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Five batsmen not enough for England

Graham Gooch | 19:50 UK time, Monday, 21 July 2008

It was always going to be a tough ask for England today and they probably left themselves too much to do.

South Africa batted well in their first innings - which included brilliant centuries from AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince - a feat none of England's batsmen could manage. More on that later.

In some ways the return of Andrew Fintoff for this Test threw up more questions than answers.

At Lord's England's batting line-up looked solid - they posted a big total and had a great chance of winning.

Here England went with five bowlers to accomodate Freddie, and it meant the batting line-up was unbalanced with Tim Ambrose batting at six, which in my opinion is two places too high for a batsman of his ability.

Tim Ambrose

The result was that England started the match with five specialist batsmen and ultimately they paid for that decision.

Freddie's return is great news for England, but the selectors will have to think carefully about how they approach the next two Tests.

Stuart Broad's impressive second innings knock of 67 showed what was possible batting on this strip at number eight, and his technique compares favourably with that of Tim Ambrose and Flintoff.

There wasn't much in this pitch. On day one the ball did swing but after that the wicket flattened out and it was pretty benign, so England's batsmen would have been disappointed with their performance.

Kevin Pietersen's come in for a spot of criticism - especially regarding his second innings score of 13. As usual he came out blazing and appeared not to bat as the situation required.

Some critics suggested he bats to his reputation and not to what is in front of him.
I wouldn't point the finger at Kevin or blame him for the result - he hit a couple of sparkling shots and was then undone by a good ball from Kallis.

Pietersen's a wonderful player, an entertainer and you just have to accept that sometimes he'll be at his best and sometimes he's going to fail. When the selectors sit down ahead of the next Test at Edgbaston they will not be discussing KP I promise you.

Top of the agenda will be whether to stick with five bowlers or revert to the policy that served them well at Lord's. It has been a problem for a while, especially when Freddie is injured or not in form.

Tim Ambrose's position at wicketkeeper is clearly under threat - he's not a number six batsman although he did show a measure of resolve in his second innings. Essex's James Foster and last year's incumbent Matt Prior are the favourites to replace him.

Prior's been in great form with the bat recently, but the selectors want to maintain consistency and I suspect that could see Ambrose keep his place.

As for the bowling attack, Darren Pattinson could bear the brunt of this defeat. I was suprised as anyone when he was picked, but the main question - aside from qualification - is whether Darren is good enough to be a Test bowler.

He's 30 next month, he doesn't have any tricks up his sleeve like reverse swing or explosive pace, and I suspect if Ryan Sidebottom is fit Darren will be packed off back to Nottinghamshire.


Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I agree, Goochie, four bowlers is the answer. But you've got to pick the right four!

  • Comment number 2.

    Hope you'll be letting us know your player ratings before too long, Graham. They're what I was hoping to catch here this evening.

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree need decent 4 bowlers, Broad is a little to expensive at the moment to be a front line bowler. However given Broads form with the bat and his overall technique, I would try him at 6, the decent scores he has been made have been curtailed by batting with the tail, and I honestly believe he would get a ton quite quickly

    I think this may take the pressure of him with the ball and still have room for 4 bowlers, including Simon Jones and Harmy Sidebottom and Flintoff and Pansar in the squad. But for Edgbaston ambrose and pattinson must go.

  • Comment number 4.

    defiantly 4 bowlers, give Broad a rest bring back Sid, if he is not fit play either Harminson, Jones, Hoggy or Tremlett(who should have played above pattinson). I would like to see what Foster could do with the gloves. And I would like to see a change in the batting order with Vaughan moving down to 5.

    for the next match


  • Comment number 5.

    5 bowlers is OK if you have a No3 and a keeper who can score some runs. If Colly had to go due to poor form then the time must soon be coming for Vaughan to be put out to graze. I'd give him a couple of games down the order to try to get him some runs but if he fails time for a new captain for 2009.

    Broad is looking more and more like an all rounder pick, which will stand him well in one day cricket but can we have both him and Freddie picked as main bowlers? Hopefully yes but Broad needs to take more wickets in the longer term.

    Ambrose showed some fight today but if we need the keeper to be counted as the 6th frontline batter he's not convincing.

    For next game would also give Monty a break and fight fire with fire by recalling Jones............he's got one of the best bowling averages around at present.


  • Comment number 6.

    For Edbaston


  • Comment number 7.

    I feel the comments given by Graham are complacent and benign. Obviously there is not case for a wholesale change but firstly Michael Vaughan’s ability with the bat has to be a serious subject of question as has Kevin Pietersen's attitude in respect of a team game. Simply speaking, the batting performances of Anderson and Broad have put all the recognised batsmen to utter shame. As insisted of the SA team after the first test, the England Team need to up their game considerably to avoid outright humiliation and making sure that ruddy prima donnas don’t mess up it should be part of the team talk. We can do five bowlers if we have five batters, so to speak.

  • Comment number 8.

    Broad is now averaging 41 in tests. Not as dumb as it sounds - bat him at six and take the onus off him getting wickets!! Sid back in for Pattinson. Bear with Ambrose but bat him at 8.

  • Comment number 9.

    Note Sobers started his test career at number 9 and ended up at 4 and later on in his illustrious career at 6. Not suggesting by any stretch Broad is anywhere near the Greatest Cricketer but it just may be we have unearthed a gem of a batsman who can bowl well enough for a 5th bowler. My take we should pursue with Broad and stick him in at 7 for next few tests?

  • Comment number 10.

    ambrose played well today, he was there with flinstones and they both played good. they didn't score many runs, but they were together for over 160 balls, this frustrated smith but it just took 1 mistake by ambrose and styen got him! Every team in the world needs a player like Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

    england ratings

    cook = 5
    strauss = useless and 2
    Vaughan = -10
    pieterson = 2 >>>doesn't have any control
    bell = 3 > makes 1 good score but cant back up
    ambrose= 5, WK was good, but was alright
    flintones= 5, bowling alright, batting decent
    broad= 7
    anderson = 9
    monty= 5
    the new guy = 3, bolwing alright, but whats wrong with not picking hoggard this match,


    england team for next match


    THIS IS A WINNING SIDE, this side can beat every team but apart from INDIA. india is tooooo good

  • Comment number 11.

    Disagree with you on this one Goochie. Englands top 5 had 10 innings and produced a highest score of 60. SA had 6 innings and produced 2 big hundreds. Of those 10 innings by England, 8 times they got into double figures - conversion rate one of the issues. Despite all the concerns about englands bottom 6- scores of 38,36,66*,34,10,13 by the bottom 6 today only highlight the job the top 5 didn't do.

    Another issue out of England's control was the conditions - the overhead ones on the first day and to some extent batting on a wicket (good as it was) past it's best. It was a great toss to win.

    I'm not sure an out of form collingwood would of done any better than Broad. Certainly SA would of scored more than 520 if england had only 4 seamers + collingwood.

    Only change I can see for edgbaston is sidebottom for pattinson. Despite this test, all the top 5 have scored runs this summer, so they'll get another chance...

  • Comment number 12.

    Why is it that England have opted for consistency for the last few matches and then decide because the game at Headingley is totally unpredictable to draft in some totally unknown like Pattinson who a few months ago was wanting to play for Australia having lived there most of his life.

    What sort of message is that to someone like Chris Tremlett who has worked hard on his game and been on the fringe for several seasons.

    Yes we were outplayed by the Sprinboks but yet again the selectors came up short with their choice of a "one match wonder" and undermined the whole team's confidence.

    Stick to the squad is the motto - it works for the Aussies - our guys never seem to get the message though and we have paid the price

  • Comment number 13.

    England need a fighting chance of winning the next 2 Tests so cannot afford to maintain consistent selection of players with Tim Ambrose´s consistently feeble results.
    I can see that Prior is worth a place as a specialist batsman, although his wicket keeping is still not world class, although Chris Read does seem to be in good enough form to deliver for England in the next 2 Tests
    Broad is clearly an allrounder worthy of the no 6 spot , his batting against this world class attack today confirms it.If coach Otis Gibson spends enough time with him he will soon work out a better variety of deliveries so that his Test match bowling will be upto scratch.
    The South African batting lineup is very strong and a 5 man bowling lineup is essential with these long days in the field.
    Unless the next pitch is a spinners paradise, I would select this 5 man attack : Flintoff,Broad,Anderson,Sidebottom and Jones for the next test, and rely on KP to provide spin, with captain Vaughan as backup spinner if really needed.
    This would be a perfect time for Vaughan´s gamy leg to start playing up, so that Collingwood could return as captain, or bring in Shah and make Straus captain -now he was a captain who truly led from the front!

