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Controversy reigns on opening day

Jonathan Agnew | 18:47 UK time, Friday, 18 July 2008

Decent bowling conditions and some reckless batting contributed to the clatter of wickets on an opening day full of controversy. First came the news of Darren Pattinson's debut - something I am still battling to comprehend.

Born in Grimsby and raised in Australia, Pattinson admitted to me before the start of play that he has never harboured any ambition to play for England. So what on earth is he doing wearing an England cap? That should have been where this whole saga ended.

South Africa celebrate as Morne Morkel (centre) takes a wicketInnocently enough, Pattinson has taken advantage of the fact that he has a British passport to play some county cricket between seasons in Australia. Aged 30 next week, he offers nothing to England's future, and this is the crucial difference between him and the many others who have represented England having been born elsewhere, or who were raised overseas. They, at least, made the decision to make a life here.

Crucially, after a total of just 11 first-class matches both here and in Australia in all of this time, how can the selectors really be sure that Pattinson is worthy of receiving such special treatment?

I have nothing whatsoever against Pattinson on a personal level, none of this is his fault and he seems to be as surprised as anybody. But I must take issue with our selectors whose responsibility, I would argue, extends more than merely to picking players.

What message does this send to English county cricketers who dream of playing for England - and, specifically in this case, to Chris Tremlett, who was actually called into the squad before Pattinson?

Barely had we settled down after this news when AB de Villiers had the nerve to claim a catch at slip that he clearly dropped. Andrew Strauss was the batsman, and he rightly stood his ground while the umpires conferred. One replay was enough to expose de Villiers' gamesmanship, and loud boos rang out across Headingley. Later, what appeared to be a brilliant catch by Vaughan was overruled by the third umpire who gave Amla the benefit of the doubt.

Seven of England's batsmen made starts, and then got out. Alastair Cook must be excused criticism as he received a poor decision but, especially as England had decided to drop Paul Collingwood and play an extra bowler, it was imperative that wickets were not sold cheaply.

Worryingly, Michael Vaughan made a duck, falling again to Dale Steyn and Tim Ambrose did little to suggest that he will be a long-term prospect at number six. Andrew Flintoff played the worst shot of the lot, flailing at a wide one and being caught behind for 17.

Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie both looked well set, but the bounce found by Anderson and Flintoff as England got amongst the wickets again made one wonder why Tremlett or Steve Harmison was not chosen.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I could not believe it when I heard we'd picked Pattinson - Unbelievable! What a slap in the face for Hoggard, Jones, Tremlett, Harmison, Plunkett.

    I wish the guy well and hope he proves me wrong in this match but he has no experience and offers England no future - a crazy decision and one I wold like to hear the selectors justify!

  • Comment number 2.

    once again jonathon agnew fails to acknowledge the superb contribution of james anderson, by far our best bowler in this game and for the whole year. his line and length was immaculate. graeme smith and arthurs were a disgrace, as was AB (AWFUL BRAT) de Villiers. pathetic SA conduct.

  • Comment number 3.

    An Immature batting from England combined with a disciplined bowling performance from South Africa to leave SA on top. Shameful cheating from A B de Villers which should not go unpunished was a blemish on their day. A welcome return for Fred at least with the ball, and a reminder from Jimmy A of what he can do (again), but what must Simon Jones do to be re-selected, and what message does Pattinson's selection (and poor performance with the ball) send to England's best county bowlers?

  • Comment number 4.

    I normally support the underdogs, and would've supported england at Headingley. But the selectors and Vaughan's crazy antics have made me change my mind. The Saffers look set to win this Test big time, and deservedly so.

    The clueless selectors need to be replaced en-masse.

  • Comment number 5.

    Why do I have the feeling that had Tremlett been chosen, it'd garnered nearly the same amount of media questioning and speculation? Or would the roving eye turned on Ambrose, who was only spared the pre-game troubles by the Pattinson Selection? Surely the media and fans are always grasping for scapegoats, but look at today's performance - batting discipline and clear thinking - THAT'S what was missing out there today. Nothing less.

    Head in the game, England... Head in the game.

    Cheers from the US.

  • Comment number 6.

    There really doesn't need to be some very stern action for abysmal behaviour like de villiers and also the pressure put on the umpires to turn around the Amla decision.

    The South Africans and Australians are good at sport but horrible sportsmen, and unfortunately their time of "win at all costs" mentality permeates the sport at all levels.

    We are a village cricket team and the opposition last week played with an Australian mindset - you would have thought that they were playing someone worth beating.

    I'm sure people will be moaning about the loss of lots of wickets - no doubt the same people who moaned that last weeks test was boring because wickets didn't fall.

  • Comment number 7.

    Can the BBC please drop the vendetta against Pattinson? He's bowled better than anybody in county cricket this season - what was he meant to do, tell them he didn't fancy playing Test match cricket?

    He was born to English parents, in England, holds a British passport and has said himself he IS NOT eligible to play for Australia.

  • Comment number 8.

    Yes, I'm afraid Pattinson's selection was an error of judgement by Miller. He is clearly not a special talent, just a decent seamer.

    It is a sad day.

  • Comment number 9.

    the whole day has been mired in controversy, and i don't know where to start, but here goes:

    1. pattinson's selection is a total disgrace, for all the reasons aggers gave. there is no justification i can think of to excuse it. it is simply unjust that he was selected shead of jones, tremlett, mahmood and especially matthew hoggard on his home ground.

    2. billy bowden should be in a circus, not umpiring in test matches. with his exaggerated gestures and showmanship he is clearly more interested in being the centre of attention than in giving correct decisions. two umpiring decisions today have totally altered the day's play: cook was given out when he clearly wasn't, and amla should be out but his coach and captain got the decision changed. it is an utter disgrace. if on-field players cannot appeal or refer a decision, it is disgraceful that the coach and captain of a team can get a decision changed. the whole game is becoming ruined. what the hell is going on?

    3. why are umpires never charged with bringing the game into disrepute? if there was a system of grading umpires by their decisions, we would know who the 'good' umpires are. they should have 'averages' worked out by the number of poor decisions as against the total number of decisions made.

