Despite claims from the England side that they would be fully motivated for the final test at Centurion, it soon became evident that the extra edge they displayed in the first three tests were lacking in the last one.
It is commendable that the Proteas showed the courage to really give them a drubbing, and the final result will no doubt bolster their severely dented confidence when facing New Zealand in a two-test series in August, but there is much work to be done before then.
One of the most pressing needs is a proper batting coach. Russel Domingo says he spent the past 12 months looking for the right candidate, but was unable to secure the services of a suitable candidate.
It seems a bit of a mystery why Graeme Smith is reluctant to take on the task, unless it is because he is considering a comeback. My colleague Bobby Londt suggested Jaques Kallis and Kevin Pietersen as possible candidates. Ignoring the latter’s reputation as a bit of a stirrer in a team set-up, he may just add a bit of backbone to the batting line-up.
Upcoming ODI Series
This is going to be another huge test for the SA side. Not only in terms of what England has to offer on the pitch, but again from a mental perspective.
The rumours that the side, and AB de Villiers in particular, are still unhappy about what is alleged to have happened at the last World Cup, just will not die down.
Injuries and the rotation policy to rest certain players will have a huge influence on the final squad announced for the 5 match series which starts on 3 February. Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander will miss most of it, and Domingo has indicated that a few fresh pacemen may be added to what is left of the squad who did duty on the tour to hell in India.
BBC Commentary Team meets SA Justice
Neil Manthorp published the following on Supersport
The BBC Test Match Special commentary team, on its way back to Sandton after the second day’s play, was stopped randomly by Johannesburg Traffic Police. Cricket Correspondent Jonathan Agnew was driving with former England captain Michael Vaughan, doyen Henry Blofeld and fellow commentator Simon Mann in the passenger seats.
Agnew was asked for his license – which was in his hotel room safe. He was then searched while spread-eagled on the bonnet and then, along with the other three passengers, asked to empty his pockets. The officer in charge retained their cash, all of it, including a 10 pound note from Vaughan. He then asked if they were enjoying the cricket and waived them on their way.
Maybe that’s just the way it is. Jo’burg is no place for sissies. Take it on the chin and shut up. It did seem peculiar, however, when a barrage of doubt and even abuse was directed at Agnew on Twitter. And not just from random strangers. Highly respected former editor of the Financial Mail, Barney Mthombothi, claimed that Agnew and co had “bribed” the JMPD and “should be charged.”
Others questioned why the BBC team had not laid a charge.
“It was an intimidating and unpleasant experience,” said Agnew, “and I would like to be able to return home on schedule. But we took the view that the police know where we are if they would like to talk to us, and Michael took a picture of the officer – which was published. It’s hard to believe that people would think we made this up.”
Helen Zille’s comment that Twitter has become a vile battlefield appears to be borne out by the comments after this incident.