  • Comment number 14.

    Can we agree that 'ask' is a verb, not a noun in (British) English please?

  • Comment number 15.

    i think broad should be dropped, i rate him highly and he is definitely one for the future as a geniune all rounder, but i think he needs a little break. I dont think playing 5 bowlers is the answer, vaughan captained as if he had only 4. Sid should come back as well as colly, to replace pattinson and broad. If its a green wicket i would drop panesar, who had an average game at headingley, and put broad in. this gives four front line seamers and batting down to number 9.

  • Comment number 16.

    England effectively started this came with the following:
    4 specialist batsman
    5 specialist bowlers
    1 wicketkeeper
    1 captain

    How Vaughan's position is not coming under threat is beyond comprehension. As Geoff B stated - he wouldn't even get a game for Yorkshire if all batsmen were fit.

    In the 7 Tests Stuart Broad has played - he has scored about 100 more runs than Vaughan and taken 19 or 20 wickets.

    Final point - take Ambrose out of the equation and you are left with the following facts:

    Runs scored by the five England batsmen = 219
    Runs scored by the five England bowlers = 219!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    Yesterday Gooch indicated England's bowlers aren't good enough to take twenty wickets, now they need 6 batsmen, unfortunately England can't play 12 players, in fact England should be allowed to play 13 players whereas the other team should only have 10 players, simply because England are England and everyone else are simply 2nd class.

    In picking players, I would definitely bring Hoggard back as he will be able to bowl 25 overs per day, Simon Jones must come in to contention as he is simply the best bowler in the country and truly the only player feared by Australia for his bowling (Flintoff is feared as an all-rounder), even if it means only bowling 15 overs/day.

    Flintoff is in competition with Broad for the #7 spot and Swann or Rashid should come in at #8.

    The last slot should probably go to Sidebottom ahead of Harmison as he can bowl more overs and be more consistent if less destructive.

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree, Goochie, four bowlers is the answer. But you've got to pick the right four!

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    I say England convert Broad back to a batsman and use him sparingly as this fifth bowler. He's clearly capable of batting in Tests, I believe his average is currently over 40 and he has three fifties in 11 Tests compared with just one haul of three wickets. He's shown what he can do, with less pressure on him to bowl which seems considerably less natural to him than batting, he could well flourish. Perhaps we could then unearth a Jaques Kallis of our own and once he is settled as a (Test) batsman he can look to become an all-rounder. Who says he has to be a 'perfect' all-rounder?

    As for the batting top order, England had a knee jerk reaction to the 1st Test. Vaughan should have batted again and then the bowlers would have been less tired using the new ball and maybe done a bit better than they did. We may not have won, we certainly didn't by bowling twice in three days, and the bowlers paid the price. South Africa had the psychological advantage going into the second Test. England decided there wasn't enough bowling, sacrificed the batsman and replaced him with a 29 year old 'nothing special' bowler. No blame on Pattinson, however the extra firepower could have done with being missiles not more TA blanks as were already being supplied by Broad.

    But England batted badly 1st innings regardless. Not to make a 50 between them or even a 50 partnership on that pitch was unforgiveable. 2nd innings was a much better total, but still relied on some late order hitting to pass itself off as respectable. The bowlers toiled, but proved quality will win over quantity every time. England already carry Panesar's batting, to carry Pattinson and Broad's lack of serious wicket-taking and a susceptable batting order from 6-11 was too much.

    Maybe England are, or were. guilty of arrrogance. Feeling they could make changes and since Flintoff is the big gun that it could only improve the side. After all they wouldn't be alone in thinking Collingwood wasn't scoring many runs so the batting wasn't being weakened. But it was, Ambrose is no number six and Vaughan has averaged under 25 in his last 15 innings. With KP capable of scoring big runs or quick cameos, Bell looking Hick-esque in his inconsistency and Strauss looking so close to getting back into form before drifting into another 'almost' innings.

    Off the back of a big total 1st Test, England got carried away. The difference between the two sides on 1st innings were basically Pietersen and Bell. And as if by magic the difference this Test was De Villiers and Prince.

    1st Test, 1st innings : England lead 346. KP 152 + Bell 199 = 351

    2nd Test, 1st innings : South Africa lead 319. Prince 149 + De Villiers 174 = 323

    Well blow me, those pairs of centurions scored within five runs of the 1st innings lead between them.

    Maybe if Vaughan hadn't enforced the follow-on England could have kept the same XI for a seventh consecutive Test and things been different. Flintoff bowled tidily enough but without seriously troubling the South Africans with wickets. Despite much hype about his bowling, the Ashes in 2005 remains one of only two series he's taken 20 wickets in - the other being Vaughan's other series to be proud of, the win in South Africa. Besides those two Flintoff has not picked up more than 14 in a series. Hero that he was in the Ashes, Flintoff doesn't take the wickets he should in Tests. His bowling average should be well under 30 not over 30.

    I've never been a big fan of five bowlers theory. West Indies dominated with four, Australia dominated and still do with four main bowlers - even with a phenonemal batsman keeper. When the pitch or conditions help the bowlers, the fifth bowler is not called upon (much) and sometimes only three are needed to bowl the opposition out. When the pitch is much flatter and less responsive, you could have ten bowlers and still make no difference. So five bowlers is good preparation for bowling 100+ overs, if you bowl that many in an innings then you won't win too many Tests.

    Pick your four best bowlers, have a batsman or two who can bowl and pose a wicket threat, and you have a team with enough batting to put runs on the board, and enough bowling to make most of the pitch when it is helpful or keep the innings in check when it's not so helpful.

    Also, It does help to have a balanced batting mentality, maybe England have one or two too many strokeplayers in the line-up and not enough grafters. With Pietersen, Flintoff and Ambrose in the side, plus Vaughan in poor nick, the odds of England successfully batting much more than four sessions were long indeed.

  • Comment number 21.

    "but the selectors want to maintain consistency"

    What flaming good is consistency in the face of outright humiliation?!!

    1. Bowling: We need penetrative bowlers - that is only Jimmy from this match, he was unlucky. As far as bowling goes everyone else should be worrying about their place, except perhaps Monty as this pitch had nothing for him.

    2. Batting: everyone bar Cook and KP should be worried for their place. There has been enough said about the first innings. In the second innings we had to stay in, scoring didn't matter all that much, we didn't - but not only that all the batsmen, except Cook were scoring at a rate of knots. Freddie was supposedly restraining himself but he still scored 38 off 95. Compare this to the slow yet relentless scoring of Amla and Prince. It's a test not twenty20! We need to take our time and not chase balls we don't need too.

    There can be no quibbling if massive changes are made after that dogs dinner. How about:

    1. Cook
    2. Bell
    3. Vaughan
    4. Shah
    5. KP
    6. Freddie
    7. Prior
    8. Broad
    9. Jones
    10. Harmison
    11. Panesar

  • Comment number 22.

    goochie is the best!!!!! COME ON GOOCHIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm surprised Gooch hasn't asked for ten Doeschate (sp???) to be picked.

    Is he any good, is he eligible?

    His averages look great but it could be just lies or damned lies.

  • Comment number 24.

    I can't believe Goochie that you think that Foster is capable of batting at 6 for England. Foster averages 34 in the second division of the championship batting on flat wickets at Chelmsford. Ambrose averages over 100 for Warwickshire this season.

    If they are going to replace Ambrose to balance the side, the only better batsman/keeper playing county cricket is Matt Prior.

  • Comment number 25.

    Personally I think we need to go in with 6 batsmen and 4 strike bowlers.

    If Panesar is not able to take wickets or bowl attacking lines when bowling then his place is under serious threat. If he bowls like he has done in the last match it may be the time to go with Pieterson and hope his sheer force of personality (ego) means he will put the same effort and skill in to his spin bowling as he does his batting.

    l'd go with


  • Comment number 26.