    4. how are spectators supposed to know whether a decision can or cannot be referred? the game i love is being ruined by this incompetence and inconsistency. but i suppose expecting the icc to do anything constructive about it is like expecting it to rain pound coins.

    i have never been so furious at a series of events on the cricket field in my life.

  • Comment number 10.

    Aggers - agreed on Pattinson. On a different note, when will Ian Bell's alarming inability to get runs under pressure get noticed? Only "Skid" Marks (who else?) seems to have picked up on it. Alec Stewart last week claimed that Bell had answered all of his critics - well not this one. Today he was well set and, at a crucial stage, got an inside edge to Kallis. Its hard to imagine an established Australian batsmen getting out at such a time, in such a manner.

    Unlike Stewart, I have no financial incentive to promote Bell. As such, objectively, I would rate him as a very gifted player who lacks the crucial ability to score runs when it matters. The fact remains that Bell has never scored a test century when he is the first in the side to reach three figures. A statistic Stewarts agency is unlikely to be promoting. His innings last week was absolute class but then who has ever doubted his quality on a flat deck in the sunshine with the pressure off? We should be grateful to Bell though, as the Ashes of 2005 would never have been so exciting if he had averaged anything decent in a role which required a quality test number 5 who could handle pressure. Graham Thorpe anyone? Bell was wrong then, and he will be lucky to stay in the side if this habit continues. Its Graeme Hick all over again.

  • Comment number 11.

    More worried about Vaughan's batting than Belly's to be honest mechanicalCogbill

  • Comment number 12.

    There was a distinct decision between the Strauss and Amla "decisions" in my mind. Firstly, the Strauss one - Strauss was unsure and so it was up to the umpires to make a decision, which they felt they were unable to do and so referred the decision to the 3rd umpire, which THEY are fully entitled to do.

    With the Amla "dismissal", both Amla and the umpires were convinced he was out and the umpires did not decide to refer the decision. Only when Amla walked back did he force the umpires to refer it, effectively asking them to refer the decision.

    Also, if the 3rd umpire finds the evidence to be inconclusive, then my understanding was that the ruling made on the field would stand, meaning Amla would be out. Either the 3rd umpire has to have evidence that it is not out, or the decision should stand.

  • Comment number 13.

    There can be no qualms about the legitimacy of Pattinsons selection. He is more English than a number of our current team (birthplace, parents, passport).

    To be fair this isn't what the moaning is about - he has only played 11 first class matches (Aus and England) yet he is picked in front of proven bowlers with records of sustained success. If he had been blowing teams away then maybe I could understand it but his slim stats are only marginally ahead of the other proven match winners.

    Perhaps the selectors wanted to suprise the boks with a bowler they knew nothing about after having such a good look at our attack last week. Still a baffling and unpopular decision.

  • Comment number 14.


    The pressure wasn't off Bell last week. His stand with Pietersen saved the England innings. You don't seem to be allowing the facts to get in the way of your entrenched views.

  • Comment number 15.

    Why did they include Pattison over Simon Jones in the first place? He's taking wickets at around 13, and according to the Worcs captain, fit and back to the pace he bowled at in 2005.
    Jones arguably bowled even better than Flintoff as the Ashes wore on, and to have both of them back would be a massive boost.
    One of the main reasons England beat Australia in 2005 was that they had four decent quick bowlers who complemented each other well. Jones, Hoggard, Flintoff and Harmison was a first-rate attack, and it is a great shame they did not have the chance to play together longer; Sidebottom, Anderson and Broad are not really in quite the same class.
    Only the plus side, Panesar is a much better spinner than Giles, although Giles provided more at gully and with the bat. If Broad, who hopefully be a really decent test bowler but isnt quite there yet, is included for his batting ability (especially given that collingwood is now gone) then the need for three other incisive quick bowlers is even greater.

  • Comment number 16.

    I am confused about how referrals to the third umpire work. I know that the rules of cricket in general stipulate that when there is doubt, the benefit goes to the batsman. But decisions would not be referred to the third umpire unless there was doubt. So on that principle it would be pointless to refer anything to the third umpire as it would always have to be judged not out.

    Isn't it true that the on-field umpire is supposed to make an initial ruling, and then the third umpire only overturns that decision if it is clearly wrong? I know that's how it works in some other sports (e.g., American Football), and that seems by far the fairest way to do it. Does cricket work differently?

    It seems to me that with the Amla non-dismissal, he was initially judged out and it certainly wasn't clear from the replays that he was not out; therefore, he should still have been out. It sounded from the commentary, though, that the on-field umpire did not make his own ruling before referring it.

    Can someone please clarify?

  • Comment number 17.

    My view of the whole Pattinson mascarade is this: the selectors are still trying to keep their "unchanged side" together (albeit with the inclusion of Flintoff!), and are therefore reluctant to bring anyone into the side who might seriously challenge for a place, especially in the bowling department. In other words, Pattinson was the best stop-gap available, ensuring that Sidebottom will come straight back into the team when he has recovered from his injury - which may have been a lot tougher if, say, Simon Jones had been picked... and had taken a bucketful of wickets! (Even more so with Hoggard or Harmison, I guess!!) No such danger with Pattinson (I suspect - and so do the selectors!), who will, at best, have a half-decent game, and will happily make way for the third test.

    I am unsure whether we should applaud their pragmatic approach (in choosing this course of action, they keep some key players on their side - well, Sidebottom! - and spare themselves some potentially disruptive decisions later in the summer), or lambast it as cynical and short-sighted...

  • Comment number 18.

    The decision to leave out Collingwood and play Pattinson was obviously wrong. Another shocking decision by Bowden today, you are just wondering how he is related to South Africa because they must have something on him.

    There was one success from the day though Ambrose got 12 more runs than I was expecting!

  • Comment number 19.

    I can't believe AB de Villiers claimed that catch! There's a lot of issues affecting the spirit of the way cricket is played but I never thought I'd see what amounts to blatant cheating on a cricket pitch.

    Take something like sledging which at it's worse is pretty bad but even the arguably the worst purveyors of that dark art, the Australians, would never ever claim a catch which was clearly grounded.

