South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

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South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by VTR on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 9:32 am

First topic message reminder :

The pivotal 3rd Test starts in two days time. England are expected to be unchanged. Dale Steyn is out injured for SA and looks doubtful for the rest of the series, though Kyle Abbott is fit and will come into the frame for selection. Another possible change is someone else to open in the place of Van Zyl

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by KP_fan on Sat 16 Jan 2016, 10:42 pm

was busy and didn't follow the game closely.....

Sorry as the state of affairs of SA cricket might be......don't take the credit away from Eng...
They have made correct selections.....Compton, Taylor and Finn
and have some of the best bowling all rounders in the world.

SA drop to No.2 in test ranking (and India rises to the top)....and are in free-fall.....a 3-0 scoreline is impending in this series
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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Sat 16 Jan 2016, 11:28 pm

Hi Raf, just getting back to some of the posts now as, like guildford, I was also out. Although I'm a bit more classy and went to the opera rather than the rather common theatre Very Happy (just kidding, actually a friend was singing in Cosi Fan Tutte at the Conservatoire, so I went along - what a wonderful opera it is).

Anyway, first up Viljoen. As you say, you watch more cricket than me. However, I did quantify my post by saying "if that is his level", which it may not be. IF it is, I stand by my point. He bowled some good balls, particularly in his first spell, but for me bowls just too many bad balls. At this level, bad balls go for four or six, and good balls don't always get wickets. One of the SA commentators (may have been Pollock) said that at first class level he almost bullies batsmen. I'm not sure he's quite quick enough to do that at Test level. Also of concern would be his fitness: every time he came back for a new spell he looked less effective, culminating in him being unceremoniously pulled out of the attack after two overs with a new-ish ball.

As I said, I may be being too harsh based on one innings, and there will have been a lot of nerves (and nervous energy resulting possibly in the fitness issues), but I'm going on what I've seen. Still, as Raf says the issues aren't so much with the bowling: they're missing some big guns but still have taken wickets at a good rate throughout the series. Yes there's been sessions where they've gone around the park a bit, but overall the bowlers have done pretty well - not great, but pretty well.

The biggest problems of course are with the batting. Elgar I think will be a good Test opener, but not a great one. That's fine if he had Smith at the other end, but Van Zyl doesn't cut it. As Raf says it's hard to know what Van Zyl needs to work on given the variety of ways he's got out.

Amla I wouldn't be too worried about. Went through a bad patch, but scored 200 in the previous game albeit on a flat deck, and had looked solid for his 40 in the first innings before getting a fine ball. Those are good enough to get the best batsmen out, so I'm not sure he should overly worry about it. Second innings was just one of those things, hits a pretty good clip off his legs which would have brought him runs most days but brilliant catch. So not too many concerns there for me.

Biggest concern is Faf. Raf reckons he's shot and he may be right. I see a good player still, whose thought processes have gotten completely muddled, and he seems to think the only way out of it is to block his way into form, which won't work. Maybe playing a couple of ODIs where he has to play more fluently will help. Is he in the squad?

Still, take nothing away from England, and Broad in particular. One thing about Broad is that his wicket hauls are usually all big wickets: today he dismissed the SA top 6 batsmen, and I read a piece on cricinfo that said Broad dismisses the innings top scorer more than any other bowler. People have said Broad relishes a challenge and the chance to seize the moment, and this reflects this tendency.

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by kingraf on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 8:11 am

Fair enough. I do stand by the fact that in the modern game a guy like Hardus will always run the risk of going for tap but in a more balanced team it's a risk worth taking. AB certainly seems to think so and the truth is he did skip a bit of a waiting list to get to the team, so maybe he wasn't quite ready. At the start of the summer you'd have thought Morkel Philander Steyn were obviously ahead of him. Then Rabada and Abbott were next in line. Then guys like Morris and Patterson and probably Marchant de Lange because he was in the Test squad for India. He's impressed the whole team to jump that queue. Think the test would have done him a lot of good. He'll go back to the Lions knowing what needs to be changed and in Geoffrey Toyana he has a coach with a proven track record in helping players make adjustments. Quinton de Kock now has four ODi tons in the sub continent now but he was really hopeless there initially, while Rabada has gone from a guy who went at 10 an over in T20s and a wotk in progress to out ODI death bowler and heir apparent to Dale Steyn in a year, so I back him to do a job with Hardus post season.

