it would be a little churlish to wish him to fail.
My own guess is that Bayliss might well wait for someone to make their case in May/June and make the switch for the Pakistan series.
I agree that it’s sadly too late for Carberry, who ought not to have been dropped in the first place. I bet he would have significantly outperformed all of his replacements.
Thankfully petty vindictiveness plays less of a part in selection than it did.
We’re beginning to run out of options with openers. I would tell Hales to forget about Tests and concentrate on his natural role as an ODI and T20 opener – that is supposed to be Strauss’ new strategy, as he’s doing with Morgan and Buttler – and give Lees the next 15 Tests to prove himself. It takes a long time to settle as a Test opener, and none of those who have been tried have been given long enough.
This revisited article on Broad makes interesting reading with the benefit of a little hindsight:
I don’t subscribe the the ‘bowler of great spells’ thing ( if anything, that applies to Anderson). My own view is that he started out a fairly mediocre bowler and has become a great bowler (in some respects a mirror image of, for instance, Botham’s career as a bowler).
If he stays fit, I don’t think there’ll be any debate about that.
They gave Lees 7 difficult tests and Hales 4 difficult tests (we all assume Mo was a one-off)
Would it be fair to give Hales the 3 home tests v Sri Lanka and then pick one of them for the next 12 months, as they’ve both shown something.
Unless there is someone that no-one has considered and can’t be ignored?
Sorry Lyth not Lees !! (So many Yorkshiremen)
Indeed. This one might make the grade in a couple of years’ time, too:
Hi everyone. Apologies about the lack of new articles this week. I’ve got some news about this site and The Full Toss tomorrow. There will be something new to read / discuss tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.