England have to stop Amla to save the series, says Swann

ENGLAND bowler Graeme Swann believes Hashim Amla is the biggest threat to England in the upcoming second Test against South Africa and must be stopped at all costs.

Batsman Amla clocked an outstanding 311 not out as England were comprehensively beaten by an innings and 12 runs in the first Test at the Oval. Swann accepts that a repeat performance could end England’s last hopes of a series victory.

“His form looks imperious at the moment and we were all very impressed by him,” said Swann ahead of the second Test that begins tomorrow at Headingley. “We need to get him early because he’s a guy who likes sitting in and batting for a long time.”

As well as backing Nottinghamshire team-mate James Taylor to settle quickly if he makes his international debut, Swann said he felt England had learned from their defeat.

“[Taylor will] be nervous and he’ll be excited but I’m sure he’ll be ready and raring to go,” he said. “He’s a cracking player and a lovely lad.

“It was a sort of public humiliation by the end of it, fielding that long and then getting skittled afterwards. I think that prompted that meeting afterwards and a lot of honesty and people saying that’s not going to happen again. It’s the old kick up the arse isn’t it?

“I can’t deny the fact that since we’ve been number one we’ve got a dismal record. Whether that goes hand in hand with being number one I don’t really know.”