As for Faf, he should be in the squad for the ODI but I don't think it will help his Test game much. He racked up the highest SA score ever in T20 last year and is in very rich form in ODI for the last 18 months. He just can't seem to get anything going in Tests
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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by VTR on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 11:14 am

Have to add commiserations to raf for paying good money to witness such a poor capitulation. Nothing worse than feeling the team has let you down, have been there many times myself across several sports!

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by SimonofSurrey on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 11:46 am

In this day and age of predominantly one day cricket, observers are perhaps too quick to judge a game in terms of how effective (or not) batsmen were. This felt to me more like an old fashioned Test where, on a sporting wicket for bat and ball, a couple of high quality innings in testing (no pun intended) conditions - Root, with Stokes and Bairstow - effected an England recovery followed up by a match winning burst of bowling from Broad. Not many of the S Africa batsmen did anything outrageously wrong, they were just undone by a brilliant spell of bowling backed up by some outstanding catching.

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by alfie on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 12:57 pm

As far as this match goes I would tend to agree with Simon.  Both Amla and Vilas really had no right to be caught by Taylor like that... and AB got a seriously good ball.  If it were this innings only one might dismiss it as a single bad day at the office.

Trouble is I reckon they also underachieved in the first innings after a good start , as they did in Durban. Only on the very flat Newlands wicket did the SA batsmen really look fit for purpose. Amla , a fine player perhaps not having a good run , AB is feeling the pressure but he is the other wicket England prize - the rest are a bit ordinary at present.
Elgar is honest and handy ; but Faf looks shot , Bavuma very new , van Zyl not up to it (at least as opener) ...and the tail has not been able to make up for them. Really do need changes.

Bowling is OK ; though they need the spinner for variety...and Piedt has actually looked OK. Rabada was very good here though he can't yet carry an attack.

I know raf is keen on Viljoen but I cant see it myself. Looked a bit short of Test class to me - first game , yes...but although he is strong he isn't quick enough to blast good batsman out and he didn't appear to have much else going for him. Also question , with his action , whether he will be able to perform throughout Test Match innings as they extend past a day. Might be a handy shock weapon - but you'd have to have a pretty good group around him : and then , would you need him ?
If I'm wrong and he turns out to be a two hundred wicket man I'll happily apologise...

SA will get Steyn and Philander back eventually ; though I'm not sure for how long in the case of the former. With Rabada as well , and the likes of Morris and Abbott around they will be OK I think - but they have to do something about that batting.

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by guildfordbat on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 2:34 pm

Mad for Chelsea wrote:Hi Raf, just getting back to some of the posts now as, like guildford, I was also out. Although I'm a bit more classy and went to the opera rather than the rather common theatre Very Happy (just kidding, actually a friend was singing in Cosi Fan Tutte at the Conservatoire, so I went along - what a wonderful opera it is).
...

I'm one of the few here who goes to the theatre on a Saturday night rather than a cinema showing of X Men versus Killer Zombies in Outer Space or something similar and end up getting told I'm common and not classy! Wink Very Happy

Anyway, back to MfC's original post with his excellent assessment of the individual players and two teams as a whole. No disagreements there with what I know of England's players and have seen of South Africa's. I need to emphasise that I have no particular knowledge of current first class cricket in South Africa so can only give thoughts and observations there rather than ready made solutions.

It seems Finn is going to be struggling to be fit for the last Test. This could well explain why Cook appeared reluctant to use Finn as much as many wanted on days two and three after he had bowled so well on day one. Whilst other England players have understandably attracted the headlines, I think Cook deserves credit for captaining well in his understated fashion.