    To suggest dropping Anderson after his heroic efforts with bat and ball in this game is simply outrageous. He has been the most improved player this year for England. If even two or three of the batters had shown the discipline, commitment and sheer heart that Anderson showed, we would have at least put up a fight to save the game. Broad and Cook were outstanding too. The ABC of England, you might say!

    It is the fiasco of England's batting which should be under the spotlight. Over 60% of the runs in that second innings came from batsmen 6-11.

    Vaughan must go: he cannot score a run and his captaincy lacks imagination when things are not going well. Any fool can captain when the batters score 600 and your bowlers take 20 wickets. The test of a captain is to make the right calls when things do not go according to plan.

    It is the height of absurdity to say, as Moores did after the game, that England batted well in the second innings. Cook and the bowlers did!!!

    Clear out Moores and get someone who has played the game at top level.

  • Comment number 27.

    I am surprised by the number of people who feel that Broad should be batting at number 6. As a South African fan, let me give you a warning about that. You may remember Lance Klusener. He was a fantastic hitter of the ball and did an incredible job for us at either 7 or 8. Because he kept getting left with the tail (Symcox, Pollock, Boucher ha, ha), we decided to move him up to 6. This put a huge amount of pressure on him that hadn't existed when he batted lower down the order, and effectively finished him off as an international cricketer. My feeling is that if you elevate Broad to 6 on the basis of recent performances, the same will happen.

    Goochie is spot on when arguing that the England batting line up looked weak. For us, seeing Ambrose at 6 gave us a real lift once we got through Pietersen and Bell - who are England's best players, regardless of the negative comments thrown at them from some quarters today.

  • Comment number 28.

    The best keeper in the country is Chris Read, and though he has made a few howlers at international level with the bat, he is capable and has been a consistant run scorer in the County Championship for the last few years, and we must remember that he was in good form for England before being inexplicably dropped TWICE during the Ashes 06/07 and following ODI series

    My team would be

    Strauss (c)
    Read (wk)

  • Comment number 29.

    "appeared not to bat as the situation required" ... ? So what would he actually have to do NOT to bat as the situation required? Granted, if he'd blazed his way to 180, we would have loved him for it. But his innings was madness. We just needed 2 batsmen to get their heads down and put up a really big partnership, to at least get a chance. None of them could. Or maybe, Steyn, Morkel, Ntini and, er, Kallis really are the new Holding, Marshall, Roberts, and er ... ? Give me a break.

  • Comment number 30.

    The irony of England's batting is that Broad's batting positively was the best method of attack England had. It was appropriate in the second innings and Pietersen was unlucky to get a nick when you consider how many plays and misses the South African's had.

    However it was all an innings too late.

    The application in the first innings was non-existant.

    I would like to see Strauss and Vaughan swap. Strauss has the class to be number 3, whilst Vaughan is a proven number 1. He is a weak link batting atm.

    Bell and Pietersen should, of course, remain.

    Flintoff must resume number six, I don't care how out of form he maybe, he is our allrounder. His confidence will grow being treated as such.

    Keeper position should revert to Prior in England. Not that Ambrose shows much prowess to spinners anyway with his reluctance to stay low.

    Sadly we need to keep Broad as a batsman atm, which is a shame as his bowling sux. We have our Partnership breaker in Flintoff. I would prefer us to bring in Jones or Harmison for those short sharp bursts that are 5 wicket hauls or nothing. It's a gamble with our line-up atm with 2 batsmen friendly wickets 2 come.

    Sidebottom and Anderson are our best bowlers, and Anderson should be pushed up the batting order. He is no Hoggard with the bat.

    And that just leaves the spinner. It's controversial but if a pitch is a seamer like Headingly was why play Panesar??? He offers nothing. He is our best spinner and a cert for the oval in late summer, but in this wet summer why not pick an additional seamer?

    I'll leave it up to you to choose who that seamer should be, but obviously I would pick Simon Jones.

  • Comment number 31.

    Our bowlers just don't look threatening. The combination of Harmy shaking batsmen up and Simon Jones bowling them out is just not there at the moment. I'm not particularly one for looking backwards through rose tinted glasses, but these are guys who are still performing well on the County scene right now and still have class. The new boys don't seem to be at anywhere like the sort of level we need now or, more importantly, next year. Broad gets in, in my opinion, as an all-rounder batting above Freddy at the moment. KP needs a sports psychologist on a man to man basis - full time. we can't afford to waste his talent even if he thinks he can do anything. What we'd give for a wicket-keeper who can bat in the top 5! can't we spend some time on training a good batsman and a decent keeper?

  • Comment number 32.

    Surely Flintoff is a batsman as well as a bowler, likewise Broad. So for the next game just replace Patterson with Sidebottom and thats it. And in the batting line on put Board at 6, Flintoff 7 and Ambrose 8

    So that way we will have 7 good batsmen and 5 decent bowlers

  • Comment number 33.

    yes good call, but aren't we wasting number 8 with a keeper who can't bat? there must be a better option, particularly with the Ashes in mind?

  • Comment number 34.

    What continued nonsense from Graham Gooch. South Africa have wicket keeper batsmen who averages 30 in test cricket and he has played 116 games for his country! Ambrose keeping is far superior to Prior's - selecting him would cost us more in runs through dropped catches and byes!! and Foster..... good keeper yes, batsmen I think not.

    The emergence of Broad as a quality allrounder should allow a fight for 6th spot between him, Ambrose and Fred, and if the top 5 batsmen can't get enough runs then they need to be looked at. We didn't lose this much because of poor batting - our inept bowling was to blame - bring back Simon Jones!

  • Comment number 35.

    what a shambles, perhaps the selectors should now hold there hands up and say "we got it wrong" our attack is so weak that they managed nearly 600 on a pitch we stuggled to get 300. Maybe now they will change this precious top 5 which has had a fair crack for. For me, the performance was that bad that id make 4 changes, obviously if sidey is fit he comes back for pattinson, id let cook go back to essex and get some form and have a break from the international scene and let Vaughan open , where he has had most of his success and bring in shah. Ambrose had gotta go, we need a keeper who can bat 6 and clearly this guy is a number 8 at best, so for me one of prior, foster or the forgotten man geraint jones and finally simon jones has got to be i the squad at least for the next test, for edgbaston:

    simon jones

  • Comment number 36.

    I really fail to see why people keep putting Panesar in their teams. He is NOT a good bowler.

    When the ball is not spinning as much he actually bowls faster. The two things that spinners do which gets wickets is turn, bounce and flight. At Lords I was disgusted with his effort as he kept bowling flatter and faster as the innings progressed. This should be obvious to a village cricketer - we had the runs to play with, he needed to toss it up, try to beat them in the flight and give the ball a chance to bounce and turn. But no. And Vaughan should take a lot of blame for not making him do this.

    For a spinner to be not only ineffective but entirely unthreatening on a 5th day wicket is criminal. And shows he is not a good bowler.

    And then to pick him for Headingley where it doesn't spin. Madness.

  • Comment number 37.

    I think England need to face the facts.

    Flintoff and Broad don't take enough wickets, and Vaughan dosen't make enough runs.

    For all Freddie pace and beating of the bat how many wickets does he actually take. He's living off 2005 and until he becomes a top quality number 6, or takes regular five fer's he'll never be a great. You can't be a test player on your catching ability!!!

    Broad has bags of talent, but he dosen't take enough wickets. He and Freddie can't play in the same team. Broad can bat though, as he is showing, and he seems to have a gfood tempremant.

    Vaughan is not the player he was when made captain, and hasn't been for a long while. You can't be in a test team just because you're a good captain. You should pick the best team and the select the most suitable captain from those eleven. Vaughan dosen't make it I'm afraid.

    Oh and as an aside, when will the TMS team stop telling us how unlucky Anderson, Flintoff and co are. It's funny how the better you are the more luck you get. (Anderson has bowled well by the way and was the one real threat for England in this test match.)

  • Comment number 38.


