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Who's Gonna Win?

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Post by Stella Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:21 am

The hors d'oeuvres have been eaten, now for the main course, that is after the fish course that is the ODI's.

South Africa are coming and bringing along a few tasty players with them. Steyn and Kallis are real 'great's' and in AB, Amla and Smith they have three other world class batsmen. Add Philander and the unpredictable Morkel then you have a potentially great side.

BUT we do have some excellent players ourselves and will be at home.

So, can our openers survive long enough to give a solid platform? Cook and Strauss really need to get their partnership back on if we are going to score heavily enough. If not then Steyn and co have the fire power to have us 4 down very quickly and with Bops or Johnny in at six, an old fashioned England collapse could be on.

Fear not, we do have Anderson, Broad and Bresnan plus a world class spinner to help us out.

Really hard to call this series. On paper we look to be weaker but we are at home and of course Cricket is played on grass.

I'm hoping for a win and think we may sneak it but it's gonna be tough.
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Post by Fists of Fury Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:30 am

I'd perhaps disagree that we look to be weaker on paper, maybe very very slightly, but nothing too alarming.

Cook and Strauss are a more reliable opening partnership than Smith and Petersen (I'm looking firmly at Petersen here), though admittedly of late one of them has always seemed to go early. We can't afford that against South Africa, though there is a high chance of it, of course, given the immense strength of their new ball attack. Strauss has some issues against Morne Morkel that he needs to put right, too.

I have faith in Pietersen and Bell. They both seem to enjoy playing against South Africa, and are both as good as what South Africa have to offer, so it is a case of hoping they're in form come the start of the series. Number six is a big problem for us (though Rudolph for them isn't great, either), but the safe bet is probably Ravi given his experience, so expect him to be lining up at The Oval for the first Test.

How we bowl (and field) is of great importance, too. We simply cannot drop chances against those batsmen you mentioned, they rarely offer them and they'll make you pay if you give them a lifeline. Smith is an important early wicket - he often sets the tone. Amla, Kallis and AB are all terrific players and it goes without saying that we need to keep at least 3 of those 4 I mentioned quiet in order to win a Test.

It is going to be a mammoth task, but it won't be easy for them, either. 1-1 is my prediction, though a 2-0 win either way really would not surprise me. Gun to head, and made to get off the fence, I'd lean ever so slightly toward South Africa, who I feel have a tad more consistency in their batting.

One thing I would note, though, is that they seem to be getting hyped up a little too much as some sort of invincible force. Let us remember that they drew with Australia at home recently, who are no great shakes, and weren't too impressive against Sri Lanka, either.

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Post by Stella Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:01 am

I would say that their top six is better but we do have a better keeper/bat and a very nice tail, if they play Bresnan.

Of course the batsmen score runs and the bowlers take wickets but this series may be so tight that an extra 50 or so runs from our lower order could be vital.
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Post by gboycottnut Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:50 am

SA will likely win, as our batsmen always struggle against leg spinners throughout the history of the game.

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Post by Fists of Fury Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:28 pm

Shane Warne cannot be counted amongst that, everyone who ever picked up a bat that played against him struggled. Perhaps BC Lara aside!

We will be ok against Tahir, though he is a good bowler.

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Post by alfie Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:41 pm

You didn't mention Trott , Fists

He had a rough time last series (in South Africa) , but I think he's a better player now.

He'll need to be. A very key role at three. Reckon if he does his job , and makes sure KP and Bell aren't in too early too often , England will make enough runs to give the bowlers something to work with.

Series is looking too close to call so I'll just sit comfortably on this nice fence thanks...

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Post by Stella Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:44 pm

alfie wrote:You didn't mention Trott , Fists

He had a rough time last series (in South Africa) , but I think he's a better player now.

He'll need to be. A very key role at three. Reckon if he does his job , and makes sure KP and Bell aren't in too early too often , England will make enough runs to give the bowlers something to work with.

Series is looking too close to call so I'll just sit comfortably on this nice fence thanks...

