The Star Early Edition
Pacy Wanderers wicket won’t worry English quicks
Bavuma produced some highlights in Cape Town, the leading individual performers have all been Englishmen.
Nick Compton, Joe Root and Johnny Bairstow have shown excellent form with the bat and of course Ben Stokes has produced the most electrifying innings with his double hundred at Newlands.
With the ball, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn have been excellent, and the lengthy workout on that flat Newlands pitch would have done James Anderson the world of good after he
JANUARY 11 2016 missed the first Test.
Writing in his column for a UK newspaper, Broad noted the big opportunity that awaited England and it is clear that there is plenty of enthusiasm in the touring party about what could be achieved at the Wanderers.
“We’re in a dream position heading to the third Test in Johannesburg. We’ve put ourselves in a fantastic position against the world’s No 1 team on their own patch and this is not a chance to throw away,” Broad wrote in the Daily Mail.
While there is plenty of excitement about what South Africa’s fast bowlers could produce on what should be a quick and bouncy surface, England’s quicks will also be licking their chops at what they could produce from Thursday.
While Newlands was a “batting paradise”, for the first four days especially, Finn still looked dangerous occasionally extracting disconcerting bounce. Think about what he’d be able do at the Wanderers. The same holds true for Broad.
England aren’t free of worries however heading into the third Test, with the form of their openers Cook and Alex Hales chief among their concerns. Cook’s been out nibbling outside off-stump and strangled down leg-side, while Hales seems to be battling with finding the right balance between his natural attacking game and showing the patience required by a Test opener. That’s an area South Africa’s bowlers will be keen to keep exploiting especially if it means they can get at Compton and Root early.
The make up of the South African attack will be of in- terest to home supporters. Do they go with an all-pace attack? If so, will they be confident enough that Dale Steyn can get through a whole game without another ailment befalling him? Steyn faces two crucial days today and tomorrow to test out that shoulder which kept him out of the New Year’s Test. If he comes through training unscathed he’ll almost certainly play and then it will be down to De Villiers and coach Russell Domingo to decide if the South Africans should field a four-man pace attack thus leav- ing out Dane Piedt and having Dean Elgar as the sole provider of spin.
It’s a ploy South Africa used the last time England toured in 2009/10, when Steyn and Morne Morkel were accompanied by Ryan McLaren and Wayne Parnell and destroyed Andrew Strauss’ team at the Wanderers to claim a series levelling win in three days.
The two Sunfoil Series matches played there this season have been dominated by Hardus Viljoen’s raw pace. He claimed back-to-back ’10-fers,’ and remains in the squad after a late call-up at Newlands. He is one of six quick bowlers De Villiers and Domingo will choose from, although if Steyn is fit Viljoen’s unlikely to start.
Chris Morris, though erratic in the first innings – his mind no doubt frazzled by Stokes extraordinary sustained assault – should retain his spot following an improved performance in the second innings with the ball and for the value he adds with the bat.
South Africa, despite notching up over 600 runs at Newlands, still sports a batting line-up that looks vulnerable with Stiaan van Zyl under increasing pressure at the top of the order.