    Totally agree with you re: Ambrose and Pattinson. I would really not want to go back to Matthew Iron Gloves Prior as he is not of a high enough quality behind the wicket to justify his place. James Foster, as I have said for a while now, should really be given a chance after a good schooling at county level and some previous test match experience. Catches win matches, and with South Africa's batting giving few chances as it is, we cannot afford any to be grassed. A quality keeper sets the tone for the side's fielding. Foster is just that.

    Darren Pattinson's selection had me spitting chips as here was a brilliant opportunity to bolster the bowling with not only Flintoff but one of Hoggard, Harmison, Jones or Tremlett, all of whom are in excellent form currently. He will go but in some ways I would like to see the opportunity to bring in one of those, ideally Simon Jones, taken at Edgbaston. Sidebottom should tour in the winter but for now needs to rest his back.

    On a positive note, I'm sure you appreciated Anderson's guts and Broad's fluency against Steyn et al today. And Cook's 50, although you would probably add he should have made that 150.


  • Comment number 39.

    Broad has been downright impressive this year. I've had a play with Cricinfo's Statsguru (mainly because I wanted to see if it was at all feasible for Broad to get 1000 runs in a calendar year. Conclusion - he'd need one or two big hundreds). Since the start of 2008, the England batsmen/allrounders have performed as follows (ranked by average):

    KP: 655 runs at 50.38, HS 152 (and 2 wkts at 42.00)
    Bell: 529 runs at 48.09, HS 199
    Strauss: 611 runs at 47.00, HS 177
    Broad: 369 runs at 46.12, HS 76 (and 18 wkts at 46.83)
    Cook: 446 runs at 34.30, HS 61
    Collingwood: 283 runs at 28.30, HS 66 (and 5 wkts at 37.40) (NB :1 fewer Test than the others)
    Ambrose: 326 runs at 27.16, HS 102
    Vaughan: 346 runs at 26.61, HS 107

    Broad does look the part of a Test-class batsman. A young one, to be sure, but a promising one who seems to rise to challenges.

    Just out of curiosity, I looked at Flintoff's stats for his last 7 Tests (same number as Broad's this year):
    310 runs at 23.84, HS 89 (and 16 wkts at 40.50).

  • Comment number 40.

    Lets be honest unless there are favourable conditions Anderson and Sidebottom are not going to bowl out any decent international team. Broad just is not there yet he is not quick enough and does not swing the ball, yes he is tall and yes he can bat a bit. The much heralded return of Freddy just did not happen for him (I found it bizarre that people would consider that he would have made the difference at Lords, remember Sri Lanka?). I think Freddy has what it takes to take wickets in a partnership with another dangerous bowler, however alone he loses potency as patient batsmen just don’t take him on, and wait for him to tire.

    Harmy and Jones are the only 2 England bowlers that have had the real X-Factor in the last few years. Flintoff is an excellent foil for these two. I also like Tremlett as he is big and fast (a real 90mph man). I see 4 quicks as the way forward. Freddy, Harmy, Jones and Tremlett, lets blast them out! Monty and Sidebottom could be included if Prior bats at six and the location and conditions suggest that they will be of use. Else choose the best gloveman (Read or Foster) and go with 4 bowlers.

    For the future, England need to select a capable batsman (probably a slip fielder) and develop him as a gloveman. For example I would say that Colly or even Belly (I know they are not real slippers) could have been excellent keepers if pushed and nurtured. I would like to see players like Shah and Solanki (maybe not quite good enough just as batsmen) pushing to keep wicket (for their counties) and get into the England side as a batsman/keepers.

    Strauss and or Vaughan have to go. You can carry one of these half-players, but not both. I suggest the ejection of Strauss (unless he can keep! Joke) and Vaughan to open. We get the right and left hand combination at the top this way. If Vaughan is dropped then make Pieterson the joint Test and ODI captain.

    So team is:-

    Vaughan (c)

  • Comment number 41.

    DIC you need to get your facts straight, none more so than your comment “Bell looking Hick-esque in his inconsistency”

    Ian Bell 41 tests - 8 hundreds and 18 50’s.
    G.Hick 65 tests - 6 hundreds and 18 50’s

    Hick may never have lived up to his full potential, but his record still stacks up against the vast majority of test batsmen, but Bell’s record of 2 scores of at least 50 in every 3 tests makes him one of the most consistent test batsmen in history. He has more scores of 50 plus than KP from the same number of tests.

    When you consider that ¼ of all his tests have been played against an outstanding Australia attack it is an even more remarkable record

  • Comment number 42.


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Broad's amin job as a bowler? He's scored two fifties in this series yet England are 1 down. He needs to take wickets!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    P.S. Enough suggestions about picking a bowler (Broad) as a batsman.

  • Comment number 44.

    should read 1/4 of all his tests (quarter).

    The text did strange things when it
    up loaded

  • Comment number 45.

    If Vaughan plays as a batsmen can we take him to court for breaching the trade descriptions regulations? Seriously does he contribute anything that he couldnt do whilst ferrying the drinks around? I think he's had his day and its tim a new test captain was appointed.

  • Comment number 46.

    So what "positives" did Peter Moores and team England take from this disaster of a test match?

  • Comment number 47.

    Monty's the best we've got - good or bad. I agree to pick him on a non-turning wicket is mad, but he has won some matches for us so I think you're a bit extreme to call him no good. So who have we got? KP - yes. Bell? - I'd say yes. Strauss? - maybe. Broad? - I'd say yes. Monty? given a turner, yes. Freddie? The opposition say yes which makes me suspicious, but probably yes. Keeper? not Ambrose, but who? Sidebottom? most would say yes but I'm not certain. are you? is he really world class? Cook? not convinced but who else? Broad? - yes but for his batting not his bowling (go figure!) Anderson? not world class in my opinion, but best we can manage? have we got anything to compare with:

    flintoff (in form)


    Can't think of a number 8 for that list! Help. but the point is, have we? a comparison for that grouping? we need one if we are going to win the ashes next year. GSD

  • Comment number 48.

    For me the issue is not having 5 specialist batsmen. I don't want to harp on about it, but we won the 2005 Ashes with just 5 specialist batsmen.

    For me the big issue is temprament and patience. England's batsmen seem far too intent on chucking away good starts. Chasing wide ones and the like. South Africa have demonstrated quite clearly during the course of their last two innings that you don't need to swing for everything. If the ball isn't going on to hit the stumps then leave it. Vaughan used to be a good leaver of the ball. So too was Strauss. But comparing and contrasting our top 6 with the SA top 6, it doesn't seem like they know where their off-peg and are content at having a slash at everything. Pietersen's dismisals in this match are prime examples - and unlike you Goochie, I do not believe the ball from Kallis was that good but instead was standard stuff from him - but Pietersen is far from being alone in this crime.

    So I'd stick with the same basic formula. 5 Batsmen can work, but they have to be prepared to work hard. Put a high price on their wickets, adopt a Boycott-like over-my-dead-body approach and make the SA's toil away for two days if necessary. It might not be pretty, but if it is effective then who cares? This ins't a tickling competition; we have test matches to win!

    My squad for Edgbaston:

    (3 of) SP Jones, Broad, Sidebottom, Panesar

    I know previously I berated Prior as being a bit useless behind the timbers, but even I cannot argue against the case he is building on the county circuit. Really in form with the bat and from all accounts, his 'keeping has been tidy too.

    An arguement could be made for resting Broad at Edgbaston, but I'm not sure that I would. I would also suspect that Sidbottom would have recovered from his back problems so I expect him to come back. For me, Panesar of late hasn't been hugely ineffective and, dare I say it, one dimensional. We saw at Old Trafford against New Zealand that when the wicket wasn't turning, Panesar couldn't buy a wicket (1 for 111 from 22 overs). How much turn will the Edgbaston track take? If the answer is "not much" then I would go for an all seam attack of Jones, Sidebottom, Anderson, Flintoff and Broad. Pietersen and Vaughan could bowl a few overs of spin (and Bell could have a trundle) to rest the quicks if necessary, but I'm really keen to see Jones in action again as he's incisive and can get the older ball to do swing.

  • Comment number 49.

    I also agree that we have to get Simon Jones back into the side. He's apparently back to fitness and form and carving up the batsmen in the second division at a strike rate around 30. that's what we need - a true strike bowler.