With the series won, it seems sensible for Finn to be rested at Centurion. Like MfC, I've noted that there have been calls for Footitt to be given a debut but I too would go back to Woakes. Thought he did ok in the first Test and provided useful support in generally keeping it tight. Woakes also brings more balance to the side. As I've posted several times, I don't believe the balance of the England team is quite right. However, that doesn't mean we should have picked a different eleven for the last two Tests. You often can't get the perfect balance and that just has to be accepted. Furthermore, it's rarely an issue at all if several players are really firing and the team is winning. I'll comment further below about where I do believe balance is an issue for South Africa.

As for Footitt and also Jordan, I hope they have benefitted from being around the Test team and with what training may have gone on behind the scenes. Like with Cook and Finn's injury, we're (rightly) not party to all the information and goings on and so we shouldn't jump to conclusions; however, I can't but help still feel that having three reserve seamers on this tour was one too many. My inclination would have been for Footitt or Jordan to undertake winter training with his county side and then hopefully start the coming season with a bang.

Turning to South Africa, I'm not as worried as some about their batting although part of that may be down to my wishful ignorance. Clearly low in form and confidence at the moment but that will turn round if the ability is there. I think it pretty much is although don't know how much longer it's planning to stay around. The two class acts are clearly Amla and de Villiers. I don't believe the captaincy ever rested easily with Amla (as per Surrey conversations) and that giving it up will enable him to once more fully concentrate on his own game for some time yet. The concern is de Villiers and how much longer he will want to carry on - I don't know the answer to that. If he does stick around, there should already be some useful support.

Without looking like a future great, Elgar seems solid and dependable whilst Bavuma certainly has potential and merits a run. Van Zyl appears unfit for purpose but from reports and a glance at his recent scores (two centuries and two fifties in his last four first class matches), Stephen Cook could come in to open. Add to that a wicket keeper batsman like de Kock (although I believe Vilas has been scoring heavily recently and he impressed me with the gloves) and South Africa (still) have some of the players to go some way to getting a decent score on the board.

The batsman so out of sorts - at least at Test level - is du Plessis. For me, he has to make way. Raf - do yo have anyone (other than Duminy who has flattered to deceive too often) who could bat at 6 or 7 and bowl around a dozen overs in the day? I do feel the player coming in here needs to be able to bowl as flagged below.

Of the bowlers, I note Raf's support and encouragement for Viljoen but believe he's some way off being ready. As I posted during this Test, the combined inexperience of him and Rabada (even though Rabada impressed me) together would be too much of a risk for me. Also, Mike Holding (I know many here don't like him but I consider him worth listening to) warned of the dangers of overbowling Rabada and suggested he be limited to three spells of 5 overs each Test day. I think he could do more than that but understood the point being made.

The one bowler who just doesn't cut it for me is Morris. I'm actually sorry to say that as he's got so many good qualities - enthusiastic in the field, can catch, values his wicket and gives his all with the ball. However, he doesn't seem threatening enough when doing his day job, ie bowling. One wicket in each of the four innings he's bowled in Test cricket but never more than one - rather sums it up. Whilst as usual playing it up for the Sky cameras and viewing figures, Bob Willis was of a similar but more blunt view last night when he said of Morris, ''No good''.

With Steyn and Philander back, the attack will obviously be much stronger but I would query whether their fitness will allow them - particularly if Rabada is not to be overbowled in line with Holding's comments - to be part of a 4 man attack. I reckon a fifth bowler is needed and ideally for balance one who can bat at 7.

So for me:
Elgar, Cook, Amla, de Villiers, Bavuma, de Kock, [someone hopefully better than] Duminy, Philander, Steyn, Rabada and depending on the wicket de Piedt or Morkel (with Abbot in reserve).

