England v South Africa: capitulation by hosts in the first Test leaves us with more questions than answers
Like blaming the pitch. One with pace and bounce, and spin later in the game,
was ordered, but only the latter appeared. The surface was astonishingly dry
given the monsoons that had preceded the match. And England, as they proved
beyond doubt last winter, are poor in such subcontinental conditions.
But, unfathomably, they were even worse than last winter. No player can escape
censure, not even Cook, who made a superb first-day century. Conditions were
at their toughest, but he had the opportunity on day two to play the
Andrew Strauss went to the fourth ball of the game, evoking memories of his
first-ball dismissal the last time these sides met in that Johannesburg
Test. Jonathan Trott played nicely but in his last 24 Test innings he has
made just one century in Galle. He is chipping in, but the full potato is
Kevin Pietersen’s late-on-the-first-day flap at Jacques Kallis was as
irritating as his pre-match attempts at horse-trading with the England
management about his one-day future.
Ian Bell left a ball from Kallis to be bowled. Ravi Bopara handed his critics
rounds of ammunition. Matt Prior had a good match until fatally losing
patience on the final afternoon.
Tim Bresnan is no longer a lucky charm, Broad was down on pace but, then, he
has been for most of the summer, Swann was played with ridiculous ease, and
James Anderson only claimed the wicket of the lbw-candidate Alviro Petersen.
Why, oh why? Cook denies any sense of cockiness: “We don’t ever think we are
the best team in the world,” he says, “ We don’t talk about
Category: Africa News