    Suggested team:

    Cook or Vaughan
    Vaughan or Collingwood
    Ambrose or Foster

    I'd like to get Sidebottom in there as well. If it's not at all spin friendly, then swap him in for Panesar (and get KP practising his (fairly good) off-spinners.

    Anderson's improvement with the ball (the ratio of times Good Jimmy turns up against the times that Bad Jimmy turns up is constantly improving) has been noticeable and he's really knuckled down with the bat to try to grab the nightwatchman role.

    I'd keep with Ambrose a bit longer because the constant chopping and changing is unhelpful - but if he does get the boot, Foster has to have his opportunity.

    Both Cook and Vaughan have real class, but Vaughan's run of bad form is truly worrying - possibly he'd do better in his old role as an opener (so Cook's position would be the one under threat). Collingwood is a gritty fighter, which we often need, and his bowling can be helpful.

    Flintoff has held down the number 6 slot before and having him up there gives him the chance to come good - he's got a big match temperemant. I do see Broad having the potential to hold that position in the future, but as Africanprotea says above, it would be wise not to throw him under too much batting pressure too soon.

  • Comment number 50.

    All this stuff about boy wonder Broad is rubbish. He is an ordinary bowler who simply hasnt proved himself to be otherwise.
    So he's an allrounder is he? But we already have an allrounder, his name is Flintoff!!
    Send him back to his county so he can learn how to bowl.

  • Comment number 51.

    I disagree I think england were unlucky with the ball in the first innings there were many play and misses from the saffers during the innings and if a few things went our way we may not lost by ten wickets-that aside englands bowling attack has been rather feeble-ive never seen test matches where England take only one wicket for an entire day and thats happened in consecutive matches! We need to bolster the bowling attack so that we can apply pressure at both ends South Africas scoring rate has been rather slow in this series there batsmen are very patient and pick the bad ball with ease i think england need a 5 man attack with possibly monty stepping aside! Prior should come into the side to bolster the batting!


  • Comment number 52.


    I agree completely about the keeper situation. We need to develop Bell in the position. Or send Collingwood away to keeper's school, so we have a convincing test-match grinding keeper/batsman at 6 - with Flintoff at 7.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think that five bowlers is crucial with our current England team because we do not want to overload the likes of flintoff causing injury. And also because between two the 1st and 2nd test/3rd and 4th tests there is only a three day break.
    Although the selectors really need to be more consistent when they make decisions, not wild ones like picking ambrose over mustard in the one day side against New Zealand and of course the decision to bring in pattinson over tremlett. I know they were wanting a swing bowler so why didn't they just choose hoggard or jones who is very good at reverse swing.
    But that's in the past Geoff Miller and co. really need to make the right selecting decisions for the Edgbaston Test. This is the team I would pick:


    In my opinion anderson deserves to bat at 9 because of his performance in this test match and to make him Englands regular nightwatchman even if hoogard comes back in to the side. And I think Ambrose has had his time to impress for England which has been very disapointing apart from the century he made in New Zealand. If Sidebottom is fit put him in for pattinson because i think he is just another one test wonder. But if he isn't put jones in because i think he's ready because his bowling figures are exceptional for worcestershire and I agree with what he says that he thinks he is as good as he was in 2005 when we won the ashes.
    And finally i think vaughan's runs will come just like kallis' runs will come but in my opinion if england loses this series he should lose his captaincy to either pietersen, strauss or cook, even if he scores many runs in these final two tests. But if he doesn't i think he should be kept in the team because when he became captain for England he was the world's best batsman. And I think he became that good because he did not have the burden of being captain Nassa Hussain did.

  • Comment number 54.

    Kapil_Devil - yep, Broad's main job is as a bowler. And yes - he's been expensive and not garnered a hatful of wickets - yet. He's had some catches drop and edges fall short and with a slight amount more luck could have had 25-30 wickets by now.
    He's also often described as a very intelligent bowler.

    In those last seven Tests, he's got more wickets than Flintoff in Flintoff's last seven Tests. Yes, he could have started better - at the moment he has only done as well in wicket taking terms as Glenn McGrath did in his comparable early Tests...

    I'd say he's worth sticking with. He seems to have the "Big Match temperament" and he's always improving.

  • Comment number 55.

    I think Broad deserves a rest, and he needs to find either (a) an extra yard's pace, (b) the ability to swing it around corners, or, and most likely, (c) McGrath-esque, pinpoint accuracy. Then his bowling would live up to his fantastic lower-order batting. His knock today was genuine heroism, but he looks tired, and needs some time out of test cricket. I thought Hoggard was unlucky to miss out on this test, especially on his home ground, where England ended up really lacking a truly dependable, economic bowler. He deserves a run-out on the swing bowler's ground that is Edgbaston, even if it's just to have a fitting swansong. If Strauss was unfortunate in this test, Vaughan, KP and Fred all need to get their heads down and get what Boycott would describe as "proper runs".

    Anderson (deserves promotion for his gutsy innings)

  • Comment number 56.


    Re Broad, fair enough, stick with him, but his batting stats should be a bonus, not what everyone is talking about!!!

    As for luck, blah, blah, blah, like I said earlier luck only plays a small part. If you have world class players it's funny how lucky they get. Would England have taken 8 SA wickets today, with that bowling attack. Or would they have been 'unlucky' again.

    As for mentioning McGrath in realtion to anything to do with this bowling attack, well.........

    Re Flintoff, you'll see from my earlier post that all my critisims of Broad's bowling apply to Flintoff as well. He dosen't take enough wickets. Still, I guess he's just really unlucky.

  • Comment number 57.

    Spot on Kapil. Broad is in there to take wickets, he is not doing that fullstop.
    There are better bowlers than him and better batsmen. Where does he fit in?

  • Comment number 58.

    Too many of these fantasy teams putting Bell at #3; we've tried it before and it did not work. But I can't see that parachuting Shah straight into #3 is any good either - I like him as a cricketer, but I just don't see him as a world class Test #3.

    But who else is there? Who's our Ponting/Dravid/Jayawardene? Vaughan's the only one with the remotest claim of the experience and history of success there. KP or Strauss are probably next in line, but most of their success has come in the positions they're already in. You can shuffle the others around as much as you like, but you're making compromises whichever way you do it.

    I'm not sure there's room in the team for both Broad and Collingwood - Broad may be there for his bowling, but lately he's looked less like a specialist bowler, and more like an all-rounder who could develop into a very useful no 6 - after the fashion of Andrew Symonds: 5th bowler and aggressive, gutsy batsman.

    My ideal team, current form notwithstanding, would be:

    Monty/Jones/Harmison - depending on conditions

    I do agree with the earlier comment about needing a coach with international success as a player. Some more aggressive, dynamic tactics instead of this "stick to the plan no matter how obvious it is it isn't working" rubbish. The captain and players need to be able to think for themselves and pose the kind of consistent threat you associate with Australia and the Saffers. We're very good when conditions favour us, but once other teams get a foothold, England appear to freeze in terror.

    Let's sack the entire backroom staff and bring Gough in as coach.

  • Comment number 59.

    Sorry Mr Gooch, I must disagree. To win a test match you need a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets and without the opposition ammassing 500+ in one innings - something England have struggled to do in recent times except against NZ.

    The return of Freddie and the emergence of Broad is great news for England as it means the team can play 5 bowlers and bat down to no. 8. Consider the last ashes where we had 4 bowlers and could only bat down to 7!

    A great positive to take from this game is the batting of England's lower order which further supports the arguement for 5 bowlers.

    Wholesale change would be a knee-jerk reaction to one bad test. Sidebottom back for Pattinson obviously and bring in a different wicky for the struggling Amrose if a better wicky/batsman exists in England. Oh why did Russell and Stuart have to clash careers? We would be made up with either right now!

  • Comment number 60.

    When we have 4 bowlers at Lords everyone shouts we need 5 bowlers, we need Freddy!

    Now everyone starts to say that we now need 6 batsmen. Add the wicket keeper and the sums dont add up.

    Only the best sides in history have been able to afford the luxury of five bowlers and win consistently, and that isnt the current England side.

