Posted by: tootingtrumpet | December 21, 2009

South Africa vs England First Test Report Card

Celebrity and part-time cricketer, Kevin Pietersen

Andrew Strauss – Probably should have batted first, but his decision led to the quick dismissal of Smith, so one of his key objectives was delivered. Out to a shooter in the first innings and good new ball bowling in the second. These things happen and he’ll be unconcerned when facing up in Durban.

Alastair Cook – With his temperament, he’ll never be devoid of confidence, but, like his opening partner a couple of years ago, he might benefit from a spell out of the Test team and then a bit of luck on his return. Nobody wants to go back to the manic changes of the 80s and 90s, but Hayden, Langer, Strauss, even Boycott, returned from a break from Test cricket to be better openers.

Jonathan Trott – Has a presence at the crease which bodes well for the future, but was suckered into giving his wicket away in the first innings. He is mature enough to learn from that dismissal, as he showed toughing it out in the second innings. Credit to the selectors who plucked him from county cricket when the media were clamouring for Ramprakash – there’s a chance that England have unearthed another Graham Thorpe.

KP – Will really hate making 40 in the first innings, as he would dearly have loved to cash in on his return to Test cricket. His desire to do so brought about his dismissal, gripping the bat too strongly with his bottom hand. Delivered second time round with an innings of great authority and maturity, until a lack of concentration (possibly understandable given how little first class cricket he has played) saw him off in a crazy run out.

Colly – Never looked in, but never does, so has learned to live with it. Looks more a six than a five, but is in good form just when he needs to be. Gritted it out at the death by watching every ball on to a dead bat, yet again.

Ian Bell – Wracked by doubt and nerves in the first innings, his dismissal was too good to be true for his many detractors – almost satirical in its comic lack of self-belief. The second innings dismissal to a fine delivery was inevitable. Might survive the cut for Durban, but only due to Prior’s poor form.

Matt Prior – Looks like a proper keeper at last, bold enough to stand up to Jimmy in the second innings. With the bat, he needs to kick on and develop Gilchrist’s / Dhoni’s extraordinary knack of making scores when most needed. Got a good one in the second innings, but there’s a lot to do before England will feel that he is an authentic Number Six.

Stuart Broad – Amazingly, still doesn’t know whether he is trying to be McGrath-like in consistency or a late-era Botham=like in mixing up lines and lengths to make things happen. Looked a bit green with the bat against Harris in the second dig.

Graeme Swann – Confidence is never low, but is now so high it’s frothing over the top and spilling down the sides. Bowls with the same relentlessness and heart that his spin rival Monty possesses, but has more craft and personality, making the batsmen do what he wants. His batting against the short ball looks ungainly, but he has found a method that allows him to stay at the crease and wait for fuller balls which he hits as cleanly as anyone in world cricket. Must now avoid the temptation to believe his own publicity, but his years grinding away on the county circuit should ensure that his feet are firmly planted. Couldn’t do much with his second innings nip-backer.

Jimmy Anderson – Showed tremendous application in his stand with Swanny and looks comfortable in his own skin at 27. Bowled well throughout the Test, but still looks a bit one-dimensional when the ball isn’t swinging or is reversing on a slow wicket. Would benefit from developing the kind of leg-cutter that brought Richard Hadlee and Courtney Walsh so many wickets in the second half of their careers.

Graham Onions – Got close to the stumps to bowl wicket-to-wicket at a pace that made his bouncer uncomfortable for batsmen. Has played four of his six Tests against SA or Aus, yet averages under 27 runs per wickets, so has what it takes in the Test arena, as his ice cool batting at the death showed.

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Responses

  1. I guess South Africa – or should it be England – deserve praise for making a seemingly dull draw very exciting in the final session.

    I wouldn’t want to be an opening bat at Durban with Steyn and de Wet charging in with the new ball. I wonder if the SAF selectors will give the debutant another match?

  2. I’ve become reconciled to the fact that I’ll never understand KP. A classic get-off-the-mark single but this time when he was on 81 and batting for the draw. Infuriating but still of far more use than 2 off ten balls.

    Trott seems to have an air of assurance at the wicket most of the time that makes me think he’ll never get out.

    I thought the replay system worked pretty well in the match. I think every wicket should automatically be checked for a no ball though. Not in the fashion of a referral, but just in the background by the third umprire. Now we have a dedicated camera to the crease line is there any reason it should not be checked as a matter of course and a batsman recalled if appropriate?

    • Perhaps Kev should lay off the sugar and caffeine!!

      • Yes!

  3. Percinho – Rough with the smooth with KP I feel.

    Trott’s assurance at the crease is one of the many aspects of his game that reminds me of Thorpe.

    Got to check for no balls every dismissal (except KP’s!).


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