LET’S give credit where’s it’s due, South Africa have played extremely well these last two days to take this stranglehold on the third Test.
Graeme Smith, in particular, batted superbly in the second innings to take the game away from England, and after losing three wickets in the crucial final hour yesterday, the tourists have their work cut out to save the Test and protect their series lead going into Johannesburg.
The key man for me today is Paul Collingwood. He is someone who seems to thrive in situations like this but his damaged finger makes batting extremely difficult, especially on a fifth-day pitch.
What it requires today is at least two players to take charge and make big contributions to take the heat out of the lower order. We rode our luck in the first Test with a defiant last-man stand but we can’t expect to do so again. Kevin Pietersen’s dismissal last night would not have helped his confidence and that will be a worry for England. KP hasn’t played much cricket recently and there’s no substitute for time in the middle. But it seems the South Africans have worked him out a little, knowing he is perhaps susceptible to the lbw.
One piece of good news for England was the decision of the ICC not to investigate the ridiculous ball-tampering claims made on Tuesday.
For me, this is a typical situation of the media trying to make something of nothing. Stuart Broad simply trod on the ball, there is no way he would try and rough up a ball just 15 overs old. The issue has been blown way out of proportion.