South Africa vs. England 1st Test – Lords

Yesterday many would have never believed the test would start on time. A months worth of rain fell in parts of England Yesterday, the rain didn’t abate until late in the night. However this morning the sun greeted those that woke up early, although there are some clouds about.

England have named an unchanged side, consisting of: 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Andrew Strauss, 3 Michael Vaughan (capt), 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Paul Collingwood, 7 Tim Ambrose (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Ryan Sidebottom, 10 Monty Panesar, 11 James Anderson. This side has set a world record in that it has been unchanged side for the sixth successive match.

South Africa have delayed naming their side until the start, leaving the choice of whether to field Paul Harris or a 4th seamer as a mystery to England. The possible side is: 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Neil McKenzie, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 Ashwell Prince, 6 AB de Villiers, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Morne Morkel, 9 Paul Harris, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Makhaya Ntini

The players to watch out for in this series from South Africa are: Morne Morkel and Hashim Amla. South Africa have now got a settled pace attack with Ntini and Steyn being key performers and they are expected to be dangerous, however Morkel is a an unknown entity. Recently back from injury, a solid performance with the ball and possibly the bat could be the extra gear South Africa needs. On the batting side, Smith Mckenzie, Kallis, De Villiers and Prince have all contributed this summer as has Amla, however Amla has shown some fantastic warm up match form,  scoring 172 and 161 which has sent out a strong message to the English that he means business. If he can continue this run of form, South Africa will be very difficult to beat. However if he fails, South Africa could be in trouble as McKenzie and Smith could be in trouble early and the last thing SA needs is to be 30/2 in the first test.

England’s players to watch will be James Anderson  and Ian Bell. South Africa have come out and said they will be targeting Bell and Collingwood who have had a poor run recently. Bell needs to perform and if Anderson can produce some of the glimpses of form shown this season, he could help rip through the South African batting. I don’t think Sidebottom is good enough to tear apart the South African attack and he might get punished by Smith if he is not accurate.

The match should set off an absolute corker of a series in which South Africa will be looking for their first win on English turf since re-admission in 2002

Dale Steyn Cleans up SA Cricket Awards

Some big names below – interestingly Wendell Bossenger who used to play provincial cricket has won the amateur prize and Chad Baxter who also appeared for Boland won the student cricketer prize. Congrats to everyone and the season ahead promises to bring the hidden talent in SA to the fore. There are many players plying their trade in the county cricket circuit with Morkel and Pollock smashing 50 odd in under balls to secure victory for Durham.

Wayne Parnell is a player to watch in the future

The full list of award winners:

AMATEUR AWARDS:

PG Bison U15 Player of the Tournament: Johann van der Merwe (Gauteng)

U17 Player of the Tournament: Bokang Mosena (Free State)

Coca-Cola Khaya Majola U19 Player of the Tournament: Wayne Parnell (Eastern Province)

CSA U19 Cricketer of the Year: Wayne Parnell (Eastern Province)

Student Cricketer of the Year: Chad Baxter (NMMU/Eastern Province)

Club Championships Player of the Tournament: Nathan Arthur (Burma Lads/Griqualand West)

Rural Cricketer of the Year: Jaco O’Kelly (Gauteng)

Deaf Cricketer of the Year: Stephen Lombard (Northerns)

Intellectually Impaired Cricketer of the Year: Lee Benting (Boland)

SAA Provincial Amateur Cricketer of the Year: Wendell Bossenger (Griqualand West)

CSA Women’s Cricketer of the Year: Cri-Zelda Brits (North West)

Khaya Majola Amateur Cricket Award: Nathan Arthur (Burma Lads/Griqualand West)

Bakers’ Mini Cricket Administrator of the Year: Helene van der Riet (Griqualand West)

PROFESSIONAL AWARDS

Mutual & Federal Coach of the Year: Corrie van Zyl (Gestetner Diamond Eagles)

Mutual & Federal Scorers Association of the Year: Gauteng

Mutual & Federal Umpire of the Year: Brian Jerling

DOMESTIC Saca Most Valuable Player: Johann Louw (Nashua Dolphins)

MTN Domestic Championship Cricketer of the Year: Juan Theron (Chevrolet Warriors)

Standard Bank Pro20 Cricketer of the Year: Charl Langeveldt (Nashua Cape Cobras)

SuperSport Series Cricketer of the Year: Monde Zondeki (Nashua Cape Cobras)

Domestic Newcomer of the Year: Roelof van der Merwe (Nashua Titans)

Domestic Players’ Player of the year: Dillon du Preez (Gestetner Diamond Eagles)

SA INTERNATIONALStandard Bank ODI Cricketer of the Year: Graeme Smith

Standard Bank International Pro20 Cricketer of the Year: Albie Morkel

Castle Test Cricketer of the Year: Dale Steyn

SA Players’ Player of the Year: Dale Steyn

SuperSport Fans Cricketer of the Year: Dale Steyn

Mutual & Federal SA Cricketer of the Year: Dale Steyn

England Chase 294 after Panesar picks up 6-37

Monty Panesar has brought England back into the game by picking up 6-37 in the second innings. England require a further 218 runs with 9 wickets in hand. The weather is horrible around the UK and may prolong the result. There are still two days left for England to make a remarkable comebnack and win the test chasing 294 for victory – it would be the most successful chase at Old Trafford.

New Zealand have Ross Taylor’s 154 not out helped set up a massive total of 381 in the first innings. England could only manage 202 in reply. As mentioned it was Monty Panesar that has helped England have a sniff in this game. Strangely 4 out of the 6 were LBW decisions – most of them looked like good decisions as seen above.

Prediction? ? New Zealand have plenty on the board and with Vettori getting a five wickets in the first and Panesar 6 wickets in the second innings the pitch looks like it will do too much for England to pull off an incredible win.