England captain Joe Root(REUTERS)
England captain Joe Root(REUTERS)

England seek South African cure for travel sickness

England, until the second and final match of their losing Test series in New Zealand, had not managed the benchmark total of 400 in the first innings of a Test anywhere since 2017.
By AFP | London
UPDATED ON DEC 16, 2019 12:29 PM IST

How do England score enough runs and take 20 wickets a match to be a competitive Test side away from home? These are the stark questions confronting Joe Root’s men ahead of a four-Test tour of South Africa. While England are buoyed at home by the comforts of the Dukes ball and conditions that often assist quick bowlers, a combination of the far less bowler-friendly Kookaburra ball and flatter pitches they often encounter overseas has made them far less of a threat.

Significantly, in the broadly similar conditions of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, England have bowled out their opponents twice on only three occasions in 21 Tests during the past six years.

The only two wins came in South Africa during the 2015/16 tour.

But while teams must take 20 wickets to win a Test, they also need their batsmen to score sufficient runs.

England, until the second and final match of their losing Test series in New Zealand, had not managed the benchmark total of 400 in the first innings of a Test anywhere since 2017.

County Championship cricket is often blamed for England’s Test failings, as is the recent emphasis on the one-day game, with a domestic schedule where first-class matches are pushed to the extremes of the season meaning players no longer get much experience of the kinds of pitches they often encounter overseas.

But the much-maligned Championship provided the springboard for Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne to enjoy both a successful Ashes campaign in England and Test success on home soil too after the Glamorgan batsman became the first player in this season’s edition to score 1,000 runs.

Following the retirement of Andrew Strauss seven years ago that saw the end of his successful partnership with Alastair Cook, England have struggled to field a reliable first-wicket duo.

Current opener Rory Burns has walked out to bat with five different partners in a Test career barely a year old.

The latest is Dominic Sibley whose maiden Test campaign in New Zealand saw him average a meagre 12.66 in three innings during a 1-0 series loss.

But the drawn second Test in Hamilton did see Root make 226 and Burns 101 -- the first time England have had two century-makers in the first innings since September 2018.

Questions were being asked about whether captaincy was diminishing Root’s effectiveness as a batsman given that prior to that Test his average had dropped to 39.70 compared to 52.70 before he became skipper.

- Archer workload -

His tactics were queried during England’s innings and 65-run defeat in the first Test, with genuine quick Jofra Archer, still a Test novice, bowling a marathon 42 overs in an innings defeat.

Archer finished the series with just two wickets at an average of over a hundred but suffered from several dropped chances, the worst coming when Joe Denly floored an utter dolly of a midwicket catch to reprieve New Zealand captain Kane Williamson during the second Test.

The return from a calf injury of James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, should bolster the attack but at 37 the paceman’s remaining time at the top is limited while longstanding new-ball partner Stuart Broad is 33.

As if that were not enough to be worrying about, England also have concerns over spin bowling -- Moeen Ali is continuing to take a break from Test cricket and England dropped left-armer Jack Leach for the second Test in New Zealand -- and wicket-keeping, with the recalled Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler vying for the gloves while the highly regarded Ben Foakes is not even in the squad.

The administrative chaos in Cricket South Africa that has seen chief executive Thabang Maroe suspended and calls for the the board to resign prompted former England captain Mike Atherton to suggest this month that there had “never been a better time to play” the Proteas since their readmission in 1992.

But that was before former South Africa captain Graeme Smith and wicketkeeper Mark Boucher were appointed interim cricket director and head coach respectively and the hosts may now feel there’s never been a better time to play England.

England arrive in South Africa on Monday and start their tour with a match against a SA Invitation XI in Benoni on Tuesday.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Mumbai captain Shreyas Iyer in action. (Twitter)
Mumbai captain Shreyas Iyer in action. (Twitter)

Vijay Hazare Trophy: Mumbai continue dominant show, beat Rajasthan

PTI, Jaipur
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 07:01 PM IST
  • This was Mumbai's fourth successive win, having earlier defeated Delhi, Maharashtra and Puducherry.
Close
Indian bowler R Ashwin reacts.(PTI)
Indian bowler R Ashwin reacts.(PTI)

Have utmost respect for Yuvi paa: Ashwin on Yuvraj’s tweet

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:41 PM IST
India vs England: India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was asked about the explanation of his recent tweets in the virtual press-conference, and in his response, he said that he did not find anything wrong in Yuvraj's tweet.
Close
Prerak Mankad celebrates his century. (BCCI)
Prerak Mankad celebrates his century. (BCCI)

Vijay Hazare Trophy: Prerak Mankad slams 174 as Saurashtra thrash Chandigarh

PTI, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:39 PM IST
  • Mankad, 26, plundered six sixes and 16 fours in his knock from 130 balls to propel Saurashtra to a massive 388 for 7.
Close
File photo of Australia head coach Justin Langer(REUTERS)
File photo of Australia head coach Justin Langer(REUTERS)

