The Sporting Chameleon

an absolute cheesecake of a sports blog

All but Colly wobbled

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HAVING fought so hard to escape with draws at Centurion and Cape Town, it was disappointing to see England collapse so abjectly at Johannasberg.

But that should not detract from what has been a relatively successful tour for England.

Before the series South Africa were the world’s number one ranked team (since dethroned by India) and England have drawn with them on their own patch.

Many teams in many sports get better results than the sum of the parts (Birmingham City are a current example of this in the Premier League), but the England cricket team are both better than the sum of their parts and the sum of their actual results.

It was the same in last summer’s Ashes series when England were victorious, despite making only two centuries to Australia’s eight.

They were outplayed in three of the four tests, but much like they escaped with draws in the first and third tests, they have escaped with a draw in the series.

South Africa have the four best players on either side with Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn and the best sportsman in the world with a pair of moobs – Jacques Kallis.

They also have Morne Morkel, who is the bowler Steve Harmison should be, combining pace and height with control.

Only in their 574/9dec at Durban did England’s batting produce the goods.

Their two best batsmen, Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen, did not score anywhere near the amount of runs expected of them.

In fact all four of the South African born players in England’s top seven – Strauss, Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior – averaged less than 30 for the series, raising suspicions that they are double agents.

Pietersen’s game has gone downhill ever since he began cultivating his David Brent/Rafa Benitezesque goatee beard.

Pietersen should take his beard lead from one of his opposite numbers in South Africa’s batting line-up – beard hero Hashim Amla, who hair-wise seems to have his head on upside down.

Either way England have not been half bad.

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