The difference is clearly in the captaincy. Andrew Strauss encourages his men to express themselves and has been able to have men of such diverse temperaments as Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook hold hands and play nice in a lion-hearted cause. He is a courageous man himself. Graeme Smith, by comparison, is dour and nervous of extending the long list of broken South African promises. He manages his bowlers with an eye to defence and bats the same way.
|Prior provided most of the tail's runs|
There was sporadic resistance after that, led by the wonderfully adventurous Matt Prior, who provided the most attractive batting of the innings in his brisk half century with the tail. Tim Bresnan helped him add 29 before cutting an ordinary ball from Tahir back onto his leg stump and Stuart Broad added another 45 with the keeper batsman in just nine overs before Vernon Philander hit his off bail. Morne Morkel returned and knocked over Prior and James Anderson in five deliveries, one driving, one bounced and both providing catches to AB de Villiers. Mark Boucher's replacement held five catches for the innings and Morkel took four wickets.
385 was a long way short of what England may have expected last night, especially as there are no terrors in this pitch as yet. The nature of the English dismissals in the first half of the day made it clear that application will equal occupation.
|Jimmy Anderson struck early|
|Graeme Smith crawled to 37x|
Rain came and went a few times during the day, with time marching on in inactivity after both major scheduled breaks. Twenty overs were lost but the forecast looks healthier than it has for most of the English summer and the players should be the only thing which influence the result now. For all the discussion of a pitch which will break up, it still looks like a section of the Eyre Highway, out past the Nullarbor Roadhouse.
Let's see what food South Africa brings to the table tomorrow even though England have the only Cook.