I'll leave it there. Apologies for this commoner going on so much.  Very Happy


Last edited by guildfordbat on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 5:44 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 2:46 pm

So after all these years of debating who is better between Anderson/Steyn it turns out Broad was better than them both all along
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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by kingraf on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 3:00 pm

Yep he's average of 24 over the last five years certainly suggests he's better than them both, what with Steyn averaging 19
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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 11:32 pm

Sorry guildford, just thought it was a neat coincidence that we were both headed out to what might be considered posh activities Wink Very Happy Hope the theatre was good anyway, and that you and Mrs Bat had a good time.

Anyway, as ever a very considered post from yourself, and not much I disagree with, but shall address the odd point.

England's balance. I think England have a pretty good balance TBH. Is it perfect? No, in a perfect world they'd have a spinner who can contain as well as take wickets I think, but Swanns don't grow on trees, even if Roots grow under them Very Happy. I think you've mentioned in the past that England had three bowlers in their attack who could leak runs, which could result in Anderson being overbowled. Certainly we've seen with SA a similar problem at times in the series, with Steyn arguably being over-bowled in the first Test, and Rabada in this one*. Still, Finn I think will improve his control (it's already better than in previous stints IMO), as should Moeen.

* I'm not a fan of Holding the commentator, but I think as an analyst of fast bowling and bowlers he does a very good job, that's where his expertise really shines through, and on Rabada I think he's right. Young bowlers need to be taken care of, particularly one as pomising as him.

Stokes I think is capable of playing a holding role, he did it very effectively at Cardiff against Australia (end of day 2, where England really squeezed Australia drawing a rash shot from Voges right at the end of the day). However, it's not something that's natural for him, and IMO not where he's most effective. For me he's a bowler who'll try different things and try to buy a wicket at times. Overall though, I'm pretty pleased with the balance of England's side: batting-wise you have a solid-ish top 3 (second opener a worry, obviously), some genuine class at 4, then attacking players in the lower middle-order, which can be so effective.

Bowling-wise, the seam attack I think has a good blend of styles. Of course, it helps that enough of England's players are in good/very good form, obviously.

On seam-bowling reserves. Unless I'm much mistaken, Finn was a late addition to the squad? I thought originally they had five seamers, then added Finn when he returned to fitness unexpectedly early. If that is the case, then it's understandable. Telling a player who's originally been picked that actually they're being left out would surely be very difficult. Footitt I think is someone the coaches wanted a better look at, and a chance to work with closely for a bit. He offers that left-arm option which could be very useful. Hopefully the tour will have been beneficial. Test cricket, even dead rubbers, is not really the place for experimentation - although obviously in a dead rubber there's no point in risking aggravating an injury, so for me Woakes should play the last Test. Anyway, we shall see.

On SA's batting problems, it's true that on paper SA only really need to find two batsmen: a new opener, and someone to replace Du Plessis. Having re-thought it, I think Du Plessis needs time away from the Test side. But SA's problem has also been Amla and De Villiers (Amla's fine knock in Test 2 aside) not really firing. De Villiers has got starts and got out, not making the telling contribution. With an opener who can't buy a run, an inexperience n°6, and a n°5 who's got completely stuck, for SA to produce they needed more from those two.

On SA's bowling I completely agree re Morris. There's a lot to like about him as a cricketer, but just not enough of a threat with the ball, which is his main job. If he could bat 6 or 7 he'd be a decent option as a fourth seamer or fifth bowler, but I'm not sure he's quite good enough for that. I do think SA need to really invest in Piedt now too.

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by ChequeredJersey on Mon 18 Jan 2016, 1:07 am

kingraf wrote:Yep he's average of 24 over the last five years certainly suggests he's better than them both, what with Steyn averaging 19

Let's be honest Steyn and Broad would both make a world best XI, in slightly different roles
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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by LondonTiger on Mon 18 Jan 2016, 8:35 am

kingraf wrote:Yep he's average of 24 over the last five years certainly suggests he's better than them both, what with Steyn averaging 19

While Steyn has a better average than Broad, it is quite a bit higher than you are claiming there over the last 5 years. (Ps I agree that Steyn is the "better" bowler - does not mean that Broad is a pie chucker though).


