The question and answer session has closed.
Johann Wasserman asked:
Can you tell us why there is a nine day gap between the 1st & 2nd test and also between the 2nd & 3rd test?
Gary Kirsten has strong views about the best way to prepare for test matches, but the itinerary was not prepared by him alone. He consulted with all of the senior players and they came up with what suited them best. The final decision, of course, is made by administrators. In recent years back to back test matches have become commonplace. But the players do not enjoy them and, given that both teams would have preferred a five test series with so much a stake, it seems reasonable to give the players a decent break between the three test matches which had been scheduled.
Neil hi, looked good on Sky Sunday. Big surprise the first test; an annihilation rather than a defeat for England. Losing a game is one thing; but how do they overcome the emotional concussion? Will they, do you think>
It will be very hard for England to recover from such a massive defeat. It would be impossible if they only had four or five days before the second test, but the pain and embarrassment of the Oval test will have worn off to a certain degree by the time they line up again at Headingley.
I only got to watch saturday and sundays on the telly, so missed much of SA''s bowling. But it seems like the commentators don''t rate Imran Tahirs abilities to highly. Im not sure what to think of Imran, I thought he should of have caused a lot more trouble for the bastmen on the final day than he did, especially with all the footmarks, and the dry pitch. Do you think he will be selected for the next game, and is there any news on the what type of pitch SA are expecting.
The final day at the Oval was the first opportunity for Imran to bowl on a helpful surface on the last day of a test match, and he rose to the occasion brilliantly. He could have done no more. Dale Steyn was imperious. Tahir showed versatility, creativity and the ability to seriously upset batsman on a worn pitch. If Steyn had not taken five wickets, I suspect Tahir would have taken more. Barring injury, I reckon Tahir will play the entire series. And rightly so. His dismissal of Andrew Strauss on the fourth evening was a classic example of a legspinner changing the course of a game.
Firstly congrats to proteas. Neil,firstly I would like to know why Smith let Morkel and Philander start out the bowling in both innings instead of the Morkel-Steyn partnership? And if the same thing happens in the second test and Smith waits so long to declare,do you think England will be able to play for a draw? Thanks for your time and good luck to Proteas
Morkel ‘demanded’ the new ball before the series began because he has such a phenomenal record against Strauss. When he claimed his wicket in the first over of the test match, there was no doubt about the wisdom of promoting him to take the new ball. Philander is a classic new ball bowler. The harder the seam, the more dangerous he is. Dale Steyn may not enjoy being relegated to first change, but he does accept the reasons for it. Grudgingly, maybe!
Byron Skinner asked:
South Africa conceded way too many extra''s in this test, including many bye''s. Is AB the right man to be behind the stumps when he may be required to play a match like Amla if the top order fails... 5 days straight with no rest? Is Tsolekile good enough, and who do they drop if need be?
There were a lot of extras, but the majority were leg byes. That is a consequence of the pitch. South Africa's bowlers aimed at the stumps for the majority of England's two innings and
leg byes are an inevitable consequence of that . There were also too many no balls, however, and that has been addressed by Allan Donald.
With such a comprehensive victory by the proteas,are they going to be able to repeat the performance if not improve on the last two tests? And should there be a concern about the middle order for the next test since they did get the opportunity to bat?
Gary Kirsten was very clear about this performance: "it is not a one-off. We believe in our ability to play like this again." There is no point in speculating about the middle orders ability to perform having not had a bat in the first test. The vast majority of English media suggested that South Africa's batsmen were "undercooked" before the first test match. That speculation looks embarrassing now! Who is to say that AB de Villiers, J-P Duminy and Jacques Rudolph will be any more undercooked if and when they get the chance to bat at Headingley.
Riaan Ferreira asked:
Having witnesses Hashim bat in person I find it astonishing that he could achieve this whislt fasting for Ramadan. Tahir was a revelation on the last day. Cudos to Smith. Would SA adjust the team if a greentop is prepared and your thoughts on how Smith has become a braver captain by declaring earlier that he might''ve in the past. Influence of Kirsten?
Hashim was not observing the Ramadan fast at during the test match. He did not drink fluids during the scheduled drinks breaks out of respect for those who were observing the fast, but he did drink during the lunch and tea breaks. He will make up the missing days when he returns to South Africa. He is fasting on non-match days. I don't think South Africa will adjust the team in any conditions -- except in the case of injury. The decision to declare was largely left in Kallis’s hands. He was 182 not out at tea and was given the chance of a double hundred. He said 'no, the team comes first.'