    AB de Villiers should be throughly ashamed of himself and if Collingwood is banned for not making his bowlers bowl quickly enough then surely de Villiers should have an enforced time away from the game to reflect on his underhand actions.

  • Comment number 20.


    Last week was one of Bell's better knocks and when he started the pressure was on I agree. However, one wonders what would have happened had KP not raced to a ton and taken the pressure off? I would like to be corrected on this but, to date, he has consistently failed to score runs when it matters. Of course all runs matter, just some runs matter more than others. A gutsy 85 today seeing us to the close is the sort of thing I want to see (and have never seen so far). I am not sure that we have much better in the wings at present so Bell may need to be persevered with but he is fragile under pressure and the Aussie loves that.

  • Comment number 21.

    I thoroughly agree with Jonathan. Tremlett must feel like he's been kicked in the box! It smacks of if your face doesn't fit. (just ask Chris read). Whoever made the decision should be sacked, or do the decent thing and resign.

  • Comment number 22.

    Wow what double standards Aggers, how can you say Amla got benefit of doubt , when replays clearly showed the ball bounced before the catch was taken by captain, I am very amused by ALL england commentators both on BBC and SKY are saying Amla got benefit of doubt, that is just so wrong.

    Micheal Holding clearly was one person who was right in saying yes ball bounced before Vaughan caught the ball and everybody else wanted amla gone when he was not out, didnt Kevin peterson got called back last year against india then every body on TMS and SKY were saying wow justice is done right decision is made and now the very same people are saying Amla should have gone or he got benefit of Doubt, there was no doubt in that was not a catch thats why he was called back.

  • Comment number 23.

    Perfect swing conditions. I'm sure England's most consistent swing bowler over the last few years will knock them over tommorow...oh wait

  • Comment number 24.

    Im am losing so much faith with Englands selectors.

    Michael 'oh but hes a great captain' Vaughan continues to prove his best days are behind him and how come Hoggard is dropped after one poor test in NZ? Didnt Harmison play 4 poor series before he was dropped.

    And as for the wicket keeper situation, if we compare every keeper to Gilchrist we are never going to find a keeper to last a year in the squad!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    The problem with the Amla decision is not what the result was, it is that Bowden saw fit to ignore the Test match conditions! Under the circumstances of the Amla decision Bowden has no right to refer the appeal to the third umpire, he can consult with the other on field umpire and if they are not sure they give the batsman the benefit of the doubt.

    "Only if the line of vision of both umpires is obscured shall the bowler’s end umpire be entitled to refer the decision to the third umpire as in Clause 3.2.2 (b). "

    Certainly Bowden's line of vision was not obscured, the same is true in the Strauss case, how can we have the umpires making it up as they go along? If the fielding captain were to ask the umpires to review a decision it's a code of conduct violation, why isn't it when Amla did it?
    We have had the case of an umpire who correctly followed the Laws and playing conditions being sent down for 're-education' why is no action taken against one who flouts the playing conditions?

  • Comment number 26.

    I have no big problem with Pattinson's inclusion. He's got a decent record and has bowled very well for Notts. He was included in the 30 man Champions trophy squad so it shouldn't be such a huge shock.

    Only us English can write a bloke off after 3 overs of international cricket. Give him a chance for goodness sake people.

  • Comment number 27.

    Felton what was kevin peterson doing standing on boundary line last year against india when he was given out by Simon taufel , Amla's case is exactly the same then I didn't hear any grumblings all of them were saying justice was done.

  • Comment number 28.

    This was a dreadful day's test cricket, what with wickets falling and people getting runs. Bring back Sunday at Lords, proper Test cricket, I say.

  • Comment number 29.

    feltonpg its called common sense. its the likes of you that live politically correct lives not offending anyone.

    If we all lived by the rules we would all be as boring as you listing the wording of rules and laws off the top of our heads

  • Comment number 30.

    Pattinson was born in England, I assume to to English parents, and spent his early years there. Thus England is where his 'roots' lie.

    Morally he is better qualified to play for England than the players born overseas who come here to earn a living (and not out of any great sense of loyality to the nation) and somehow end up qualifying to play for England by 'residency'.

    If 'living' in the country is given primacy over being born in it we could see the English cricket team go the same way as the NZ rugby team with all their Pacific Islanders playing for the All Blacks.

  • Comment number 31.

    i am not writing pattinson off after 3 overs, i am saying he should never have been included in the first place!!! and i said that from the moment i heard about his inclusion this morning. the selectors have clearly lost the plot.

    i repeat my point, what is the point of jones, mahmood, hoggard and tremlett struggling away to get fit, to refine their actions etc, if they are then ignored and a complete unknown (aged nearly 30!!!!) who by his own admission had no prior ambitions to play for england is suddenly leapfrogged over them. its a total disgrace.

  • Comment number 32.

    For those of you complaining about amla bear in mind England tried similar last year against India with KP but failed to get the decision overturned - coach, players shouting from the balcony....
    As for dodgy catches Vaughan today, G. Jones against Bangledesh in Durham, was it Hussain in Sri Lanka - there have been a number.

    Anyway can England criticise anyone for gamensmanship, poor behaviour, etc. The jelly bean incident, the rugby tackle, collingwood mouthing off at warne in melbourne for no apparent reason, the list goes on.

  • Comment number 33.

    Oh dear england selectors. You have truely messed this one up. calling up Pattinson is definitley one of the worst decision made in my life-time!

    There are 6 bowlers in county cricket i feel so sorry for. Hoggard, Harmison, Jones, tremlett, Bresnan and Mahmood who all want to play fotr there nation unlike Mr pattinson who never aspired to play for england. I have seen Pattinson on a number of occasions this season and he is not an international player where as the previous 6 players mentioned could all make the team.

    I fell most sorry for Hoggard. This was his home ground and one he knows well and could definitley perform at and hold down a place in the test side. Dropped after one bad test is harsh but this is worse. His consistancy is what we need not half-volley pattinson

    I have lost all respect for Moores and Goeff Miller and before the replies of hes only bowled 3 overs returned, what i want for England is someone who will wear their heart on their sleeve like Hoggy.

