South Africa roared back to form with a formidable 10 wicket victory over England in Leeds today.
After last weeks drawn Test, where South Africa endured a poor opening 3 days, and had to bat out the last 2 to save the match, they were back to top form this time. Everything went right for South Africa, from winning the toss, bowling England out cheaply on day one, putting on a big first innings score, and wrapping up the match with a day to spare.
The South African bowlers did their part, after letting all done in the opening Test, by bowling England out just after tea on the opening day. Morne Morkel once again impressed, picking up 4 wickets, while Steyn foundthe direction he was missing last week, to also pick up 4. For the batsman there were big centuries for Prince, his second in the series, and de Villiers, while Smith, Amla and Boucher all got starts. In Englands 2nd innings Morkel and Steyn picked up 3 a piece, while Ntini and Kallischipped in with 2 each.
South Africa’s batting has been a particular high point thus far, bar their opening innings of the series, and5 of the top 6 have scored centuries. If you were to find any South African who has missed the series thus far and gave him that stat and asked them to guess who the miss firing batsman was, chances are Kallis would be their 6th guess. In a way that has been a pleasing aspect of the batting thus far. South Africa have been too reliant on Kallis to get them big totals over the years, and with him out of touch for once, it is pleasing to see that the rest of the batsman have taken the responsibility on themselves. It’s only a matter of time before Kallis finds his way, and, with a week’s break, he has time to work on his touch in the nets and come back more assured in the next Test. If the rest of the batsman can keep their form going, and Kallis finds his, it could be a daunting time to be an English bowler in the remaining two Tests.
The bowlers for South Africa were far better this time around. With the exception of Harris, who didn’t have enough to work with. Morkel continues to show he’s a Test star in the making, Steyn was firing again, and Ntini should enough to suggest he was on the way up again.
SouthAfrica are unlikely to make any changes to their team for next weeks 3rd Test, barring injury. Harris lack of wickets may tempt them to think of going in withan all seam attack, with Nel or Zondekientering the fray, but Smith would like the option of a spinner, andretains faith in Harris. This means that Pieterson and Duminy are unlikely to get a match this series, unless injury rules any of the top 6, in Duminy’s case, and Harris in Pietersons, out of the remaining matches.
After a slow start to the series South Africa came roaring back to take a 1-0 lead. The confidence is up and the bowlers are getting used to English conditions. The batsman have shown great application and determination, playing to the situation rather than their own games, as Mckenzie and de Villiers have shown, andKP needs to for England.
South Africa will enjoy their week off but will be itching to get back at England next Wednesday, where they will look to wrap up the series, and claim their first Test series win in England since readmission.
(Picture from cricinfo.com)