Gentlemen Start Your Engines

December 15, 2009 at 10:53 am Leave a comment

Make no mistake, the Test series between South Africa and England will be big. A lot hinges on the next four Test matches. Was the victory over Australia the exception or the rule? South Africa hasn’t played test cricket since it lost the series at home to Australia earlier in the year so they will be extra keen to bounce back. While cricket betting has the hosts as favorites it could be a lot closer than many think.

For England this is the start of a new era. They will be without the services of Andrew Flintoff and it will be interesting to see how they fare without him. As a bowler, batsman and fielder he contributed a lot. Even in the Ashes when he was clearly struggling and not 100% he was able to make a difference. There was his five wicket haul at Lords and then there was his run out of Ricky Ponting at the Oval.

On the other side of the ledger, they will be pleased that Kevin Pietersen will be returning. He suffered from an Achilles injury which caused him to miss most of the Ashes. He will want to announce his return to the Test arena via a huge innings.

There will be pressure on many of the English side to perform. Apart from a nice innings at Lords, Alastair Cook had a pretty lacklustre Ashes series. Would they be anyone else, his position in the team might be under serious jeopardy.

Under less scrutiny is Paul Collingwood but he too didn’t have the best Ashes series. After his match and series saving effort at Cardiff, he really didn’t do much. He will be keen to rectify that against the South Africans.

Graeme Swann is coming off a good summer and will be hoping to continue that run of form against the hosts. Which fast bowlers will join him in the attack? Assuming everyone is fit, you would think it was James Anderson, Ryan Sidebottom, Stuart Broad and Luke Wright filling the big shoes of Flintoff.

This is a balanced attack but they have to make the most of the conditions and bowl with intelligence if they are to take 20 South African wickets.

It should be an entertaining series and one that make for some captivating viewing. In the past, these two have combined to play some captivating cricket and this series should be no different. Consistency will be the key and whichever of the two masters that will prevail.

David Wiseman writes for this blog. He also writes about harness betting.


Entry filed under: England, South Africa.

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