Yes, Trott will be another key player. Hope I'm wrong but his form has been patchy and I can see a poor series for him.
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Post by Fists of Fury Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:49 pm

Trott is key, yes. We don't want KP and Bell facing the new ball at all if we can help it. That's no slight on their ability, they're both well capable, but early on against fresh and fired up seamers (that happen to be world class and possessing a new cherry) it will be far from ideal.

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Post by JDizzle Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:09 pm

Philander Vs Strauss/Cook

I have not gone for the man who is pretty unanimously considered the best bowler in the world at this time, and someone who will inevitably go on to become a great of game in Dale Steyn. I think Vernon Philander will cause Strauss and Cook the most problems. Let's look back to when Pakistan toured England and the now disgraced Mohammed Asif gave our opening pair, especially Cook, a torrid time with quick, but not rapid, bowling which pitch on off stump and he got nibbling either way and quality which Philander possesses. Alastair Cook has gone on to great heights since that series, but their still remains the nagging doubt that if you can be patient around off stump with some movement for long enough he will nick off and Andrew Strauss has only recently come back into form after scoring two fine hundreds against the West Indies, but we shouldn't forget he has struggled for 18 months previous to that. It is a chance for all three parties to show their worth, as Philander has had an amazing start to Test cricket but he needs to do against the World No.1's in their own backyard now, whilst Cook needs to show that his immense powers of concentrations can be effective against the cream of the world's bowling and finally Andrew Strauss has the opportunity to dispel all rumours of him being on the wane and stop England slowly looking for a new skipper.


KP/Bell Vs Steyn/Morkel

This battle is dependent on how much damage Philander, and Steyn, can inflict on the top order of England with the new ball. If Cook and Strauss can set the platform for Bell and KP, they can take attacks apart each in their own unique way. Bell with exquisite timing and textbook driving and Pietersen with brutal power whilst exuding the trademark arrogance, but if the English suffer early wickets and KP and Bell are facing the new ball then it becomes a different prospect entirely. Steyn is the best quick bowler with the old ball in the world, still getting movement at 90mph and causing middle orders all sorts of panic and Morne Morkel with his steepling bounce and seemingly new found consistency will cause a unique set of problems to anyone else in the South African attack. The interesting comparison is KP, with his remarkable introduction into ODI cricket against the Saffers with those hundreds, and Ian Bell, who remembers that glorious 199, have very good records against the whilst Steyn has a poor, by his standards, record against the English. Steyn is too good a bowler to keep that record as high as it is, but England certainly have the firepower in this middle order to quench him somewhat so whoever takes charge of the middle overs of the England innings will have a big say on the outcome of this series.


Bresnan/Swann vs Kallis/AB

Jacques Kallis is quite simply one of the best all rounder ever to play the game of cricket (2nd in our eyes, according to the Honour's Board), and AB de Villiers is the one of the most naturally talented batsmen to play Test cricket today, as well as being a phenomenal fielder to boot. Kallis will grind you down from one end, with his concentration being almost Cook-esque, and play the big, long innings which saps teams confidence and belief whilst AB will from the other end play all the shots in the book, and some that aren't, and break you down that way. It's crucial how England bowl to these two. If they are allowed to set and bat long they will take the game away from you, end of. It is fact that Anderson and Broad have had the best years of their careers leading up to this match, but they can't bowl all the time. Whilst their performances will be crucial, Bresnan and Swann will need to back them up accordingly. Big Tim has performed remarkably since his debut in Test cricket and still has not lost a Test. He was written of my many (me) as being a fast medium county level trundler, evidently not looking at his record in Tests now! However, this is a different Test entirely. If he can't do his normal job of keeping the run rate down, and Kallis and AB get in you can almost chalk up a SA innings of 400+ immediately. He will have to be at his best, with his reverse swing and surprise bouncer, to make an impact on the SA middle order. Graeme Swann is an odd one, because he is still one of the best two spinners in the world with Saeed Ajmal but he has not been at his best recently. Marlon Samuels gave him all sorts of hell getting after him in the recent series with the West Indies and the South Africans, especially De Villiers who is an awesome player of spin will try to get after him and hit him out of the attack which would leave the English seamers exposed.

