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Proteas Wilt Under the English Sun

The opening test of four between the Proteas and England certainly was entertaining and produced some special moments which culminated in a crushing 211 run English victory at “The Home of Cricket”.

Unfortunately, none of those special moments fell to a South African player. Instead, comical would be the word to describe the moments that defined South Africa’s match.

It all started so well – 82 for 4 at lunch on day one and the opening session on day four was equally inspiring – 63 for 7 but in between, inexperience and a lack of concentration on basic skills lost South Africa the match long before their fourth innings capitulation to 119 all out.

Take nothing away from Joe Root and his team who did everything they needed too and more to fully deserve a 1-0 lead in the series but one can’t but feel this result was of a South African making as much as Root and Moeen Ali’s exceptional performances.

Two dropped catches, two wickets from no-balls (14 of which were bowled in the match), incorrect reviews, failure to build on starts and deal with pressure. Those were the issues that lost South Africa the opening test.

For the umpteenth time in his career, JP Duminy could not front up when needed as Dean Elgar failed to cope with the twin challenges of captaincy and opening the batting, while Hashim Amla continues his struggle to reignite his run-scoring majesty. For their part in the contest the bowling unit performed well, barring the undisciplined extras that cost them a possible first innings lead, However, the fielding lacked the normal precision and athleticism associated with a South African cricket team.

Ahead of the start of the second test, South Africa still have worries over an opening combination with the bat after Heino Kuhn’s test debut did not go so well. The lack of form and more worryingly confidence from the experienced players in the top order is leaving the inexperienced middle order with too much to do and the bowling line-up will once again be unsettled thanks to Kagiso Rabada’s ban for Test number two.

What are the solutions that might get South Africa back in the series at Trent Bridge? I will have a ponder and get back to you on that.

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