Lennox Tukwayo asked:
Afternoon Neil. Do you think England are the best team in the world over the last 3 or months? I am asking this because RSA have 4 of their top six batsmes in the top 10 rankings and England only 1. RSA also has 3 of their 4 frontline bowlers in the top 10 compared to the 2 for England. Surely if the player rankings are anything to go by, RSA is the best cricket test side in the world.
Team and individual rankings are impossible! I think the current system is actually quite good, but far from perfect. England have lost 5 out of nine test matches is since becoming number one. South Africa have not been beaten away from home for six years. One thing is clear -- whoever wins this series will be acclaimed the undisputed world number one.
Hi Neil,i heard you on the radio in england the other night suggesting there is no way back for england.I am South Africas biggest fan but that is absurd.They are playing at Headinley next where swing is the order of the day and eng have bowlers who can swing the ball.Also SA were so negative that i was so surprised the declaration came when it did.They should have had another 100 runs at least at the same stage with the talent waiting to come in.Nothing has changed with the mindset of SA sport at the top for SA rugby or cricket it seems.I was there on Sunday willing them to speed up.I would not be surprised to see ENG at least draw because of the negative play of South Africa.
You are a hard task master, Bob. South Africa have just produced one of the most profoundly comprehensive victories in the history of test cricket, and you are accusing them of being negative. Goodness knows what will happen to the opposition if they start playing positively ...? The declaration was prompted by Jacques Kallis who said he had no interest in scoring another double hundred if it affected the team's chances of victory. And by the way, I never said there was no way back for England. That would be ridiculous! They are a brilliant team.
what do you think the big difference was between the two teams in the first test? Boycott says it was lack of patience by the batsmen but surely them only taking 2 wickets and us taking 20 must ring alarm bells for the english because their attack has been very sucessful of late and they are on home soil.Do you think we can dominate them again like this in the secound test.
Yes, South Africa can dominate again. England's batsmen were unnerved by the hostility of Morne Morkel and the skill of Dale Steyn. It appears they had reached the conclusion that the Vernon philander was overrated. What a mistake that was! Of course England's batsmen were impatient, and the bowlers were complacent. They have a massive review of their performances coming up. They have the talent and will to fight back, but rarely has a team had to fight back from a greater distance.
Hi Neil, Love your work!
The Boys dominated the test from day 2 to 5, with day 1 going to England. Was it a case of us getting the better of the conditions and exploiting them almost to perfection, with England unable to do anything about it, or did we hit top form, with England having a really bad day? I honestly think the next 2 tests will be much closer, and we should not expect the same result again!
Thanks for your time!
When you say that England had a bad day, which will are you referring to – two, three, four or five? It was clear that South Africa assessed conditions far better than their hosts and worked out the best way to both bat and ball on a pitch which had far more life than England realised. None of the Proteas got too carried away with performance -- Gary Kirsten even went so far as to say that they could play like that every game. But, to be honest, it was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of result and I agree with you, the next two Tests will be a hellova lot closer!
Jacques vd Westhuizen asked:
There are talk of England dropping Bresnan for Finn. Buy with Bresnan''s batting that doesn''t makes sence. Wouldn''t it be better to leave Broad for Finn. Broad is down on pace, and Finn might inject there bowling with some pace
With the greatest of respect, that’s a problem I’m not really interested in! It is England’s problem – not mine. Finn is genuinely quick, up there with Morkel and Steyn, so I would think he has to play. But there are problems – Broad is the ‘Golden Boy’ of English cricket and nobody likes to drop him. And then there is England’s quota system – they can’t go to Headingley without a Yorkshireman in the team! It’s a problem for them, that’s for sure. Maybe they’ll just avoid making a hard decision and give the same XI the chance to redeem themselves.
zahraa khota asked:
Do you see South Africa sticking with Alviro Peterson considering he didn''t offer much on a pretty flat wicket ?
He scored 150 in his last Test before the Oval! Goodness me, doesn’t he deserve a decent run in the team? Hasn’t he earned that? James Andreson trapped him lbw with an inswinger in his second over – he can do that to any batsman in the world! Yes, Alviro will play the entire series – and rightly so.
Hi Neil, me again
a) The English press seems to schizophrenic when reporting on their team, one day they are unstoppable and the next absolute rubbish. That put aside, who in the English team do you think will should be worried about their place in the starting team?
and b) In the media i read that Graeme has allready "retired" two English captains. Could you please explain this as I''m not quite sure what they mean.
