England in SA
SA bowlers lacking fire
Friedel de Wet and Mark Boucher (Gallo Images)
Centurion – South Africa’s fast bowlers will need to improve significantly on the third day of the first cricket Test against England at SuperSport Park on Friday.
If they don’t up their game, the 418 runs that the South African batsmen amassed in their first innings won’t prove decisive.
The tourists finished the day on 88/1, the runs scored in 23 overs at an average of 3.8 per over.
By contrast, the South Africans took 153.2 overs to reach their total and batted at 2.7 runs per over. With a four man bowling attack, the day could get very long if South Africa don’t strike early.
The English batsmen won’t be bothered by the fact that they are trailing by 330 runs because the wicket is still expected to be in good shape and likely to generate enough pace for the stroke players.
England captain Andrew Strauss (44*) and Jonathan Trott (18*) have already shown their intent. After Alistair Cook (15) became Friedel de Wet’s (1/46) first Test victim in the sixth over, Strauss and Trott put up an unbeaten partnership of 63 runs to get the visitors back on track and eating into the Proteas’ lead.
Jacques Kallis (120, 306 minutes, 225 balls, 16x4, 1x6) added only 8 runs to his overnight score before going after a James Anderson away-swinger and was caught by Paul Collingwood.
It was one of Collingwood’s four catches, which equalled the world record. With the ball following him like a magnet, he blew a great opportunity of holding that record on his own, but missed a simple chance off the bat of Paul Harris (38, 120m, 89b, 4x4) when he was on 24.
Harris was involved in a few stubborn partnerships and frustrated the English bowlers. He joined Mark Boucher (49, 157m, 100b, 6x4) and they added 36, before he and De Wet (20, 82m, 67b, 3x4) added another 37 for the ninth wicket.
The two cover drives that De Wet played for his first runs at Test level would have been the envy of more renowned batsmen.
Swann and Graham Onions (3/86) were England’s top wicket-takers, with Onions also doing physical damage. He flattened Morné Morkel (13) with a ball that lifted sharply and struck him on the side of the face. Harris was also struck by a short delivery.
Where survival was the SA batsmen’s chief aim, the English are batting with purpose in an attempt to haul in the Proteas’ total.
That is why the home bowlers will have to do their bit if they want to prevent a scenario where South Africa are battling to save the Test on the last two days.