SuperSport Park, Centurion – Sunday, September 27, 2009 (D/N)
The pressure is on for Graeme Smith’s men today in their must win match against England. After their opening day defeat to Sri Lanka this is the perfect opportunity for South Africa to prove to the cricket world that they can handle a pressure situation.
The Africans have Herschelle Gibbs available again after he missed the opening two matches, he should come back as a straight swap for Hashim Amla at the top of the innings. Wayne Parnell has took 8 wickets in the opening games but has gone at well over 7 runs an over in doing so, whether or not the runs are a concern for Smith, or he is just happy with the wickets column remains to be seen – either way it’s something for England to consider.
England have the option of sticking with the same side after a rare victory over Sri Lanka, the pitch at Centurion isn’t as seam friendly as Jo’burg so Andrew Strauss may opt for an extra batsman of maybe a second spinner in Adil Rashid at the expense of a seamer.
Although it was a good win for England over Sri Lanka, there were still areas of concern for Strauss. The bowling – usually the most reliable part of England’s game – at times against Sri Lanka was ridiculous, after such a great start (having them at 17/4) they proceeded to start bowling short stuff going totally against the script that had got them into that position and in doing so nearly chucking away the initative – add to that the 17 wides and there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Quite why and how England can get themselves into a position of having somone at 17/4 and then trying their best to throw the situation away, nobody knows. Andy Flower must be tearing his hair out at times at what he sees.
On the plus side Eoin Morgan batted with plenty of composure and showed the established order how things should be done. Contributions from Shah and Collingwood are welcome after the awful series against Australia, although they both did the usual thing and got a good start before getting themselves out.
South Africa – Graeme Smith (C), Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Mark Boucher (WK), Albie Morkel, Johan Botha, Roelof van der Merwe, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn
England – Andrew Strauss (C), Joe Denly, Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (WK), Luke Wright or Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Graham Onions.