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Post by gboycottnut Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:34 pm

Fists of Fury wrote:Shane Warne cannot be counted amongst that, everyone who ever picked up a bat that played against him struggled. Perhaps BC Lara aside!

We will be ok against Tahir, though he is a good bowler.

Not just Shane Warne English batsmen have struggled against. Richie Benaud, Chandrasekar, Anil Kumble, Abdul Qadir, Mushtaq Ahmed, and even Paul Strang have won matches for their respective countries against England at a test match level.

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Post by Fists of Fury Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:40 pm

Hardly on bunsen burners though, are we.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:41 pm

eh? Zimbabwe have never beaten England in a test? How could Paul Strang have won matches against us at test level?

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Post by Stella Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:45 pm

Fists of Fury wrote:Hardly on bunsen burners though, are we.

Took me a couple of minutes to get that Doh

No, and Tahir is hardly Qadir, Kumble or Warne.
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Post by Fists of Fury Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:52 pm

Haha. Agreed.

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Post by gboycottnut Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:26 pm

Stella wrote:
Fists of Fury wrote:Hardly on bunsen burners though, are we.

Took me a couple of minutes to get that Doh

No, and Tahir is hardly Qadir, Kumble or Warne.

But he does have a very good googly delivery which can cause a sorts of problems to England's batsmen, particularly for England's large contingent of South African rejects in the batting order.

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Post by VTR Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:04 pm

I think SA to win. Reason apart from them being an excellent side is I feel we aren't quite playing with the intensity and clinical-ness we saw from the Ashes through to the end of the India series.

Evidence: sleepwalking to 70 all out chasing 140 in the UAE. Then next Test losing after bowling them out for 100 in their first innings. Losing the first Test in SL after removing the top order cheaply in both innings (and also collapsing in the run chase).

Windies series: not winning the first test by an innings. Second Test allowing that huge Sammy/Samuels partnership and having yet another collapse in our first innings. Tino in the 3rd Test!!

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Post by Fists of Fury Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:04 am

Gboycott, you are talking some tripe here. Why would the googly present a problem in particular to our South African rejects (presumably you mean Trott and Pietersen) (one of which would walk immediately in to their side).

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Post by Stella Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:22 am

VTR wrote:I think SA to win. Reason apart from them being an excellent side is I feel we aren't quite playing with the intensity and clinical-ness we saw from the Ashes through to the end of the India series.

Evidence: sleepwalking to 70 all out chasing 140 in the UAE. Then next Test losing after bowling them out for 100 in their first innings. Losing the first Test in SL after removing the top order cheaply in both innings (and also collapsing in the run chase).

Windies series: not winning the first test by an innings. Second Test allowing that huge Sammy/Samuels partnership and having yet another collapse in our first innings. Tino in the 3rd Test!!

I agree in that we do seem to have taken the foot off. making TWO changes for not much of a reason doesn't help either. They will have to be up for this one and I think they will be.
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Post by gboycottnut Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:20 am

Fists of Fury wrote:Gboycott, you are talking some tripe here. Why would the googly present a problem in particular to our South African rejects (presumably you mean Trott and Pietersen) (one of which would walk immediately in to their side).

Well because South African batsmen are traditionally better suited at playing pace/fast bowling, than with slow/spin bowling which is more of a weakness in their game. One thinks of Allan Lamb and Robin Smith in the 1980's who were better when they played fast bowling than was the case when they had to face spin bowling, with Smith in particular having awful problems playing the Indian trio of Kumble, Raju and Chauhan in the Indian tour of 1993.

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Post by Fists of Fury Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:40 am

Pietersen has dismantled Shane Warne. There has been no better leg spinner, nor one that has come close. I think he'll be ok.

