Moving on….

17 01 2010

As expected England have been bowled out for next to nothing in their second innings and South Africa have won by an innings and 74 runs. The only notable resistance came from Paul Collingwood who scored a rollicking 71 before being caught off a rank long hop to leave England 9 down. Backbone, or lack thereof is a strange thing to be talking about in a series which saw England escape with two back to the wall draws, but that is what England demonstrated today. Never in the game once they were bowled out cheaply in the 1st innings, they never looked like making South Africa bat again either.

Due credit must go to the Proteas though, it was an efficient and impressive bowling performance by South Africa. In Steyn and Morkel, the Proteas have a pair of bowlers to intimidate and destroy opposing teams. Steyn’s control, swing and pace allied to the bounce Morkel can generate make them the best opening pair since McGrath and Gillespie were at their peak.

South Africa next travel to India for a top of the table clash to decided the unofficial world test champion. I am going to go for a drawn series as both side have formidable batsmen and it is highly unlikely any of the pitches will be anything other than flat. The Compulsive Hooker will of course be keeping an eye on this series.

Down under Australia are well on their way to completing a whitewash of Pakistan. In a Summer in which the toughest opposition was a resurgent Windies side, they have done everything that has been asked of them in winning all but one of their tests. (Assuming Pakistan fold as expected). The Compulsive Hooker does not intend to be like an English shop putting up Christmas decorations in September by talking about the Ashes 2010-11 but will do so anyway! With Bangladesh and Pakistan travelling to England in the Summer, England need to beat them comfortably to ensure they are rated as serious contenders in Australia next winter.

If there is one thing likely to come back and bite you, it is calling the opposition ‘ordinary’ in the pre-match press conferences. Sehwag yesterday called Bangladesh an ‘ordinary team’, and then had to watch as India struggled to 213-8 at the close. Ever the lover of an underdog, the Compulsive Hooker is backing Bangladesh to the hilt in this series and hopes they can bloody India’s unduly arrogant nose. Keep an eye out for the performances of Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh’s new captain and probably the worlds second best all rounder after Jacques Kallis. With four wickets already in this innings he is likely to prove a major thorn in the side of England over the next 5 months.

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