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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by guildfordbat on Mon 18 Jan 2016, 5:33 pm

Mad for Chelsea wrote:Sorry guildford, just thought it was a neat coincidence that we were both headed out to what might be considered posh activities Wink Very Happy Hope the theatre was good anyway, and that you and Mrs Bat had a good time.

...

No problem, MfC. We were slumming it at Woking Theatre for the Coward play Private Lives which is about to go on a nationwide tour before a possible West End run. Wink Written and set in the 1930s so inevitably very different to most of today's offerings but still retaining its essential humour. A good night out and a few brownie points chalked up as it was a Christmas present for Mrs Bat. Very Happy

We're pretty much as one, I think. Any concern with Finn, Stokes and Moeen is that they're all primarily attacking bowlers and therefore run the risk of going for a few. That in turn could mean Anderson and Broad having to fill in more so as to keep it tight and lessening their effectiveness. However, that's all on paper and I readily accept it hasn't worked out like that so far! In any case, having bowlers on fire is probably the best balance any attack could have. I just think we shouldn't permanently close the door on thoughts of a more defensive bowler.

You're right about Finn being a late addition to the squad. Don't know enough about timings and what went on behind the scenes there but certainly unfortunate on the face of it that both Footitt and Jordan have been left kicking their heels for the series with little chance of a game.

With regard to South Africa's batting, the obituaries are being written too early for me although a lot resting on de Villiers' form and future plans.

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by msp83 on Mon 18 Jan 2016, 5:51 pm

Think the only way for South Africa out of this mess is to make Styan van Zyl the captain! He seems the most secure player in that lineup, blissfully not worrying about his performances as he has a guaranteed place! The South African selectors obviously consider him the perfect mix of Gary Kirsten and Graeme Smith!

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by msp83 on Mon 18 Jan 2016, 6:01 pm

On a more serious note, would agree with Guildford's case for a player who can contribute with the ball being part of that top 7. And that certainly is not the military medium pie chucker who can't buy a run! But The next JHK is not coming through in the near future for South Africa, so I think they should in for Chris Morris at 7. He's more of a number 8 with the bat and not quite a top 4 with the ball, but he's the best option they've got. JP Duminy is far too inconsistent with the bat, and his bowling is strictly parttime, and he seems to have added fitness concerns to his list of issues. They've to find a semi decent opener to partner dean Elgar. Perhas Stephen Cook who has been scoring big at domestic level could be given a go. Quinton de Kock in at 6 and taking the gloves.
Elgar
Cook
Amla
AB
Bavuma
QDK
Morris
Steyn
Rabada
Piedt
Morkel.

As for Philander, he has to come in when they play in real seaming conditions, perhaps for Piedt. I know Morkel hasn't been at his best in this series, but he was brilliant in India and had his moements in this series, and after himself returning from some fitness issues, has been leading a very inexperienced attack with both Steyn and Philander missing a lot of cricket in between.
Raf, between Philander and Morris, who would you rate as the better bat?

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by kingraf on Mon 18 Jan 2016, 8:26 pm

Difficult. Morris is pretty gritty and can hang tough and put away the bad balls. Vern though has looked at times a very good batsman. Good enough to bat top six if he really really tried. For all that though Morris has consistently proven a better bat in domestic cricket, and he now has a test fifty as well as a decent knock in the first inning.
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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by msp83 on Tue 19 Jan 2016, 7:01 am

So if it comes to it, to bat 7, who would you pick between the 2?
Philander clearly a better bowler, Morris a slightly better bat and an infinitely better fielder?
Think the batting is going to be a problem for South Africa for some time. So they have to give their bowling unit to take the extra responsibility and that means 5 bowlers. They really have to play 5 bowlers, Steyn, Rabada, Morkel, and 2 among Philander, Piedt and Morris to get back into the fold.