    As hard as it why dont people face facts, we dont have five quality bowlers, we dont even have four. What we have is some decent bowlers who arent going to win us every match and who arent going to bowl out good batting sides on good batting pitches. I have alot of time for Sidders, Anderson, Monty and the others, in the right conditions they can bowl out sides but they are not the Windies of the eighties, or the Aussies of the nineties. Get over it.

    Similarily we dont have Adam Gilchrist, and Alec Stewart is long gone. Im sick of the selectors and commentators see sawing over the batting/glove skill. Im amazed anyone would willingly keep wicket for England considering the intense scrutiny placed on them.

    England went into this match with a fragile top six, Vaughans a shadow of his former self (despite a ground out ton against NZ), and Ambrose is in the side to keep wicket not bat at 6. To make matters worse we chose two all rounders in Freddy and Broad (Broad is not a strike bowler, and that has been obvious for some time), its effectively a one trick line-up that if it fails first time round is incapable of saving a match.

    Four strike bowlers:

    Tremlett/Jones depending on fitness

    Find a true grinder to cement the batting, all the best sides have had one,

    Make a decision over the keeping and keep a true gloveman, if he gets runs good, if not live with it.

    Unless we find a keeper that can bat I dont see any room for Freddy, his batting has always been iffy and his bowling hostile but never destructive enought to warrant a place in a 4 man attack. Please no more mentioning of 2005!

  • Comment number 61.

    er.. I meant to put Shah at 5 instead of Bell.

  • Comment number 62.


    Luck plays a small part - over a large enough sample. With a small sample (such as early on in a bowler's career), the "bad luck" ones can easily overwhelm the figures. In the longer run, luck does even out, of course - for every dropped catch or edge that falls short, there will be a fluky wicket off of a dog of a ball.

    If McGrath's 19 wickets at 43.68 in his first 8 Tests are irrelevant, then so be it. Should he have been dropped by the Aussies at that point as obviously not a wicket-taker at Test level? :)

  • Comment number 63.

    I am always perplexed by England supporters. We beat New Zealand, so they are obviously rubbish. We lose against South Africa, who are better than us, and we are rubbish.

    Surely people should get some enjoyment from the game itself? In the first test we were ahead for 3 days, and a passive pitch, good batting and tired bowlers all contributed, but it was a good even contest.

    Here, we batted poorly, were unlucky bowling, against a side that batted wisely and then failed to apply ourselves in the 2nd innings. However, we are not down and out. We have to face facts that we don't have a huge pool of brilliant players waiting in the wings.

    I hope we come back in the next test, to make it a good series. Cricket is such a game of psychology that we could win, even though we don't have as much talent on paper.

    We can't pretend that we were a more skilled team than the Aussies in 2005, but we won because of determination and all round team performances, and because we annoyed the hell out of them.

    I was amazed by Broad's batting today, just some beautiful and dismissive shots. He and Cook are 2 England players that could be great (Pietersen could be great, but he will never apply himself), if given the perserverence and respect.

    Anyway, Test cricket is a wonderful thing, such a myriad of possibilities and I thank god that I have a brain to appreciate it. I hope that in the future 20/20 will go off in a rugby league style and be its own sport with its own players, and leave cricket to people that like it.

  • Comment number 64.

    I'd consider having Matt Prior in the team but only as a specialist batsmen, the guy really isn't up to international keeping apart from maybe 20/20 and the whole world knows it,
    Id love to see Chris Read back but it won't happen so I'd go for mustard as at least he settled into the one day team ok. Also when is Shah going to be given a chance!

  • Comment number 65.


    Your suggestion is crazy, putting batting before the wicket keeping position! Wicket keeping is a huge part the game, how many times do you see dropped catches and keeping errors (Geraint Jones) cost huge runs and games? Putting just anyone behind the stumps is a crazy suggestion, and is more likely to loose you more games then one person scoring no runs!

  • Comment number 66.

    We didn't win the first test because we couldn't get twenty wickets and so we went with five bowlers and still struggled to bowl South Africa out.

    We can't then complain that now we have a bad batting performance we now need six batsmen. The reason we lost the second test was not because we missed Collingwood's 7 runs!

    With Freddie in the side instead of Collingwood we are more threatening with the ball and have a little more batting.

    The reasons we lost the second test are varied, but I'll give you three Strauss, Vaughn and Ambrose are all seriously limited batsmen and need replacing. Pattinson is not a test match standard bowler and third South Africa are just a plain better team than England.

  • Comment number 67.

    Two comments: the bottom 5 batsmen made more than the top 6; could the BBC commentators regularly say more about the state of the wicket? This would be a help for those from abroad who read your sage comments

  • Comment number 68.

    You know, the problems start at the top and the more is see of Peter Moores the more he reminds me of Steve McClaren.

    Oh, and the more I see of KP and Freddie the more they remind me of David Beckham, (and I don't mean ability wise.)

    I don't know if you heard Boycs story about Brian Close today but that's what you need in the England dreeing room. A senoir pro who isn't afraid to tell these 'stars' when they've been prats.

    Geoff should have a senoir role close to the team and not just as a batting coach. He may be a bit full of himself but he's been there and done it. Neither would he be afraid to ruffle a few feathers.

    English cricket needs a reality check, quickly.

  • Comment number 69.


    At last someone can see sense! Pick Read, not only is he the best keeper but his batting since he last played for England has got much better, he can't do any worse then any of the recent keepers to play for England.

  • Comment number 70.

    Take issue slightly with the criticism of Strauss, he was desperately unlucky twice in this game. He is the only England batsman with the ability to bat time, and he just got a real gem in the second innings that he could do very little without. Vaughan is becoming a worry, I'd agree, but you can't by any stretch of the imagination describe him as a "limited" batsman. When he gets going, he's better even than KP. Ambrose and Pattinson have gotta go though. Roll on Prior and Hoggy!

  • Comment number 71.

    It is a difficult situation for England. They have to score 400 runs in their first innings and get twenty wickets in a test match. Both of these cannot occur currently at the same time. If England want to win, then they need five bowlers and Ambrose needs to go. I think Foster should come in because he is a better gloveman. With regards Vaughan, there are two questions: is there a better captain available and is there an obvious batting replacement. The answer to both questions is no, and once he is stripped of the captaincy it is virtually impossible to come back. New Zealand found that out with Fleming recently.

  • Comment number 72.

    65: Freddie Flinstone

    I know my suggestion is crazy .... but what a bonus in any Test side's top 6 to have a convincing wicket-keeping batsman.. the luxury of playing 5 bowlers. Think Alex Stewart, the extreme example of Adam Gilchrist, what a fine player Mark Boucher has been for the Boks. We don't have anything remotely close.

    on a lighter note ....

    68: Kapil_Devil
    Boycs story today about Brian Close waiting at the top of the stairs. Steam coming out of his ears, a bunch of fives waiting for the dismissed batsman (was it Padgett?). Going round the back, cadging a fag before having to face the wrath of Captain Close. Absolute classic, had me in stitches ......

  • Comment number 73.

    Team should be
    Pietersen (c)

    I agree with others who believe that Vaughan must go. Pietersen is the one quality batsman whose position is solid within the team. Despite his ego he is greatly respected within the dressing room and I believe would make a great captain. With sidebottom back and fred in the team the side has enough firepower to take twenty wickets. Ambrose deserves a longer chance, his keeping has been pretty solid (unlike Prior) and his batting is unquestionably better than Foster. Broad should be kept at 8 where he has had success (like Gilchrist 7 for Australia). I also think that Shah and Bopara deserve runs in the team for their quality performances for their respective counties over the last couple of seasons. Vaughan's majesty is too rare and Strauss is not a good long term choice

  • Comment number 74.

    Monty's return on paper at Headingley is quite good (10 wks in 3 test). He took 6 wickets against Pakistan which was heralded as quite a feat on an unhelpful pitch. Fair enough pitches haven't been that helpful so far this series but as someone said on the TMS box its unlikely Vettori would have finished Lord's Test wicketless, add onto that the fact the SA aren't exactly known for their playing of spin bowling and that he's a rabbit with the bat and the case for his inclusion is pretty thin until he regains some form

  • Comment number 75.