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Post by Shelsey93 Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:49 am

Fists of Fury wrote:Pietersen has dismantled Shane Warne. There has been no better leg spinner, nor one that has come close. I think he'll be ok.

I don't doubt that KP should be fine against Tahir. But I am wary about comparing 2012-model KP to 2005-model KP. In 2005 he was brash and fearless. Now I think he has a greater fear of failure than he did back then, and his mind is very complicated and can play tricks on him at times. It has taken him a few years to adapt to that change in mindset, and return to his best form. But it could only take a few dismissals for the mental gremlins to re-emerge again.

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Post by Fists of Fury Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:51 am

Yeah his style was very different, more sixes, for a start!

I see what you're saying, Shelsey, but I certainly don't think he should be pinpointed as one having a weakness against the wrong'un, far from it.

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Post by Stella Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:01 pm

Pietersen also destroyed Murali in 2006 but like Shelsey says, he's a different player now.

btw shesley
Given your writing abilities, you're not related to Sydney Sheldon are you?
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Post by Shelsey93 Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:10 pm

Stella wrote:
btw shesley
Given your writing abilities, you're not related to Sydney Sheldon are you?

No. The Jewish side of my family changed their name from a more Jewish sounding name during the War. By which time Sidney Sheldon was already 40. So I can't claim any fame there Very Happy

Nor am I related to Surrey's former chief executive Paul Sheldon Very Happy

I do, however, have media connections. My late father was a golf photographer - not that I have inherited any skill behind the camera whatsoever...

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Post by jeffwinger Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:01 pm

I wouldn't think England's middle order will have much trouble against Tahir. Yes he is a leg spinner and English batsman traditionally struggle against leg spinners, but he isn't as good as the greats mentioned, while he is good enough to have some respect from KP. Anyway, do Allan Lamb's troubles against spin 30 years ago have any relevance to this series at all?

Bell and KP are both brilliant players of spin bowling, but both have their unique Achilles' heel.

KP is magnificent against top spinners, one of the very best ever at smacking a leading spinner out of the attack. His weakness lies against lesser bowlers or part timers, as he has no respect for them and throws his wicket away. It is very rare that KP is 'got out' by a spinner. Tahir is good enough that KP will apply himself and not give it away.

Bell is an exquisite player against most bowling but his weakness is against the very best 'mystery' spin bowling or in very spin friendly conditions, which is fair enough - most batsman struggle in these situations. However Tahir is not at that level and we wont be playing in a dust bowl, so it shouldn't be an issue.

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Post by Biltong Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:01 pm

Nice OP stella, I think this series is too close to call, but I expect the rustiness will cost SA the first test.
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Post by alfie Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:31 am

Tahir may be more likely to take a wicket than , say , Harris ; but I think with Steyn Morkel and Philander around he is arguably the least of Enngland's worries...

When you look at the obvious class of the SA attack and much of their batting order it is easy to think : Just Too Good !

However it may not be unfair to suggest that the total South African performance is not always equal to the sum of its parts. How else to explain some of their series results ?
Consider the two Test series with Australia last year (ridiculous only two games , but still... ) No question that Australia has revived under M Clarke , and that new players have revitalized the team , but even so South Africa really should have been expected to crush them at home. Instead they drew the series , winning the first match comfortably in the end , but only after an extraordinary day in which both teams contrived to be skittled for a combined total of 140. . and then losing the second game despite being in a strong position a couple of times.
And that isn't the only time they have faltered against an apparently weaker opponent : while it never actually causes them to lose a series it is probably why they are still in second place in the rankings rather than top. Doesn't mean they are a poor team , but does suggest they are one that is vulnerable to occasional costly slips , which can prove fatal in a short series.

Of course England too have their lapses - but in recent years not often at home That home advantage may just be enough to edge the series , if I'm forced to make a call. Just hope bad weather doesn't mess with the (scandalously short) series.

