After having the best of day one of the 1st Test against South Africa, England has received a right mauling at the Oval. The pinnacle for South Africa was when Hashim Amla became the first South African to score a Test triple century.
You haven’t heard from me much lately because I am a busy chap and to be honest, the cricket over the past couple of months has been uninspiring. I do admit that if I was an Englishman, perhaps I would have found it more inspiring but that is arguable. I did draft something after day one of this Test. It had a catchy headline: Cook gives us something to get our teeth into. But the article was all downhill after that and even the author was bored. So I didn’t post it.
Now the situation has changed. It is irresistible. Having been in a position of strength at the end of day one, England was dismissed for 385 on day two. Not a bad score but much less than they would have expected. That was confirmed over the next two and half days as South Africa piled on 637 for the loss of just two wickets. As already mentioned, Amla made 311 not out and was supported by Kallis who made 182 not out in there unbroken partnership of 377 runs. That had followed a partnership 259 runs between Amla and Smith (131).
For England, it must have been like they were playing Australia in disguise. Australia from 1989 of course. Or 1993. Or 1997 or 2001…
England was left with just over 4 session to survive and wouldn’t you know it, Cook served duck for the second course. The alarming match trend of an opener scoring zero continued. Sadly, for England, the inverse trend of the other opener scoring a century did not continue. Strauss managed just 27. England are four down at stumps and looking down the barrel of a humiliating defeat. Whatever happens, it will be humiliating but surviving would be a great consolation.