The English media is a very competitive industry so they feel obliged to write ‘strong’ stories every day to keep their place in the market! There is an element of two-facedness to it, but in this case it is deserved. I reckon I’d be writing some pretty strong stuff about the Proteas if they ever got beaten as badly as that! Graeme scored 277 in the very first Test of the 2003 tour and South Africa were set for victory until rain saved England. It was all too much for Nasser Hussain who immediately resigned the captaincy afterwards but stayed on in the team as a batsman. When Smith scored an unbeaten 154 at Edgbaston five years later to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, Michael Vaughan – Hussain’s successor – retired from international cricket.
Jody Druce asked:
I was wondering if you know why south Africa play so many less test matches other big teams? sa have played 13 less games than Australia and 11 less than England. Also they have played fewer odi''s than other teams. I just think that sa is getting to much rest and not enough playing time!
The fact that Australia and England play five-match Ashes series every two years distorts the numbers a bit. Everybody wants to play India because of the television revenue they bring. We just have to accept that for historical and financial reasons (rather than cricketing ones) we come fourth! It’s better to be in the middle of the field than at the back. But look ahead to the next nine months and tell me if you see a gap of more than a week when our top players won’t be playing. I don’t think there is one.
What type of a pitch is expected at Headingly?and what are the usual conditions there?I still think we hold the four aces as Philander will burst into flames at Headingly.
I hope Big Vern doesn’t burst into flames, that would be terrible! Spontaneous combustion! I will tell his team mates to carry a fire extinguisher just in case. It is traditionally a seamer’s wicket at Headingley and, if there is any cloud cover, the ball swings, too. If the groundsman decides to leave a bit of extra grass on it, then it can be a batsman’s graveyard. SA were 120-7 there in 2004 before Gary Kirsten made a century and added 159 with Monde Zondeki for the eighth wicket. There is talk that England may go for a ‘greentop’ pitch – I think that would be a mad gamble. I’d back SA’s attack any day over England’s in helpful conditions, especially with a flaming Philander.
Andre James asked:
Thanx for making the time to do this.
I havent heard comment made on the following, maybe you have some thoughts:
When SA where in a jam on the second morning their bowlers attacked the wicket (granted without the usual tarde off leaking runs and pressure because they keep it tight). As opposed to the English who just hung it out side off stump, Tim Bresnan''s wicket tacking delivery aside. This was as good as throwing in the towel.
This highlights the fundamental difference between the two sides that was exploited, the English game plan relies almost entirely on opposition error, their attack cant attack! What are they going to do now that their playing disciplined batsmen?
P.S. I though their where rules against so much dead air during commentary, the English captains on Sky where tongue tied except for the brilliant Shane Warne, hell that guys brilliant. BBC radi commentary was great
Andre [doos object] James
You’ve hit the nail on the head regarding disciplined batsmen, but it’s not fair to say that England’s bowling attack aren’t wicket takers! Anderson and Swann have been taking lots of wickets regularly for a couple of years now. However, when the ball isn’t swing and batsmen have a smart gameplan against the turning ball, they don’t appear able to make something happen – as Steyn can (and Philander, Morkel and Kallis, for that matter!) Personally I have absolutely nothing against ‘dead air’ on television. If you can see the pictures and you don’t have anything add as a commentator, then keep quiet. I hate people describing what the viewer can already see. Radio is different, of course! I think Michael Vaughan and Phil Tufnell are amongst the best summarisers I have ever heard on the wireless!
Nivan Moodley asked:
There''s no denying the fact that a spinner is critical component of the modern cricketing game. Apart from holding down one end and stemming the flow of runs, and also the threat provided by the uneven bounce is an added weapon a captain can call upon if required. Does England have any leg spinners that they can being into their side to perform this role, or is Graeme Swann their only choice.
There are a couple in county cricket but nowhere near the national side. Swann has almost 200 Test wickets and remains a potent force – notwithstanding his 50 barren overs at the Oval.
Was a dry slow pitch was prepared deliberatly for the first test to give Swann assistance, with the idea that he could bowl attacking lines to our left handers with turn and bounce? What pitch can we expect to see in the 2nd test especially considering the fact that they were ineffective on the pitch on the first test, our pace attack managed to extract movement and that we have them covered in all areas of our bowling attack?
Thanks to you and SuperSport
Weeks of bad weather hampered pitch preparation at the Oval but there were also very strong rumours that England were not unhappy with a dry pitch and your theory about Swann and three left handers in the SA top seven is exactly right. There was also a very strong body of opinion that suggested Surrey CCC wanted a ‘flat’ pitch to maximise revenue from a full five days of cricket. And that’s exactly what they got.
do u think south africa should change the openers..or one of them to give other batsmen a chance, there is good back up after all..perhaps rudolph and peterson opening
Dear me, are you suggesting that the Proteas change their batting order to give the middle order ‘a turn’? Ha!Ha! this is Test cricket, not under-12s!