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Post by Shelsey93 Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:46 am

alfie wrote:Tahir may be more likely to take a wicket than , say , Harris ; but I think with Steyn Morkel and Philander around he is arguably the least of Enngland's worries...

When you look at the obvious class of the SA attack and much of their batting order it is easy to think : Just Too Good !

However it may not be unfair to suggest that the total South African performance is not always equal to the sum of its parts. How else to explain some of their series results ?
Consider the two Test series with Australia last year (ridiculous only two games , but still... ) No question that Australia has revived under M Clarke , and that new players have revitalized the team , but even so South Africa really should have been expected to crush them at home. Instead they drew the series , winning the first match comfortably in the end , but only after an extraordinary day in which both teams contrived to be skittled for a combined total of 140. . and then losing the second game despite being in a strong position a couple of times.
And that isn't the only time they have faltered against an apparently weaker opponent : while it never actually causes them to lose a series it is probably why they are still in second place in the rankings rather than top. Doesn't mean they are a poor team , but does suggest they are one that is vulnerable to occasional costly slips , which can prove fatal in a short series.

Of course England too have their lapses - but in recent years not often at home That home advantage may just be enough to edge the series , if I'm forced to make a call. Just hope bad weather doesn't mess with the (scandalously short) series.

Yes, its like the SA batsmen take their foot off the gas once a series and get bowled out for a low score. Happened quite inexplicably against both Aus (luckily they then bowled them out even cheaper) and against SL.

Not to say that that will necessarily happen in this series, and its also something that England have done quite often (at least until a couple of years ago). Think Headingley '08, Headingley '09, The Oval '10, Perth '10/'11.

Goes to show that, even the best teams, rarely perform at 100% every single game. I think that was what set the Aussies of the 90s and early 2000s, and the West Indians of the 70s and 80s apart from teams that were just very good - they were absolutely relentless.

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Post by gboycottnut Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:30 am

Shelsey93 wrote:
alfie wrote:Tahir may be more likely to take a wicket than , say , Harris ; but I think with Steyn Morkel and Philander around he is arguably the least of Enngland's worries...

When you look at the obvious class of the SA attack and much of their batting order it is easy to think : Just Too Good !

However it may not be unfair to suggest that the total South African performance is not always equal to the sum of its parts. How else to explain some of their series results ?
Consider the two Test series with Australia last year (ridiculous only two games , but still... ) No question that Australia has revived under M Clarke , and that new players have revitalized the team , but even so South Africa really should have been expected to crush them at home. Instead they drew the series , winning the first match comfortably in the end , but only after an extraordinary day in which both teams contrived to be skittled for a combined total of 140. . and then losing the second game despite being in a strong position a couple of times.
And that isn't the only time they have faltered against an apparently weaker opponent : while it never actually causes them to lose a series it is probably why they are still in second place in the rankings rather than top. Doesn't mean they are a poor team , but does suggest they are one that is vulnerable to occasional costly slips , which can prove fatal in a short series.

Of course England too have their lapses - but in recent years not often at home That home advantage may just be enough to edge the series , if I'm forced to make a call. Just hope bad weather doesn't mess with the (scandalously short) series.

Yes, its like the SA batsmen take their foot off the gas once a series and get bowled out for a low score. Happened quite inexplicably against both Aus (luckily they then bowled them out even cheaper) and against SL.

Not to say that that will necessarily happen in this series, and its also something that England have done quite often (at least until a couple of years ago). Think Headingley '08, Headingley '09, The Oval '10, Perth '10/'11.

Goes to show that, even the best teams, rarely perform at 100% every single game. I think that was what set the Aussies of the 90s and early 2000s, and the West Indians of the 70s and 80s apart from teams that were just very good - they were absolutely relentless.

One feature that all the great Aussie teams of the 1990's and early 2000's, and all the great West Indian teams of the late 1970's and mid 1980's had in common was a tremendously strong batting lineup containing many great players and matchwinners. Shame can't be said about the current supposedly great England team and to an extent the current SA team.

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