    Hoggy i hope your test career is not over but sadly i think it is. Congratulations selectors on treating a treasure of swing bowling and english cricket this way.

  • Comment number 34.

    haha sajid mahmood is finished. knock him off these lists.

    if harmison is finished for bowling short and wide then mahmood is definately finished

  • Comment number 35.

    The umpiring today was awful. The whole flurry of England wickets was caused by a bad mistake by Bowden followed by what has to be one of the worst pieces of cheating I have ever seen by a fielder. SA should be forced to field with one less man for the entire 2nd innings as punishment! Villers should be out grovelling to both teams for his blatent cheating, and should consider himself lucky to be every picked again! Because of him Vaughan was denied a catch that on any other day would have been given as umpires over-reacted by being ultra-cautious. If SA win this test it will be down to Bad umpires and cheating, no amount of skill over the next 4 days will change that.

  • Comment number 36.

    petrevus -

    1. The replays were inconclusive on whether the ball bounced, it was impossible to tell if Vaughan had his hands under the ball or not - if you've ever seen the phenomenon of "foreshortening" explained you'll know that replays can be misleading. If the entire Sky and BBC commentary teams think it was inconclusive, I'll take them over you.

    2. Pietersen was NOT called back last year against India, he had to accept the decision despite the entire stadium realising that the ball had bounced. Today, the SA team managed to overturn the decision by putting pressure on the umpires.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    what are the selectors doing? What about keeping to players within the squad? Tremlett is not a bad player and certainly offers more to this patterson player, who even vaughen admitte he had only seen him bat 1 over!!!

    What a joke. AB should be ashamed of himself, but at least the umpires exposed him, things like that should mean he gets some kind of fine, that would stop this claiming catches.

    Shame we didnt have them 4 down at the close, but from thr highlights i saw freddie is well up for it. Hopefully there will be plenty of cloud tommorow, so we can bowl them out cheap

  • Comment number 39.

    Whilst De Villiers claiming of the catch was plain cheating the Amla 'dimissal' was far more intersting.

    As you may be able to figure out I'm an Indian fan and witnessesd Kevin Pietersen given out by Simon Taufel, walk back three quarters of the way to the changing room and then stop after getting advice from the changing room. After a viewing from the third umpire he was recalled. Now the thing to bear in mind is the Taufel gave him out.

    Amla's situation was identical. So why the outcry? If you live by the sword you die by it. England set the precedent and so can have no complaints.

    I thinks Aggers saying with certainty that the Vaughan catch was good is plain bizarre. I saw it and thougt it hit the ground, so did Michael Holding. David Gower thought it was good. That means there was doubt and the right decision was made.

  • Comment number 40.

    This is one england line-up we will never see again. Ambrose batting at six and Pattinson selected ahead of Tremlett, Hoggard, Jones etc.
    Tremlett and Hoggard can feel particularly hard done by. Tremlett was called up before Pattinson but was not selected. He was 12th man for the entire 2005 ashes series and when he did get his chance against India last summer he bowled well.
    Hoggard had been our best bowler for 2 years before he had one bad game and got dropped. He can feel pretty hard done by.

    AB de Villiers should be disciplined for claiming that catch - how did he think he was going to get away with it?

  • Comment number 41.

    terrier 26

    It must be a relief to have the shy and retiring South African KP playing for your team. Never arrogant, never cocky and a true Englishman. You must be proud.

  • Comment number 42.


    Wrong fella'. Pietrsen was called back.

  • Comment number 43.

    Let's have a bit of Paul Nixon revers-slog sweeping and jellybeans...

    Now THAT was a summer!

  • Comment number 44.


    Unlike most people who've commented on this blog I don't think I should be an England selector, though I must admit when I heard we'd picked this guy Pattinson this morning I was a bit bemused.

    I can only assume that the selectors have been following English cricket and therefore been impressed by what they've seen. It reminds me of a few years ago at Headingley when Neil Mallender got his debut: a horse for a course, he took a load of wickets; 5-50 in the first innings, 8 in the match (ref. cricinfo web site). No-one complained then, but this time it back-fired.

    A real puzzle. What odds would you have got on that yesterday ...

  • Comment number 45.


    get your facts right first peterson called back against india , he was given out then he was called happened exactly like amla

    Out, In Like Flynn and Out Again: There have been some bizarre dismissals down the years, but few batsmen could have been given out twice in three balls in the same innings. It happened to Kevin Pietersen in the afternoon, with Simon Taufel declaring him out even though Mahendra Singh Dhoni had dived and taken the edge on the bounce. The Indians were miffed when Pietersen was allowed to return to the crease, after his trudge to the pavilion ended with team-mates alerting him from the balcony. Zaheer Khan wouldn't be denied though, and a beautiful delivery slanting away from the batsman sent him back minutes later. This time, there were no comebacks.

  • Comment number 46.

    Why are we mere mortals so adept at shifting blame.

    A player taking a low down catch diving forward can never be sure that it has been taken cleanly. Michael Vaughan was far more certain than AB de Villiers that he took his catch cleanly, however, both were shown to be grounded. If Michael had thought he had not taken the catch cleanly surely he would have indicated a foul catch to the umpires.

    If there is any doubt the benefit goes to the batsman.

    Should Strauss's apparent dismissal benefit from the replays and not Amla's?

    We should not shift our blame from a poor and disappointing batting display by England , as well as poor team selection,onto AB de Villiers, Amla or even Vaughan.

    This brings back memories of World cup football, with Rooney stamping on an opponent's ' testimonials' and being red carded and contributing to England's departure. The blame was then shifted to a mere wink.

    If you shift the blame you will never take responsibility for the true shortcomings and not improve.

  • Comment number 47.

    if the selectors really HAVE been following county cricket, that would be a first!!!

    no, they just made the customary cock-up. simple as that.

  • Comment number 48.

    As usual the English sense of fair play means we get the wrong end of it. With the English media etc we will always stamp on our own players - collingwood vs NZ and yet De Villiers blatant cheating and the AMla situation are compared with Vaughan's and Pietersens(when he was given out!!). Unless we take the AUssi and SA view of win at all costs we are always going to be second rate. We must decide. Champion fair play and accept we will loose more than we win or.......

  • Comment number 49.

    to kapil_devil

    i like people who wear their hearts on their sleaves such as KP does. yes he can be too cocky which was his downfall today. But he knows his ability whilst Smith in all honesty appears to be jealous of English success and wants to win at all costs and not in true sporting manor

  • Comment number 50.

    uniquenamehere - here's the proof that he was called back. 'Clearly hit the turf'? Whatever!!!!!!!!

    'Khan to Pietersen, no run, madness!
    Pietersen was beaten twice in the over, then gets one fuller outside off stump, drives hard, gets a thick edge, which replays clearly indicated hit the turf before Dhoni snapped it up! They all appealed, Simon Taufel raised the finger, Pietersen had already started to walk...then with the tv showing what happened - the ball did hit the grass just before going into Dhoni's gloves - Pietersen is called back from near the ropes. The third umpire is referred to and NOT OUT is the verdict. Pietersen was almost home when he looked up at the balcony and saw his mates waving him back. People will have their views on this, I'm all too sure... '

  • Comment number 51.


    You know, SA fans probably like their captain to be passionate and wear his heart on his sleeve. His record speaks for itself.

    As for jealousy of England, jealous of what exactly!!!! This I want to hear.

  • Comment number 52.

    The selectors have made possibly the most astonishing decision today since Chris Cowdrey was appointed captain all those years ago.

    The ONLY possible sensible decision once it was confirmed that Sidebottom wasn't fit was to replace him with Flintoff, give us 4 bowlers plus Colly's occasional swingers that you can argue would be effective at Headlngley.

    Instead we have an unknown pace bowler who denied both our main seamers (Anderson and Flintoff) their preferred ends and posed little threat. We have no Colly as a back up bowler and as a result will heap greater demands on the aforementioned 2 bearing in mind Broad is carrying a knock as well.

    The knock on effect on the batting is that we have lengthened the tail instead of having Colly at 6, Flintoff 7, Ambrose 8 and Broad 9 which is much more solid

    I would love to know the theory behind the selections. Someone should be accountable for this disaster, or at the very least explain it.

  • Comment number 53.

    The English have to bring back Hoggard and Jones. Hoggard was dropped after one bad test, but he is still England's most consistent bowler in my opinion.
    And Jones is back and picking up tons of wickets in the county championship, and he's proven at international level.
    Pattinson is not an international bowler. Just a decent county seamer.

  • Comment number 54.

    I find the commentary extremely biased; why is it always bad umpiring/unfair player behaviour when anything goes against the English team? As many people noted here, KP getting his decision overturned in the India match last year....everyone agreed that it was Amla should have walked and not waited; Smith should not have asked Amla to wait...all British doublestandards...I really wonder about the biased nature of the British commentators...almost all, except Geoff Boycott and maybe Tony Greig upto an extent harp about the English players and stop talking about the opposition...while one understands that everyone has his/her own patriotic feelings, that should not come in the way of neutral commentating...and let Pattinson play and prove or disprove himself rather than ppl already passing judgement on him...

  • Comment number 55.

    Why all this controversy about Darren Pattinson? Grimsby, so far as I am aware, was not part of Australia at the time of his birth and is not now either. The man is English and he should be getting our support, regardless of whether you think he deserves to be there.

    As for the claim of 'no ambition to play for England', I suspect he can't quite believe himself what's happening to him at the moment. When you've been working as a roof tiler less than two years ago, just playing first class cricket must be a dream. So get off his back and give him a chance. It seems to me that a lot of people have just had a go on the basis that nobody saw it coming without actually looking at what he's done this season.

  • Comment number 56.

    OMG, what does it take to get a comment reported on here.

    My entry at 8.51 has 'been referred to moderators.' Was it my chutzpah in questoining Aggers, Gower or my bringing up Pietersen's non dismissial against India?
    The poor soul who complained needs to get a life!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 57.

    As a Yorks CC member I must say T T Bresnan must be a better bet he can bat too . He is ECB MVP this season . I am in the members stand Saturday so will be watching with interest

  • Comment number 58.

    54 you are completely missing the point over pattinson. it is the fact that he was catapulted into the team over umpteen other bowlers with PROVEN records that is the bone of contention. be honest, it was crazy to do what the selectors did today.

    if they are going to make such outrageous decisions they will become evn more of a laughing-stock than they already are. an as for peter moores, he must be the luckiest man on earth to have got the job he has. he couldn't organize the proverbial inebriation ceremony in a brewery.

  • Comment number 59.

    Feel quite sorry for Pattinson. He's on a bit of a hiding to nothing.

    Let's just hope he takes 7-30 in the morning session tomorrow and shuts us all up eh?


  • Comment number 60.


    If you place of birth is the only criteria for represting a nation why are KP and Strauss playing for England?

    Point is Pattinson lives and makes his living in Aus.

    How many other countries would this happen in?

  • Comment number 61.

    Can the people saying Pattinson is just an average county bowler wait until he has bowled more than 3 overs before they judge his ability at this level! If Flintoff is fit enough to bowl then we only need four bowlers and if he isn't then he shouldn't be playing!

  • Comment number 62.

    Pattinson is one of those joke selections you laugh about 10 years after it happens. Unfortunately we've got to wait those 10 years until our faces can flicker away from a grimace. The selectors almost managed to surpass theirselves however with the continued selection of ambrose, and his promotion to 6, the man just cant bat. On a brighter note i agree with earlier comments about James Anderson. Whether Aggers gives him enough credit is neither here nor there, but he has really grabbed his chance and become the bowler in our side you wouldn't drop and his batting really is underrated, as proved with yet another not out today. I don't know if we will win this test match or not, but despite a pretty dreary outlook on todays play it's far from over, especially as most of our wickets fell because of bad batting rather than exceptional bowling.

  • Comment number 63.

    Clearly there is more to this than we have heard. The obvious thing to do in the absence of Sidebottom was to bring Collinwood back into the team. This is unlikely to be a game where five bowlers are needed anyway (unless they really are scared about Flintoff, in which case he shouldnt be playing).

    I can only imagine that whatever it was happenne so late that they just went for the closest bowler available.

  • Comment number 64.

    After such an intriguing day´s cricket, characterised by the usual England batting shortcomings and some excellent England bowling in conditions that had greatly improved in the afternoon, it is a pity that the day may be remembered for the controversies.

    I think that the Pattinson issue has been well covered by you; Aggers, and my fellow bloggers and the majority decision seems to be that it is all very weird. I will only add the following: Why on earth should someone so little known be called up, when the number of people in England pressing for his inclusion could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand? Unfortunately, most of them -- the people not the fingers --appear to have been selectors. The really deplorable thing is that it has sent out a very bad message to Simon Jones, Harmison, Hoggard and a few other seamers who thought they might be on the verge of selection again. One only had to listen to Hoggie talking at lunch-time on TMS to see the effect this has had, although he was pretty diplomatic about it. The sad thing is that he was also resigned to the worst.

    The umpiring? Well, noone is perfect. It seems that the present team, especially Biily Bowden, are not in the best form and, just as players like Collingwood have had to do, should have a rest from Test cricket until they regain their form. While he is resting, Billy Bowden should be politely asked to have his eyes tested. One only has to see the photo on the BBC website of the Amla-Vaughan incident to realise that noone was in a better position than he was to take a decision on the matter; he was only a few yards away and was down on his haunches watching irt intensely. Amla thought he was out and was walking and it was only under intolerable pressure from the SA coach and Graeme Smith that the umpires decided to call on the opinion of the third umpire. I'm not saying that the final decision was incorrect but I am surprised that bloggers such as putrevus can be so sure that Amla was not out. Whatever.

    What is beyond doubt is that players such as Collingwood at Lords and Cook today have had their innings curtailed by very poor umpiring decsions. On the whole and in the long run, bad umpiring decisions tend to affect both teams equally, though that hasn't been the case in this series. Such a large number of poor decisions in six days of Test cricket is not acceptable and I hope that Billy Bowden and his minor partner-in-error return refreshed from their rest, thoughI know they won't be asked to take one.

    The AB de Villiers incident was disgraceful. Is there nothing that can be done to sanction such blatant behaviour, visible to all and sundry? What is the principle about "bringing the game into disrepute" about, if not?

  • Comment number 65.

    oh yes 63, the closest bowler available...and chris tremlett had gone to the toilet, i suppose???

  • Comment number 66.

    totally agree 64, bowden is a muppet and de villiers is a cheat

  • Comment number 67.

    It is clear that there is no logical reason for picking Patinson above Simon Jones on age, experience, current form, extra batting ability or looks - all of which Jones wins hands down. It is not unreasonable therefore for the seletors to tell us the baffled public why.....

    Second pont there is no doubt that AB de villiers should be fined for bringing the game into disrepute - blatant cheating is not acceptable and he and his fellows should be and probably are thoroughly ashamed of his action

  • Comment number 68.

    Yes, I am an England (and Wales) supporter but I think that there is a huge difference between the two "not outs" today and it really does confirm that the "spirit of cricket" is well and truly dead.

    Firstly, before I get accused of blind nationalism, let me state two horrendous recent decisions that I abhorred that went uncontested. The first being when Harmison chucked the ball at Inzamam whilst in his crease, Inzy jumping to avoid the ball and getting ran out! Shocking all all levels. Firstly, England appealing, and secondly it being given out.

    The second case is the recent one dayer against NZ when Sid knocked over the batsman (forget which) and then appealing for the run out. The crime being that Colly had all the time in the World to call the guy back. Two examples of England displaying that the spirit of cricket is something long gone.

    Right the Strauss dismissal. Firstly, how embarrassing for DeVilliers to pretend he caught it. But perhaps more significantly how wrong that his skipper who had seen it all to pretend that it was a catch. Spirit of cricket equals minus one hundred for all concerned.

    The Amla one is far more murky in whether or not the catch was taken. On first view (as live) you couldn't tell. Then from one angle, the same as Amla's view it looked 100% out. The other view it looked 90% not out. Amla displaying true sportsmanship walks. Then his Captain, who earlier was tryng to cheat claiming a grounded catch, waves him back as there is a chance of the third umpire being consulted and the decision overturned. In the circumstances the third umpire can't give it out and rightly so.

    But where is the spirit of cricket? Mikey Holding is my benchmark on fairplay and decency - wouldn't it be wonderful if cricketers could trust one another to be honest and say whether they made a catch or not?

    Was Gilly the last honest bloke and the last of the walkers (Amla excepted).

    Soon cricket will degenerate into the same pathetic situation that is currently in football. Winning, by whatever means, will become more and more important as more and more money pours into the game.

    So goodbye "cricket" in the true sense and hello to a game I will soon become to look at with the same guarded view that I watch football.

    Sorry for rambling...and I do expect a heap of abuse for posting this from the Saffers.

  • Comment number 69.

    Watching Pattinson on the (admittedly edited) highlights he looks like a journeyman. Not much pace and no movement in the air, although a little bit off the pitch. No evidence that he is going to seriously threaten even an average test batsman let alone the likes of Smith or Kallis.

    Vaughan's opinion of Pattinson's selection was clear in that he gave him three overs at the start - perhaps to get them out of the way - and didn't return to him.

    In a way it doesn't matter much, because he will presumably be dropped for Sidebottom in the third test and that will be that, but in another sense it does matter, because it is important that players have confidence in the selection process and know that people are being chosen on merit and not on a random hunch. Otherwise they may conclude - like Hoggard and perhaps Tremlett - that it doesn't matter how well you perform, if you are going to be leapfrogged by also-rans who have had a good couple of games.

  • Comment number 70.

    You English are all the same. Your team were out played and are now picking on the new guy and crying foul about de villiers. I'll agree that de villiers was wrong and should not have appealed for the wicket of Strauss. However, you all seem to forget your captain fantastic did not collect the ball cleanly in his "catch" off Amla...surely he new the ball had hit the ground..i think those who label de villiers a disgrace have a very biased opinion. You are also claiming that the coaching staff should not have told Amla to go back, remember what happened in 2007 with Pieterson...As for Botham..he is the most biased of all comentators..its getting to the point where I turn the volume down on the tele..
    English sport fans need to realise that you are average in all sports so stop looking at other people to blame...If I was English I'd be embarrased with some of the comments on here...

