BUMBLE IN THE TEST: England No.3 Ollie Pope has found the perfect balance of always looking to score but knowing when to defend… but it’s so clear that Zak Crawley needs time away from the Test side
England delivered a game after tea on day two at Lord’s but still trail by 124 runs in the first Test against South Africa.
The hosts reached a paltry first innings total of 165 in the morning session and the Proteas raced towards that score, led by Sarel Erwee who was eventually run out on 73.
His wicket was one of three taken by England skipper Ben Stokes, who sought to limit damage in the evening session.
Sportsmail’s DAVID LLOYD picks out his talks from the day.
Ben Stokes attempted injury limitation in the evening session on day two of the first Test
SOUTH AFRICA MAKES LIFE DIFFICULT
This was a classic case of stick them in, bowl them out and then watch the pitch flatten out. It annoyed me when people said England was ruthless. They weren’t. They were dismissed by top quality South African bowling.
There was a definite change in conditions at Lord’s and England had to work much harder for wickets. But they got their rewards after tea…
POPE BLESSING ENGLAND
Ollie Pope settles down nicely at three o’clock. He played responsibly as wickets fell around him and it comes down to a developing sound technique.
Ollie Pope has found the perfect balance of always trying to score but knowing when to defend
The key is that Pope was always looking to score, but he knew when to defend. It’s the perfect balance.
TIME IS GOOD FOR ZAK
Which brings me to Zak Crawley. It is so clear that he needs time away from the Test side to return to Kent, but there certainly would be no first-class cricket in mid-August for him to play. This is what Sir Andrew Strauss’ review needs to sort out….
It is so clear that Zak Crawley needs time away from the Test side after another poor display
AN OFFER IMPOSSIBLE TO ACCEPT
A word about my bell ringing supremo Romford Kenny. He has just returned from the Driffield Steam Engine and Traction Rally where he was an enthusiastic exhibitor.
He came back in his West Ham shorts and a waistcoat covered in oil and soot and all sorts of muck. He wants to know if I want to go to the next one with him – In Truro! I declined…
HARD ON HARMER?
Simon Harmer has been a king pin in county cricket for Essex and I was surprised he wasn’t in this side in South Africa.
Essex’s Simon Harmer has been a stalwart in county cricket but was not selected by the Proteas
They obviously still see Keshav Maharaj as their main spinner, but Harmer has been taking wickets for fun in England for a few years now and I reckon they’re missing a trick. Old Trafford will spin next week in the second Test. But will Harmer play?
STARS NEED PLAYING TIME
Robert Palmer sang it – looking for clues. Since the last Test, Matt Potts has only played one Championship match and a couple of white-ball matches. And both Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have not played at all. That can’t be right.
There is just no preparation for a test. It beggars belief that they haven’t had any match practice in mid-August because of the structure. More thought provoking for Strauss….
Matt Potts has only played one Championship game since the last Test – that can’t be right
STOKES THINKS OF THE BEETS
There are times when you need a wicket when you just have to go unorthodox and have a look. And that’s what Ben Stokes did when he edged it to Sarel Erwee and had him caught by Ben Foakes.
Then England got the ball changed and Stokes followed it up by catching Rassie van der Dussen. Two great thoughts to make things happen…