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Sat Apr 19 11:25:59 SAST 2014

Will Lord's be on SA's side?

Barry Richards | 08 August, 2012 06:490 Comments
MCC World Cricket Committee Press Conference
Barry Richards
Image by: Peter Heeger / Gallo Images/Getty Images

SO WHO goes to Lord's feeling the best? I suspect South Africa, but only just.

There was a lot to like about the Headingley test. It was the positive play, the wicket and the way both teams showed intent.

South Africa will be pleased that Alviro Petersen showed resolve and determination in compiling a test century of high quality.

JP Duminy gave plenty of hope for the future and Imran Tahir did what he was supposed to do: clean up the tail. He does still worry me a little; no-balls and full tosses are too frequent. He must learn to contain some of the top order.

There were times against Kevin Pietersen when the bowlers lost the plot but in the main they did a good job.

Morne Morkel is an enigma. He bowls unplayables but too often the short and wide balls undo a lot of good work. Nevertheless, he is still feared as much as Dale Steyn.

South Africa will have to think a little more if Pietersen is on the charge. He is such an impact player that the Proteas must give consideration to bowling plans, and one of those might be to perhaps use defence as attack by denying him the strike, especially if he is in with a "blocker" like James Taylor.

The only concern is injuries, but Graeme Smith looked comfortable, as did Jacques Kallis.

But Alviro Petersen has a hamstring injury that could be worrisome when running quick singles.

Jacques Rudolph did himself no harm by filling-in in the second innings and showed he is a class act. The question mark for Lord's is if Graeme Swann is back. Rudolph played only three balls in two knocks against Kevin Pietersen's part-time off spin, so how confident will he be against Swann?

What of England? They will be buoyed by a much better performance, but will be concerned how many players got starts without going on.

KP is a supreme talent and reminds me so much of Viv Richards in his pomp. How do you bowl to him?

Plans are just not worth the paper they are written on as he writes his own script. He can score both sides of the wicket and feels nothing about waltzing down the wicket to create his own length.

He puts so much pressure on bowlers. He almost premeditates but is still good enough to realise, when the ball is on its way, that a change is needed.

Bouncing him out will only work on quick wickets and as a surprise weapon. He will be expecting it at Lord's so South Africa must keep him guessing by using it sparingly.

The other batsmen feed off him, so his early dismissal, or, failing that, making him struggle to get momentum is paramount.

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Will Lord's be on SA's side?

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