Saturday, 26 December 2009

England unchanged for Boxing Day Test. It's hot, it's sunny and South Africa chose to bat

JUST as it did in Centurion, the sun has come out for the Test in Durban. And the locals are peering at it like somebody just turned the bright lights on.
After weeks of mid-summer rain, England have emerged for the Boxing Day Test with conditions all changed from their bizarre, high-energy training session on Christmas Day.
Yesterday it was cloudy, humid, wet. The pitch looked damp, plenty of swing in the air, tide coming in... put them in!
Today, under blue skies, it's apparently a batting track. Drying fast, heat exhaustion for the fielding side... get in and bat!
These conditions favour five bowlers. If James Anderson, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad and Graham Onions were knackered in the dry heat of Centurion, 450 miles inland, a couple of days in Durban's tropical humidity will push them to the limit.
Yesterday Luke Wright got a cheer for something or other in the huddle. Today nothing. Just a 25th cap for Matt Prior and a 50th cap for Alastair Cook.
With Ryan Sidebottom and Liam Plunkett working out harder than the others - suggesting they won't play - and England have confirmed they're going into this one unchanged.
South Africa, bizarrely, have dropped the man who nearly won the first Test with the new ball, Friedel De Wet, despite taking five wickets on his debut. At 29, he must be gutted. But the world's top ranked bowler, Dale Steyn, is back after his hamstring problem.
Tomorrow, there's scattered thunderstorms predicted with a 60 percent chance of showers. Today, according to the weather gurus is going to be "mostly summer".
But looking at the track yesterday... I wonder. Is this England's chance to extract a little early life? In the 80s they used to talk about the effect of the wind and the tide here, how it influenced the swing.
There's hardly a breeze out there, I can't see the tide and it's bloody hot for England in the field... but I just wonder if this might be Jimmy Anderson's morning.

1 comment:

  1. I am really surprised over selection of some players in the england team. Cook and Bell should not have been the playing team.