In Second Test Its All On The Line for High Flying England
England, currently the top cricketing test side in the World, were put to the sword by a rampant South African side in the first test. England lost by an innings and twelve runs. The result was declared an embarrassment by captain Andrew Strauss. Bowler Graeme Swann has likewise declared the first test a humiliation for the so-called best side in the World.
So there are some wounds to heal in the second test for this bruised England side. It is the second of three tests. England need to at least draw the series to ensure they retain their number one test status.
England managed to take only two wickets from South Africa in the first test and allowed a monster innings of 637 runs. Hashim Amla posted the first ever South African test triple century. It was not the finest moment for England’s bowling attack. South Africa scored at will and batted on and on and on against an ineffective attack that could only count the runs.
South Africa have not won back to back tests in two years. So England can cling on to that small crumb of comfort. But a vast improvement is necessary from England’s attack if there is any hope of stopping South Africa from supplanting England as the preeminent force in World test cricket. They need just one victory at Headingly to do so.
England’s preparation going into the second test has hardly been ideal. Graeme Swann is in a slump of form just when his particular skills will be required against the visitors. And Ravi Bopara has pulled out just days before the second test for personal reasons.
He will be replaced by James Taylor. What this does to Bopara’s international career remains to be seen. But it’s hardly positive. He has the talent, but has yet to truly produce for England. This latest set back may put him on the outs for good.
England’s year at the top could be over as soon as next week. It is up to Andrew Strauss and his England side to bounce back from disaster. And in the the words of that well worn sporting cliche; snatch at least a draw from the jaws of defeat.
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