Langer said media leaks on coaching style 'was pretty rough' on his family

UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:15 PM IST
Opening up about the media leaks regarding his coaching style, Australia's Justin Langer said the controversy was hard on his family.
Close
Darren Gough feels England will find it tough to come back in the final Test. (Getty Images)
Darren Gough feels England will find it tough to come back in the final Test. (Getty Images)

The mentality of this Indian team is like Australia in the 90s: Darren Gough

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 06:41 PM IST
  • India vs England: As far as India’s performance goes, Gough sees a lot of the mighty Australia that dominated cricket in the late 90s and 2000s in the current Indian team and its thought process.
Close
NFormer Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar.(Getty Images)
NFormer Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar.(Getty Images)

'Some extreme criticism not really fair,' Gavaskar weighs in on pitch debate

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 05:00 PM IST
India vs England: On being asked about the criticism of the pitch, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said that some of the "extreme criticism" of the pitch is not "really fair"
Close
**EDS: TWITTER IMAGE POSTED BY @pib on MONDAY, FEB. 22., 2021** Ahmedabad: View of worlds largest cricket stadium, the Motera Stadium, ahead of its inauguration on Feb. 24, in Ahmedabad. (PTI Photo)(PTI02_22_2021_000246B)(PTI)
**EDS: TWITTER IMAGE POSTED BY @pib on MONDAY, FEB. 22., 2021** Ahmedabad: View of worlds largest cricket stadium, the Motera Stadium, ahead of its inauguration on Feb. 24, in Ahmedabad. (PTI Photo)(PTI02_22_2021_000246B)(PTI)

Motera may escape ICC 'Red Eye' as 4th Test pitch promises to be batting beauty

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:39 PM IST
India vs England: Also the BCCI bigwigs along with the team management understands the fact that another dust bowl won't augur well for the new venue which is expected to host a lot of important matches during IPL as well as ICC T20 World Cup.
Close
Sachin Tendulkar (L) and Virender Sehwag during last year's Road Safety World Series.(Twitter)
Sachin Tendulkar (L) and Virender Sehwag during last year's Road Safety World Series.(Twitter)

Road Safety World Series: India name star-studded squad, Sachin-Sehwag to open

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:17 PM IST
India Legends will play their first match against Bangladesh Legends on March 5 and Sri Lanka Legends start their campaign against West Indies Legends on March 6.
Close
New Zealand's James Neesham, left, and Martin Guptill celebrate the wicket of Australia's Matthew Wade.(AP)
New Zealand's James Neesham, left, and Martin Guptill celebrate the wicket of Australia's Matthew Wade.(AP)

NZ vs Aus: Third and fourth T20I to be played behind closed doors

ANI, Wellington
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:14 PM IST
The first and second T20I between New Zealand Women (White Ferns) and England Women will also be played behind closed doors following the change to New Zealand's alert levels with an eye on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Close
Harbhajan Singh. (Getty Images)
Harbhajan Singh. (Getty Images)

'I'll call him a legend when I meet him next': Harbhajan lauds India bowler

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:12 PM IST
  • India vs England: Harbhajan Singh did not hold back his praise for the India bowler and his contribution towards the Indian team over the years.
Close
File image of Ian Chappell.(File)
File image of Ian Chappell.(File)

Who can replace Finch as Australia T20 captain? Chappell names 3 picks

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 03:28 PM IST
Speaking in a recent interaction, Australia cricket legend Ian Chappell named his picks of players who can take over the captaincy role from Finch.
Close
Umar Akmal. (Getty Images)
Umar Akmal. (Getty Images)

'Didn't report spot-fixing approach as I thought it won't remain confidential'

PTI, Karachi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 03:07 PM IST
  • Akmal was initially banned for three years from all cricket activities on February 20 last year for not reporting approaches made to him for spot-fixing in the Pakistan Super League.
Close
Indian Women's cricket team captain Harmanpreet Kaur speaks to the huddle(PTI)
Indian Women's cricket team captain Harmanpreet Kaur speaks to the huddle(PTI)

BCCI announces India women's ODI and T20I squads for South Africa series

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:37 PM IST
The five ODIs and three T20Is between India and South Africa will mark the return of women’s cricket in India after a long gap due to Covid-19.
Close
File image of Sachin Tendulkar. (Getty Images)
File image of Sachin Tendulkar. (Getty Images)

'They were either bowled or LBW': Sachin's praise for 'brilliant' India bowler

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:18 PM IST
  • Indian spinners combined to pick up 19 wickets against England in the third Test in Ahmedabad.
Close
Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah will not be available for selection for fourth Test against England(PTI)
Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah will not be available for selection for fourth Test against England(PTI)

Bumrah released from India squad on personal request ahead of 4th Test

PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 01:18 PM IST
Jasprit Bumrah requested the BCCI to be released on personal grounds and the board obliged. The BCCI further added that there will be no replacement for Bumrah in the India Test squad for the series decider against England in Motera.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP