Being an England fan I tend to obsess about the England side and its failings – not that I am short of things to talk about there. South Africa has just won the Test series 2-1 and deservedly so. England rallied in the last Test match and South Africa, having already won the series, lost a bit of their discipline. England has played the same batsmen all year (10 Tests) and they have rarely looked like a Test match winning line-up. This will continue because the same players will continue to make the same mistakes. Will England fall lower that their current Test Ranking of 5th? Possibly. There I go again… obsessing about England.
South Africa looked an impressive side against England. The batting, when required, looked very solid. I was particularly impressed with Amla and Prince who looked every inch Test quality players. When England last played South Africa there was a suggestion Amla was in the side because of his ‘colour’. Whatever the truth, or otherwise, of that rumour he is now an impressive number three. Both players seem to have a very good knowledge of where their off-stump is and what not to play at. Smith captained his side as well as any South African I have seen and was quite rightly named man-of-the-series by the England coach. His innings at Edgbaston that won the series was one of real character and ability. The fact that South Africa won the series with barely a contribution from Kallis and had half the series without Steyn showed how far ahead of England they now are.
South Africa’s next Test series is against Australia – can they trouble them? Australia is a team in steady decline. They have lost some exceptional players: Warne, Mcgrath, Glichrist with Hayden to follow shortly. In addition they have lost some good players: MacGill, Hogg, Langer. However, their initial bar of excellence was so high that they are only just getting down to the point where they can be beaten by normal Test sides. I think it will be a close series, made closer by Australia’s inability to find a decent spinner. If they lose Lee to injury, which must happen someday because they bowl him into the ground, then the bowling cupboard will look very bare.
However, long before all that we have a one-day series which South Africa will win with some ease…
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