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by kingraf on Tue 19 Jan 2016, 11:33 am

If I had to pick one I'd still go with Vern, but he's on the wrong side of 30, injury prone and as you said Morris adds a bit extra with the ball. I don't know if the batting will be a problem for some time, I think if AB and Amla can run into some form it gets easier. I suspect that for the final test Faf will get the chop as shall Stiaan, and Captain Cook will come in to open while Rilee gets a test cap.

If that happens though that makes them the fourth and fifth players to get their first caps this summer, with Piedt and Bavuma having had theirs last. So likely

Cook
Elgar
Amla
ABDV
Rilee
Bavuma
QdK
Morris
Rabada
Piedt
Morkel

By my count that's seven players with less than ten caps. At least we're not in transition apparently
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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by alfie on Tue 19 Jan 2016, 12:07 pm

Reasonable balance there , raf

But as you say , very inexperienced. Any chance they might prefer Duminy at 5/6 to provide another spinner ? Suppose he isn't really likely if Piedt is there - not going to be a spinner's track , is it ? An alternative would be Abbott instead of Piedt , perhaps...

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by kingraf on Tue 19 Jan 2016, 12:19 pm

alfie wrote:Reasonable balance there , raf

But as you say , very inexperienced.  Any chance they might prefer Duminy at 5/6 to provide another spinner ?  Suppose he isn't really likely if Piedt is there - not going to be a spinner's track , is it ?  An alternative would be Abbott instead of Piedt , perhaps...

Yeah we might go four seamers again. I thought the idea of four seamers worked well enough and in the absence of a genuinely threatening spinner it might be the way we go forward in SA, at the Highveld at least. As for JPD, I don't know hey, Elgar took two wickets in the final innings against England and he bowled well enough in India so I think he's eclipsed Duminy as the part timer. Sad state of affairs really. I think its a long way back into the side for him.
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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by sirfredperry on Tue 19 Jan 2016, 2:08 pm

Reckon there's a link to be drawn between England playing five bowlers and Broad's (and to an extent Anderson's) excellent recent form.
The four-bowlers-only format was OK when Swann was around but it did mean Anderson and Broad were having to bowl 20+ overs a day.
To me, that's too many for a strike bowler, especially if he has to do it for two days running. Having Stokes/Finn/one other/even Root for a short bowl, keeps the two main guys fresher.

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by VTR on Tue 19 Jan 2016, 2:58 pm

Agree sfp - thinking of the best recent England sides:

2004/5 - 5 bowlers allowing batsmen to constantly be tested by Harmison/Flintoff/Jones whilst Hoggard mainly bowled with the new ball and could be almost hidden from the attack when it wasn't swinging

2010/11 - 4 bowlers but included the freakishly good Swann who was simultaneously able to hold an end and attack

Current team - 5 bowlers that all test the batsman in different ways and can be rotated to allow Finn and Stokes to keep their pace up

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Re: South Africa vs England 3rd Test 14-18th Jan

Post by msp83 on Tue 19 Jan 2016, 5:29 pm

The 5 bowler theory is something that Indian test skipper Virat Kohli has been going on about since he took over. And it worked like a charm for them when they had Jade in at 7. Wriddhiman Saha's lesser abilities with the bat is a problem they've to look at, but with de Kock, think South Africa are safe enough there. Any chance of them going in with Morris at 7 and then 4 bowlers including Piedt? South Africa are unlikely to go that way as it might be far too radical for them....... But with the rather poor standard of the extra bat options, think this would be the better option for South Africa.
As Steyn's ruled out, for me it would be Morris, Rabada, Abbot, Piedt and Morkel. I would like to see more of Viljoen and I was excited to see him play the first test, but after following him in action in his debut test, he did seem not quite ready, not at this point, when there is no experience to work around him other than Morne. Abbot is a pretty decent back-up and I don't think he has become any better than that over the last 2 tests, but he might just be able to provide better control that Viljoen failed to provide.

msp83

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