    From the original blog entry:

    "Top of the agenda will be whether to stick with five bowlers or revert to the policy that served them well at Lord's."

    Oh yes, I remember that policy. It was the one that only managed three wickets in the last two days of the test.

    Last week everyone was arguing for a five-man attack, now the momentum has gone back towards a four-man attack because having five didn't work.

    Michael Vaughan said that the inclusion of an extra bowler had weakened the batting. I completely disagree with him - Flintoff came in for Collingwood and scored more runs in each innings than Collingwood has in quite a while. Besides, having five bowlers should not stop Cook, Strauss, Vaughan, Bell, Pietersen from scoring heavily; indeed it places more responsibility on them to play sensibly and not get out foolishly as nearly all of them did.

    The criticism of Darren Pattinson is misplaced. He was the only player to take a wicket on day two, and the first to take one on day three. England went a long time without a bowler other than Pattinson taking a wicket.

    He came into the side, was asked to do a job, and he did it. His batting for the tenth wicket partnership with Stuart Broad showed a bit of patience and stubbornness that many of England's top order lacked. He doesn't have the class to be a Test bowler, but that is the selectors' problem, not his.

  • Comment number 76.

    My England Team for the 3rd test:

    Strauss (c)
    Prior (wk)
    S Jones

    In other words drop Vaughan - he is quality, but needs to get some runs in County Cricket. As a replacment I would consider Rob Key, who's an excellent captain, and always performs well with the bat in all forms of the game (including Test Cricket when he was unlucky to get a run in the side), but Collingwood just gets the nod. Pattinson's inclusion was a joke, and didn't work, and Simon Jones is performing brilliantly for Worcs (he can swing it FAST both ways, with new or old ball). Definitely get rid of Ambrose - Prior is batting far better and will improve his glovework with practice

  • Comment number 77.

    Going in with four bowlers when one of them is a guy who missed 18 months of Test cricket with ankle problems is very risky. In Flintoff gets injured, you're then down to Anderson, Sidebottom (if fit) and Panesar.

    I've said this before on these forums and I will say it again: England's batting has been the problem for years and still is. The best sides become the best through their batsmen scoring heavily and regularly. South Africa in the past had a better seam attack than the one on display but they didn't have six batsmen who could score consistently. It didn't matter that they had Pollock, De Villiers, Donald, Macmillian, Matthews, someone unusual like Brett Schultz etc because they didn't have sufficient class in their top six to make the runs when needed, as typified by the batting record of the captian in those days, Hansie Cronje. For all his leadership qualities, an overall average of 36 with the bat is poor.

    So the South Africa side of today aren't as good with the ball but they have batting depth. Of the top six, only Kallis is out of form. Given his record over the last few years, he's been due a drop in form but he makes up for it by taking a few wickets. Smith has a fine record despite looking ugly with the bat, Mackenzie has come back in great fashion, Prince is assured, Amla ha simproved massively, Kallis has proven he's top quality, de Villiers is up there, Boucher's no mug with the bat... they're a very powerful unit. When you have guys who can score runs, you can get away with a bowling attack that isn't top notch.

    This is where England differ. Even during the Ashes in 2005, we rarely won games thorugh our batting. We're a side who very rarely bat the opposition out of the game. Our bowlers won us the Ashes in 2005. Our bowlers got us out of the mire agianst New Zealand in the winter. Our bowlers toiled manfully against Sri Lanka only to see the batsmen flump. It's ludicrous seeing Stuart Broad play with such freedom when the top order folded so meekly today.

    I believe England need five bowlers. For Edgbaston, we need one of Harmison and/or Simon Jones back. They are the two quickest guys about who are in good form and we need someone different. Sidebottom will hopefully be back fit and replacing Pattinson. People have called for the head of Strauss which is absurd given his batting in the last Tets in NZ and against NZ last series. Similarly with KP.. that's the mark of genius. He can entertain and infuriate in equal measures.

    I can never figure out why people think that it will only take four bowlers to bowl a side out yet it'll take six out and out batsmen in order for England to score good runs. So let's go for five out and out batsmen, Flintoff doing bat and ball duties, Matt Prior to come right back in, and an England pace attack with some new edge to it.

    Simon Jones

  • Comment number 78.

    #74 - Your point is invalid.

    Panesar didn't finish wicketless...

    Overs 29.2
    Maidens 6
    Runs 65
    Wickets 3

    They are the most respectable figures of all the bowlers on a pitch with nothing for a spinner,

  • Comment number 79.

    AB de Villiers made a sublime hundred yesterday and took an outstanding catch today. But everyone will only ever remember him as a cheat.

  • Comment number 80.

    The fact is that we all knew that Ambrose should not be batting at 6. Why then did the selectors send him out there at 6 when it was known he was a test 8? Why is Vaughan given special treatment despite many failures, with his last ton against a weak New Zealand attack? Why has Prior been kept in the cold despite three division one championship tons and one day runs? Why is Bell not made to play more domestic cricket because his 199 was made on a very docile bitch and surely is not a good barometer of his true value in the side?

    Perhaps keeping Broad in to bat at 8 is wise at the moment, helping to consolidate the batting.
    We'll then be able to see at the end of the summer how his bowling has progressed.

    Vaughan needs to be sacked now to give maximum time until the next Ashes for a new skipper to come in and take control of the team.

    It is clear we need 5 bowlers to try and take 20 wickets and hence the need for 2 of them to at least be able to ake test 50's to try and get a score of 400 plus.

    Team for next test:

    Key? Shah?
    Key? Shah? Bell?

    Flintoff - pace
    Anderson/Sidebottom - swing
    Broad - seam bowler
    Panesar - makes a balanced attack with left arm spin.

    A balanced side looking to the future...

  • Comment number 81.

    Sorry, was referring to 2nd innings of Lord's test when I said he finished wicketless. However Morkel, Harris and Ntini who he dismissed in this test don't exactly represent the cream of the SA batting line up.

  • Comment number 82.

    Totally agree with #77 about England rarely batting sides out of the game. Most often we find ourselves behind on points at the end of day 3 but then go on to play our best cricket on days 4 and 5 of a test and take command then. Not such a great strategy against SA who are too good a team for that and won't let us off the hook like NZ did.

  • Comment number 83.

    "The result was that England started the match with five specialist batsmen and ultimately they paid for that decision." How can the Five batsmen decision be the cause of the defeat? The top five had 2 innings each = 10 innings, of which only one reached 50! On a pitch on which the SAfricans scored 500+! So who was this sixth batsman who would have made all the difference? Oh.... I know..... Collingwood.

  • Comment number 84.

    thunderwhct no. 80
    THAT is exactly the team I would have. For your batsmen, Key and Bell. Captain? Strauss.

  • Comment number 85.

    understandably broad needs to perform with the ball as well as the bat but i can't see how there is any debate that broad should be given the chance to bat in flintoff's old position of 6. broad then has a chance to do some proper batting with england's upper order. broad can then be used as an all rounder in regards to bowling and not as primerily a bowler and he can really start to fufill the potential he has.

  • Comment number 86.

    In all honesty today was a shambles. I do believe that all the batsmen should be placed in a room, on their own, with the great geoffrey Boycott. England need to be patient and see off the two days by only playing the necessary balls and occasionaly playing the odd half volley or bad ball. They did not do this and they paid the price for it. This was the main reason for defeat.

    However, what cannot be avoided is the balance of the team. We need to look back at our ashes winning team.
    5 quality test batsmen
    1 all rounder
    1 wicket keeper who can bat a bit
    4 quality bowlers

    to me the team needed for the next test is

    1, Strauss
    2, Cook
    3, vaughan (give him time)
    4, Kp
    5, Bell
    6, Flintoff
    7, Broad
    8. Read
    9, Sidebottom
    10, Anderson
    11, Monty

    Read is a decent no 8 who can post decent 50's and is undoubtedly the best keeper in the land

    the only problem is jones, he is a fantastic bowler and deserves a place in any side, for me he would replace either broad or anderson or sidebottom

  • Comment number 87.

    I would call up a squad of say 14/15 so we can have a proper try out in the nets and see who comes out on top.

    Im all for Jones coming back into the side but can we get away with him bowling 5 over spells if we are fielding for 2 days again?

