Proteas in England
Proteas target 'knockout' blow
Leeds - South Africa will dethrone England
as the top-ranked Test side if they beat the hosts at Headingley in the
second Test starting on Thursday and the tourists' bowling coach Allan
Donald says his side will try to land a knockout blow.
way we are going to sit back and wait for things to happen," Donald
said. "We know what's coming our way and we know England will throw
everything at us. We take nothing for granted. We've won a Test match
but we haven't won the series."
Donald's determination was echoed by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.
know they are going to come out harder," De Villiers said. "We
sometimes put too much emphasis on it, it's a matter of just going out
and playing the same kind of cricket that we played in the first Test
England spinner Graeme Swann acknowledged his side's poor recent form.
can't deny the fact that since we've been No 1 we've got a dismal
record," he said. "Whether that goes hand in hand with being No. 1 I
don't really know, you need someone more qualified with the workings of
the human mind.
"We're not doing anything differently," Swann
added. "Perhaps that's it, perhaps we're not evolving quickly enough.
Perhaps teams are hunting us down more, seeing us as a real threat now
rather than maybe underestimating us before, I don't know."
Proteas beat England by an innings and 12 runs in the first Test at The
Oval last week to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Given the
epic scale of the tourists' win - South Africa's ascension might look
like a foregone conclusion.
Yet one of the most revealing moments
in the match came when South Africa captain Graeme Smith spoke about his
131 at the end of day three, an innings that lasted 367 balls.
might have looked easy to the casual observer, but Smith looked more
like a man who had just finished an ironman triathlon than a cricketer,
pointing out that Swann had continually spun the ball past his bat.
word "attrition" was repeatedly used and Hashim Amla spoke in similar
terms after his 311 not out on day four, describing his approach as
"scrapping for a run".
South Africa's top order provided some of
the most impressive batting seen in England in years, its quality only
enhanced by the standard of the bowling attack Amla, Smith and Jacques
Kallis - who made 182 not out - had to face.
Donald said it was a
performance "you may never see again" and while it might seem absurd to
say that a team that spent 13 hours in the field and took just two
wickets bowled well, it was the batting that caused England's downfall.
walls at The Oval are plastered with platitudes and above the entrance
to the indoor training facilities is a quote from the Canadian ice
hockey player Wayne Gretzky: "I miss 100 percent of the shots I don't
This is perhaps the worst possible thing to put into the mind of a batsman trying to save a Test match.
with the task of batting four sessions, all but two of England's
batsmen fell attempting shots they should never have risked.
The exceptions were Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott - who made 115 and 71, respectively, in the first innings.
their second trips to the crease both were undone by the excellence of
the bowlers, but the other specialists all contributed to their own
downfall - most glaringly Kevin Pietersen, who came out playing his
"natural game" and was bowled for 16, having already been dropped.
Bopara's place was at risk even before he withdrew from the squad
citing personal reasons, so given the selectors' reluctance to alter the
balance of the side Nottinghamshire's James Taylor is expected to
South Africa's only real concern is the lack of Test practice for some of its batsmen.
be honest I didn't even have my pads on," JP Duminy said of the win at
The Oval. "I didn't even have my whites on. That's the first time for me
that's ever happened."