Michael Vaughn, the former English skipper, has some interesting views in the Telegraph on the important third test between England and the Proteas at the Wanderers.
Anderson and Broad will be very intimidating on a pitch where this advantage in the past usually laid with the South African bowlers. In Steyn’s absence, we lack that fear-inducing factor. Vaughn does not discount the rest of the SA pace attack, but is of the opinion that England has the upper hand in this department.
South Africa has injuries and will not be the potent force England feared at the start of the tour. But they like playing at the Wanderers. They look at home here and their attack still deserves respect.
Chris Morris will be better for his debut last week, Kagiso Rabada bowled well and AB de Villiers should insist on four quicks bringing in Hardus Viljeon (pictured above) for a Test debut. He has taken 20 wickets in two first-class matches at the Wanderers this season. England will be happy to face an English style seam bowler like Kyle Abbott. But they will not want to face is someone raw, quick and on his home turf. South Africa will make a massive mistake if they don’t pick him.
In Vaughn’s view, the inconsistency which plagued England lately stems more from the inability of the batsmen to deliver than the bowlers not pulling their weight, and he advises Root to curb his natural aggression, particularly when the pull shot is on offer.
The article raises another important issue – field placings. Vaughn recalls how Herschelle Gibbs was caught at deep third man when in full flight, and stresses just how important a position it is at the Wanderers in view of the pace and bounce at altitude.
Alastair Cook, Anderson and Broad will have to be clever in their field placings to make allowances for those factors. At the Wanderers you do not always need a conventional gully. A cover point ten yards further back can be a good catching position.
In his best English understatement he also alludes to the ten dropped chances at Newlands, and what a repeat of this might mean to their chances of winning the series.
Daar is ‘n Afrikaanse gesegde wat lui: Die beste skipper staan aan wal. Engeland het drie van hierdie modelle wat op hul eie swaarde moes val onder die meedoënlose druk wat Graeme Smith en sy formidabele span op hulle geplaas het.
Die groot toets vir beide spanne gaan meer tussen die ore as op die veld wees. Die span wat die druk die beste kan verwerk, gaan wen.
Vir die Proteas is daar die addisionele wete dat hulle moet wen om die reeks nog te kan verower. Hul vertoning in Kaapstad sal baie help vir die senuwees, en mens vertrou dat die Wanderers, en die tuisskare, die manne gaan help om die Engelse spelers se selfvertroue te skud.