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Edward Craig: South Africa v England – the beautiful bore

December 16th, 2009 by Edward Craig in England, South Africa, Test cricket

One thing about South Africa-England Test series that everyone forgets: despite the great anticipation, despite wanting to beat them more than any other nation except Australia, the series are often very boring.

And this isn’t a bad thing.

England-South Africa series have produced some of the most memorable Tests and Test-match moments in the last 20 years: Donald v Atherton; Hoggard at Joburg; Smith at Edgbaston (twice); Paul Adams and more.

But, as a spectator, these moments have been hard earned. Think back to the moments of drudgery that we’ve had to wade through to reach such zeniths: South Africans bowling wide of off stump for hours with a 7-2 off-side field; Gary Kirsten’s double-hundreds; some of Jacques Kallis more inhibited innings; Craig Matthews.

And England aren’t exactly free of these sins, particularly against the South Africans – Nasser Hussain and Mike Atherton have ground out turgid hundreds; Ashley Giles …

But this is the point of Test cricket. It is these moments of shade that create the thrilling moments of light. And looking at the selection for the first Test – lots of batting, not much bowling – expect more of the same.

So as Ashwell Prince grinds his way through four sessions to a 300-ball 80, don’t give up – a batting collapse, a bouncer blitz or a boundary bonanza is just round the corner.

Edward Craig is deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer

You can find him on Twitter @wisdencric_ed

Posted in England, South Africa, Test cricket | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Edward Craig: South Africa v England – the beautiful bore”

  1.   Neal Collins says:

    Bore War at Centurion right now, 11 runs in 10 overs before lunch. South Africans are by their nature tedious beings but this Friedel de Wet takes the biscuit!

  2.   Vim says:

    So is it not the Indians that are killing test cricket? Is it the Saffers?

    It certainly isn’t the Aussies. Mitchell Johnson is our gift to fast starts in test cricket.

  3.   Taylor Chris says:

    It’s Twenty20 that was killing it - but not any more - now the Indians have realised they’re quite good at Test cricket.

    Now Test cricket is killing Twenty20.

    Something exciting will happen in this SA-Eng series eventually - it always does.

  4.   Paddy Briggs says:

    For a while Test cricket did seem to have changed - led, of course, by the attacking Aussies. England caught the mood from time to time - as with Day One at Edgbaston in 2005. But the current Test at Centurion is an old fashioned one - not unlike the Tests I saw as a youngster in the 1960s.

    But all is not lost. Chris Gayle’s 102 off 72 balls was something else!

  5.   Mike says:

    I was just thinking earlier today how boring the england vs sa series is then happened to stumble across this page.

    it’s not only the plays which seem to be more boring than a regular test - the commentators are silent only to pipe out a comment once every 2 minutes and the crowds are virtually empty.

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