    Also the balls that are being used this season are pretty crap and havent been swinging as much as before, they also loose shape pretty fast. Would this mean that Jones wouldnt be as effective?

    some big decisions are going to have to be made.

  • Comment number 88.

    Why not convert Collingwood to WK. In the past when this has been suggested, the concern was we would lose his talents in the field. Well, we've lost them already and you cannot tell me that his fielding skills would not allow him to at leat make a half decent WK, certainly on a par with what we currently have.
    It would be a win win situation, the middle order would have that gritty batsman so clearly missing today.
    Also, I might be wrong but wasn't Stewart a convert. It's worth a bash, what have we got to lose?

  • Comment number 89.

    I think the overall review of the test here was quite correct. However all the Criticism that Vaughn has come in for may be a little harsh lets not forget he captained us to ashes victory he's batting may not be at its prime at the moment but have we got a better captain? collingwood cant get in the test team and the ODI team isnt winning anything. Vaughn has to stay but maybe dop down to 5 as suggested. Ambrose should never have been selected in the first place Foster is playing amazing this year at essex but doesnt seem to get any recognition from the selectors. Equally Shah seems to have been overlooked rather than playing 5 bowlers (if you can call Pattinson a test bowler) play shah at 6 meaning there are 6 specialist batsmen hopefully eaualling to a decent score.
    In the bowling department Harmison and Hoggy have had their chance (although Hoggys withdrawl was unfair) Simon Jones has been ripping through attacks this year surely warranting selection primarily for the lack of pace and menace we have at the moment. Panesar has done nothing in the last few games and if we havent got a spinner doin much why not jsut leave it to the part timers and seemers. I mean Michael Clarke and Symonds arent to bad for Australia now are they?
    Team for edbaston should be as follows:

    Pieterson (part time spin)
    Vaughn (part time spin)
    although if we cant decide who the goloves whould go to then why not let Cooky have them stick an extra batsman in and a make do keeper who can catch. (not advised but eliminates the problem of keeper and this is how we found the one and only alec Stewart)

  • Comment number 90.


  • Comment number 91.

    Graham Gooch suggesting an Essex player........ what a surprise.

    James Foster whilst an excellent keeper is absolutely pants with the bat and has done nothing on flat Essex wickets for the past 3 seasons.

    To suggest his name is utter utter utter rubbish.

    Gooch get a grip and give the man is possesion some support. Failing that suggest a realistic replacement and not your man who has done nothing, I repeat nothing to merit a recall.


  • Comment number 92.

    meant to be:

  • Comment number 93.

    oh... and of course KP

  • Comment number 94.

    We need to drop Cook and Strauss.

    They just don't score enough big hundreds.

    Bring in Horton and move Broad up to open.

  • Comment number 95.

    Broad shows too much promise to be dropped.

    I think we will have to bring Prior in for Ambrose. The latter's batting is not strong enough and we will have to trust to luck that Prior can hold on to a few more. However, it occurs to me that the selectors have gotten themselves into a mess that might never have happened at all had they stuck with Geraint Jones - a better keeper than Prior, and a better batsman than Ambrose.

    Pattinson, of course, goes out. Sidebottom will probably come back in if fit, though personally I would take a gamble on Simon Jones. Harmison is a tempter, but he doesn't tour and I therefore think he must be forgotten.

  • Comment number 96.

    Five batsmen will never be enough if they don't turn up! I can't for the life of me see what is wrong with five batsmen if, in addition, we have a reasonably competent WK-batsman and Freddie and Broad are doing enough with the ball to merit their continued inclusion, because they can be very useful with the willow. Looks pretty good to me!

    The problem, of course is that we don't have five consistently good front-line batsmen -- we are very far from that -- and we are still missing a home-grown Gilchrist, or someone just half as good.

    Gentlemen, it is the bowlers who are doing England proud, over and over again, and the batsmen who are throwing away the fruits of their labours.

    I hate to keep harking back to the 2005 Ashes team, but one has to has some kind of model not too distant in time. It was a model that worked rather well against an Aussie team at its best. We had five batsmen, Geraint Jones and five bowlers. Only Tresco is missing from the five man batting line-up, obviously a very big absence. Of the other batsmen, only Bell is currently doing much better than he did then. Strauss - who formed such a potent opening partnership with Tresco, one of the most exciting and inspiring things I have seen in English cricket over the last years - is not a shadow of the man he was then. Vaughan was having trouble with the bat even then, but still managed to conjure up the occasional big innings. The success of that team did a lot of good to his stature as captain, which he is still dining out on, though, as he confessed at the time, he was not the only man responsible. Duncan Fletcher had a lot do do with it, too.

    There is not much more to say about the WK-batsman, except that he did a pretty good job, with bat and gloves, and his successors have only very occasionally come up to the same standard.

    Then we had five bowlers, which I have always argued for. We were lucky that four of them were at the very top of their game and had a secret weapon that, although not entirely new, the eternal enemy did not, reverse swing. It is difficult to overestimate its effect on that series.

    The most effective reverse-swingers, Simon Jones and, some way behind hiim, Freddie, have not played any sort of role in the team since then. Fortunately, none of our recent opponents have been able to have been able to develop the skill , so it doesn't matter too much that it is only Anderson, among our current bowlers, that has.

    What lesson should we take from the fact that the remnants of the 2005 "dream-team" are doing such a poor job? It is easy to argue that we have lost, probably for ever, that extraordinary four-man seam attack. It really was very special. But you only have to look at what happened that year to see that, when England took to the field, they usually had a big total behind them, often racked up at such a speed that it gave England a huge psychological advantage.

    Our current bowling line-up is not all that impressive but I would argue that it is not the real problem. You can't expect our bowlers to defend such pathetic totals as that in the recent test: 203!! Vaughan knows that that was rubbish and said as much.

    I think I have gone on too much. I hope the selectors, in their upcoming meeting spend very much more time than I have debating what most of us consider a genuine crisis. If their jobs are not on the line, they certainly should be.

  • Comment number 97.

    Why don't the selectors sit down at the start of a series and select 16 or 20 players to form "a squad".
    This squad should consist of the following.
    1. The 11 most selected players from the previous series (unless there was someone injured or "has to be dropped, then you would move down 1".
    2. 9 players picked by "last 10, 4 day game stats" from county cricket. This should be 4 batsmen, 4 bowlers, 1 wicketkeeper.

    This would ensure.
    1. Competition for places, sadly lacking in this central contract rubbish.
    2. Give an impetus to the players at County level to up their standards.
    3. If the "dropped" players are so good and don't deserve to be dropped, they will be back for the next series or the one after that, as we now play 3 or 4 series a year.

  • Comment number 98.

    penny's worth

    1 cook
    2 bell
    3 shah
    4 kp
    5 strauss c
    6 bopara
    7 broad
    8 prior w
    9 flintoff
    10 anderson
    11 tremlett

    i think the top 5 are the best 5 english batsmen. one of them is a better spinner than we give him credit for. 6 and 7 are batting and bowling all-rounders, exciting young players who have proven they can bat to the situation. 8 is the best batting wicket keeper in the country and he's in form. 9 is the strike bowler who bats a bit. 10 and 11 are the opening bowlers.

    whoever has the balls to drop the spinner will win the next game i reckon.

  • Comment number 99.

    after that miserable defeat changes need to be made!! england are vastly hyped up but beating a below avg new zealand side isnt that great an achievement! up against a decent south africa side england have been outplayed in all departments!!
    I think vaughn has been very poor of late but should move to open the batting wher he has been best.
    bringing back simon jones is a risk as he is prone to injury but a risk that should be taken. there doesnt seem to be any fire in the bowling attack. all bowlers can definitely do a job but i dont think the opposition fear any!!!
    owais shah has been very consistent with hs batting an should definitely be given a chance..

    My 11 would be...

    s jones

  • Comment number 100.

    the simple answer is englands bowling attack is lacking a strike bowler which is needed in tremlett/harmison/jones to be able to bowl quality sides out.

    Monty needs to develop more variation to succeed on better batting strips as when its not turning he is ordinary.

    If jones is in the team as part of a 5 man attack you don't need a spinner as the ball will still be swinging at 60 overs


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