Monday, 27 January 2020

Three - One to the Engerland

The fourth and final test was competitive for four sessions but then England took over.  Root won the toss and the openers put on 107 before Sibley fell.  At 157/4 the game was in the balance but another century partnership, this time from Root and Pope put England in control.  Back came South Africa, a maiden 5 for from Nortje reduced England to 318/9 but tenth wicket fireworks from Wood and Broad took the game away.  England were all out for 400 with Crawley top scoring with 66, his first half century.

England bowled, South Africa couldn't get the ball away and cracked under pressure and were all out for 183, only De Kock passed 50.  Mark Wood bowled at frightening pace to take 5/46 and England had a massive lead.  Root could have enforced the follow on but this would have given South Africa a sniff, so in went England again and despite a strange stop-start innings the lead piled up.  On the fourth day the Saffers resisted for a bit but Wood terrified them into submission again and England won by 191 runs.

Once again I followed the game via the Talksport commentary and I still haven't warmed to it.  With people like Nicholas and Manthorpe at the microphone it's OK but then you get someone like Gough or Peitersen chipping in and I find myself snapping "Fuck off" at the radio.  Comparing this coverage to TMS is like comparing a pint of 'Ghost Ship' to a glass of home brew.

Going forward England at last seem to have found some top order batsmen.  Things looked worrying when Rory Burns went home injured but Sibley and Crawley have come in and done better than we could have hoped.  We now have three viable options at the top of the order.  Unfortunately Joe Denly, who up until now has been just about doing enough to keep his place, hasn't pushed on and if all players are fit his days are numbered.

Root and Stokes are carved into the line up and another youngster, Ollie Pope has been fantastic at six, he is a star of the future.

I love watching Joss Buttler bat but like Bairstow he has been found wanting at test level.  Ben Foakes is our best keeper and deserves an extended run in the side.

Sam Curran had a reasonable tour, he chips in here and there without making a match winning contribution.  He is young and improving but at the moment I'm still not convinced he should always make the XI but is a good man to have around the squad.

We have a wealth of bowling options, especially in home conditions where Anderson, Broad and Woakes all do particularly well.  In spinning conditions we have relative newcomers Dom Bess and Jack Leach along with the experienced Mo Ali and Adil Rashid.  Matt Parkinson has also toured but hasn't showed us anything yet.

However what excites me most is with the pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood we have bowlers who can help us win test matches in Australia...

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