  • Comment number 71.

    13 wickets have fallen on Day One with no batsman having half a century against his name. Bowlers are doing well. Will the batsmen rise up to the occasion ?

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 72.


    Mikey Holding the benchmark for fairplay and decency?

    The same Mikey who kicked the stumps out of the ground when he was given a decicons in his favour in NZ?

    Oh and Mikey said England set the precedent, which they did. He also said it wasn't a clean catch.

    From Mikey's conclusions England have no one to blame but themselves.

  • Comment number 73.

    Amla was definately not out...the ball was clearly grounded while Vaughan tried to gather it....pathetic how you are all trying to smother the events of a poor batting performance...I hope Amla makes 100

  • Comment number 74.

    Post 72 should read wasn't given a decision in his favour.


  • Comment number 75.

    I cant see why Aggers can critise Pattinson's choice..yes a slap in a face for Hoggard,Harmison and Tremlett but who cares?
    Pattinson has been chosen and people should just get on with it, espically Aggers in his poistion.
    Why is Hoggard not being chosen?
    Out for form
    Out of Form
    Maybe the pitch wasnt the right ideal siutation for the lad.
    Also get to see Freddie back, but I wish some people would keep their mouth shut about Ambrose, he is a wicketkeeper, thats his job, not to bat jst to catch the red ball and to stump or catch the batsman out.
    Also I am appauled that Aggers can critise Flintoff for playing an awful shot.The others kept nicking edges to slip.
    Give Freddie some time and he will be back to his best.

  • Comment number 76.

    70, if i was south african i would be ashamed of the behaviour of my team today

  • Comment number 77.

    Geoff Boycott has been singing the praises of his own Yorkshire lad who screwed the pooch over the Twenty20, making out that guy is as English as a Yorkshire pudding even though he's a Pakistani citizen, born in Pakistan to two Pakistani parents who only moved to England a few years ago and does not have a British passport.

    If Pattinson was black or a Pakistani transplant "Brit" none of you lot in the media would have dared lift your head above the parapet.

    Fact is Pattinson has two English parents and is born in England.

    Do I think Pattinson should have played?

    NO WAY.

    The guy thinks he's Australian. He's lived in Australia most of his life, has admitted he never even harboured particular ambition to put the Three Lions Cap on and he should never ever have been in contention on that common sense basis alone.

    Beyond his nationality, what a kick in the teeth to Chris Tremlett. Tremlett, Simon Jones, Harmison and Hoggard should all be above Pattinson in the pecking order talent wise, along with gone knows how many others.

  • Comment number 78.


    Why did the ECb not realise that the yorkie lad was Pakistani.

    After all he captaine England u15 and was the England u17 captain when all the hoo haa broke out. Confuesd?

  • Comment number 79.

    Hey - ProudSouthAfrican: Us English are not all the same: there has been some rather unfortunate comment on this blog, but not all of us have commented that way.

    At the end of it all, the England batters under-performed today, but I dont think England are out of the game, and at the end of the day, we'd all take a game with incident and controversy versus a placid draw any day!

    (Anyone remember Atherton versus Donald perchance ..?)

  • Comment number 80.

    75, do you think someone should TELL ambrose that his job is to catch the red thing, did you SEE the dolly catch he dropped off anderson in the last game???

  • Comment number 81.


    The weirdest thing about the whole scenario with the young Yorkshire lad IS that he - a Pakistani citizen born in Pakistan to two Pakistani parents who is not a British citizen - could play for the England U15 and U17 teams.

    He should never have been eligible to play for England in the first place.

  • Comment number 82.

    Please correct me if I am wrong but did Amla not give himself out by walking. I don't think there was an appeal and therefore the umpire made no decision and without an appeal the umpire can not call the player back. On the other hand Strauss stood his ground and forced a decision.

  • Comment number 83.

    I for one was a touch startled but delighted by the selection of Mr D Pattitson, the Postman. It shows that if you are prepared to put in hard graft and toil away anything is possible. What better message to send out to the county circuit, than the this kind of selection, this in turn gives out added belief and incentives to other 30 something pros, helping them raise their games and consequently the overall standard of competition. Plus the selection has a touch of novelty in this bland corporate sporting age; that you can go from a mundane job to sporting stardom in half a year.

    England are far too concerned with selecting young players with POTENTIAL. Take Stuart Broad, I fully agree he undoubtadly has the attributes for long and successful career, but to put him in the team just because of the big P rather takes the pee. It should be the case of having to put in huge graft to get a test place, where you make sacrifises. The harder you work the more hungary you become the better you know your game and consequently the more mentally strong you are.

    Although Pattsion is 30, he has obivously worked extremly hard down under, in the result gaining the attention of a very strong Notts team. Furthermore full credit to him for he was prepared to relocate and lose the secruity of his job to give this cricketing oppitunity a proper bash.

  • Comment number 84.

    ProudSouthAfrican - Well done for standing up for de villiers - can't blame him for claiming a catch that he 'new' he had grounded - what was he supposed to say when his captain and the whole team were celebrating around him and certainly did not need any replay even for the least agile of mind to see that he had grounded, grassed and pushed it before scooping it up. So good on you by sticking by your man.

  • Comment number 85.

    84, i assume your comments were ironic, but isn't it worrying and disturbing that this kind of blatant cheating is forcing its way into cricket just as it has in football. maybe de villiers is related to cristiano ronaldo???

  • Comment number 86.


    You're absolutely right, he should never have been allowed but he was.

    And by your rules should KP be in the oppositoin line up. Born in SA, but doesn't even think he's English. He just came over because he couldn't get in his state side in SA.

    What next? Danish Kaneria playing for England?

  • Comment number 87.

    77. what you are saying is utterly shameful. The England counties have an influx of South African players who are looking to a featherbed which will pay them infinitely better wages than they get in South Africa.

    For me as an England cricket fan, this is a disgrace. The young Pakistani-born lad from Dewsbury who has lived there since he was very small and has played for England under15s doesn't compare with Saffers (and dare one say Aussies) prolonging their ageing careers at our counties' expense.
    The ECB must do something about this very shortly and I am writing to them now on this topic.

    What fools we are putting up with rubbish from other continents, who take full advantage of our generosity.

  • Comment number 88.

    this is about has good has,our summer weather(pretty poor).
    how can pattinson be better then s jones,hoggard(ruff end of the pineapple by the way).

  • Comment number 89.

    MechanicalCogBill please try and refrian from talking absolute rubbish. You say Bell scored 199 last week when the pressure was off. Hmm..interesting definition of no pressure as England had lost 3 wickets for 4 runs and were struggling at 117-3 when he came to the crease. Also, in the Ashes 05 Bell actually batted at No.4, not at No.5 as you stated. Please get your facts straight before you criticise.

  • Comment number 90.

    Is it just me, or is the umpiring in international cricket geting worse and worse? We have the technology to refer decisions (like the Cook dissmisal) so why not use tv replays?

  • Comment number 91.


    we don't have TV replays because of the Vaughan incident. No one can agree regardless of TV.

    I get your point though and why they can't use telly to see if a ball pitched in line I have no idea.

  • Comment number 92.

    Re: Amla's re-instatement

    1) Video evidence can be inconclusive. In Pietersen vs Dhoni it was blatantly obvious the ball bounced. Vaughan's catch was 50:50. Chances are he had his fingers under the ball but we'll never know so anyone claiming emphatically either way needs their heads feeling.

    2) If the SA team can ask for a re-run of the video and 3rd umpire referral for this scenario, why couldn't the England team have sent Alistair Cook back to the middle while video evidence of his "dismissal" was assessed by the 3rd umpire?

    Either we do technology or we don't. Can somebody please make up their minds.

  • Comment number 93.

    The only place where TV would be useful is when it can provide a clear unequivocal answer quickly - hotspot would be a good here as it doesnt take time to bring to the fore, and seems very accurate.

    Personally, I don't like hawkeye. I suspect that it is not as accurate as the hawkers of it would have you believe. Any method that involves extrapolation is questionable in this way - don't believe the hype.

    For me, though, I think the wrong decisions add to the spice rather than detract from the game. It would be quite dull if umpires got everything right ...

  • Comment number 94.

    I'm fairly new to cricket, only been getting into it for the last few years as my father in law is from the West Indies and doesn't like football!!

    I find myself inceasingly supporting anyone other than England as I do in football due to the narrow minded johnny foriegner's a big bad cheat and you wouldn't get an honest Englishman behaving like that attitude displayed by the media. The journalism on a whole is painfully one sided.

    Setting aside the manner in which the Vaughen 'catch' incident was brushed under the carpet I can't help feeling that the reporting of the AB incident wouldn't hve been so disparaging if it had been an Englishman on the end of the catch.

    Pieterson was sent back by the balcony against India and in both cases TV showed that the ball grounded and wasn't taken cleanly.

  • Comment number 95.


    Cook couldn't appeal beacuse the catch in that case was clean. You can't refer whether he touched it or not.

    They're the rules dear boy.

    Oh and Dhoni's clearly bounced did it? Well, I felt Vaughans did. So there's the problem with technology. (Note Mikey Holding didn't think it was a clean catch, Gower did......and so it goes.)

  • Comment number 96.

    I have for some time been surprised at England's acceptance of mediocrity. Ambrose should not be playing test match cricket- his keeping has not been immaculate and his batting is technically flawed. The decision to play him at six following his recent poor form and obvious inadequacies was crass. Prior has been keeping well at Hove this season and averages over 40 in test matches. He should be batting at six for England. Perhaps someone could also explain what Stuart Broad has done to justify his position in the England side and as the media's current darling. He bowls too many loose deliveries, is not quick enough to hurry top international batsmen and does not make the ball deviate consistently. The Aussies must be licking their lips, and as for Pattinson- the mind boggles.

  • Comment number 97.

    i have never heard such rubbish. wrong decisions add to the spice!!! what is the point of PLAYING a game if the decisions of the officials negate the players' efforts??? talk sense!!!!

    i suppose you would be equally sanguine if an umpire's decision robbed your team of winning a cup final ???

  • Comment number 98.

    tanbridgemarkos- Chris Read is the best English keeper, and is as good at batting as any of the other players who have been in the England set up for the last few years (Jones, Prior, Mustard) What people have to realise is that there is a huge difference between county and international cricket.

  • Comment number 99.

    Its simple, we need the referral sytem in, Ambrose, Pattinson OUT, and Tremlett out as No.12. Mustard/Prior in at wicket-keeper, i would say Mustard but i'm a Durham fan so slightly biased :D, S.Jones in for Pattinson and Harmison in at No.12.

  • Comment number 100.


    I think the first and major criteria for playing for a country is to be a citizen of that country.

    You're a citizen of a country by either a) Having one or more British parents. b) Being born in that country (not everywhere, but in England this is valid) c) Being a naturalized citizen.

    To use your example, KP obviously fits the bill. He's half-English as well as half-SA. He's got an English parent, English grandparents, great grand-parents, cousins, uncles and aunts from England just as much as he does from SA.

    The Yorkshire lad can't say the same. He has no historical familial connection to the country.

    The second criteria, for me, for national selection is a desire to play for that country. This is not a technical criteria for selection - that's already seen to by the citizenship requirements I laid out above - this is a common sense criteria.

    You see Andrew Symonds, born in England with an English parent and a British citizen but turned England down in order to play for Australia. Fair enough. KP chose to play for England, is half-English, lives in England and is married to an English woman. Fair enough.

    Pattinson obviously fails this secondary, common sense criteria. He doesn't have any particular desire to play for England (as oppose to anyone else and seemingly way below his desire to play for Australia), he thinks of himself as wholly Australian and makes his life in Australia. That's the reason his possible selection should have been discarded after a second or two's thought.


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