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    Just catching up with TSR after a busy weekend.

    What an innings from Stokes. The man was astonishing. I am absolutely stunned by that performance. What a knock. He and Bairstow performed so well, and I'm so glad after Root was out cheaply and all the England players failed to convert their half-centuries into tons the day before.

    I think Hales and Compton are really, really promising. I know they've got their flaws, and Bayliss wants two of the top three to be attacking (with Cook the staple conservative presence, presumably), but I love watching them play and it's hard to see a better a batting line-up in the world right now.

    As for Stokes...just take a bow. Is that the highest partnership by two gingers ever, by the way? Haha. Stokes is already just one five-wicket haul shy of Flintoff, by the way.

    I love our bowling line-up right now, and the attack (Finn is supreme right now, and Broad is at the height of his powers, with Anderson as great as ever) easily trumps that of 2005.

    What a time to be an England fan, lads.
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    It's a shame someone of Stokes' explosive and entertaining style won't be wider known to the public that Flintoff was able to do in the last terrestrial TV deal but if he keeps on batting like that, unlike Joe Root who somehow didn't make the BBC SPOTY shortlist, Stokes definitely will! Good to see Amla hit 50, his first in 11 innings - all of SA's hopes rest on him and ABDV.
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    (Original post by Aky786UK)
    It's a shame someone of Stokes' explosive and entertaining style won't be wider known to the public that Flintoff was able to do in the last terrestrial TV deal but if he keeps on batting like that, unlike Joe Root who somehow didn't make the BBC SPOTY shortlist, Stokes definitely will! Good to see Amla hit 50, his first in 11 innings - all of SA's hopes rest on him and ABDV.
    Exactly. I was saying this earlier. You'd imagine, if he continues this brilliance all year, he'd be a shoe-in for the top three on BBC SPOTY. Let's hope that the BBC's usual dismissal of cricket as a worthy sport doesn't continue.

    Amla batted extremely well, but his captaincy is in its latter stages. Something needs to be done. His decision making yesterday, allowing Stokes to play himself in at the crease after giving the new ball to the debutant rather than Morkel, was extremely questionable.
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    "Cookie [captain Alastair Cook] sent a message out when we were 600, saying: '630 or do you want to go on for 300?'"I said it doesn't really matter because I'm just trying to hit every ball for six anyway."

    Great quote.
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    SA didn't manage a single hundred partnership throughout the whole of 2015, and ended the year with just one victory from eight Tests. That's just a horrendous, horrendous statistic for the world's supposed number one side.

    I can't see them beating England all series, to be honest, especially if the visitors manage to bowl well tomorrow and get early wickets.
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    Think it's easy to go over the top with South Africa's plight. That no century partnership stat being thrown around doesn't mention that they scored 400+ at the start of the year. And of the other seven one was rained off so it's really six. And they rested de Villiers in Bangladesh. Obviously the 4 tests in India was a calamity and it has left some mental scars, but a year of test cricket for South Africa is about half of a year of test cricket for England. Context is important.

    If they can get 3 of Steyn, Morkel, Philander and Rabada on the field, and if de Villiers and Amla play themselves into some form, it's a different equation. They look a broken side at the moment, but if they do find a way to get ahead in a test we're an inexperienced/inconsistent team and that brings vulnerabilities.

    Seems wrong to make a post today without mentioning Ben Stokes though. ****ing hero.
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    (Original post by Louis.)
    Think it's easy to go over the top with South Africa's plight. That no century partnership stat being thrown around doesn't mention that they scored 400+ at the start of the year. And of the other seven one was rained off so it's really six. And they rested de Villiers in Bangladesh. Obviously the 4 tests in India was a calamity and it has left some mental scars, but a year of test cricket for South Africa is about half of a year of test cricket for England. Context is important.
    Didn't Bangladesh have a first innings advantage over them when the rain interfered, though?

    I get what you're saying, and I agree, but questions are bound to be asked and eyebrows will always be raised. Remember this is the longest winless streak for SA in a quarter of a century, if they fail to beat England in the second Test.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    Didn't Bangladesh have a first innings advantage over them when the rain interfered, though?

    I get what you're saying, and I agree, but questions are bound to be asked and eyebrows will always be raised. Remember this is the longest winless streak for SA in a quarter of a century, if they fail to beat England in the second Test.
    2015 results:
    West Indies (H)- Won
    Bangladesh (A)- drawn (SA 248 and 61-0, Ban 326)
    Bangladesh (A)- drawn (Ban 246-8)
    India (A)- lost
    India (A)- lost
    India (A)- lost
    India (A)- lost
    Eng (H)- lost

    The thing I'm taking from that is that South Africa can't bat in Asia.

    There are obviously issues in South African cricket, they're now reliant on a few world class players rather than being stacked all the way through, but the way people are talking you'd think they're the West Indies. They've had a horrendous series in India and they're struggling to recover from that because their whole batting unit is out of form. But they've got some class players and they'll be back. Their next two series are at home to New Zealand and Sri Lanka, I'll back them in both.
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    Stokes' innings yesterday was something else, had it not been for that run out he could certainly have gotten a triple. This is becoming a really slow test however. Day 3 lunch and only 6 wickets have fallen to bowlers, hopefully england can get a few after lunch to put some pressure on south africa.
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    This is awkward. It's Gayle so you kinda expect it from him and I'm not overly offended but time and a place, my friend.
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    (Original post by Aky786UK)
    This is awkward. It's Gayle so you kinda expect it from him and I'm not overly offended but time and a place, my friend.
    Flintoff: "Big fan of @henrygayle but made himself look a bit of a chop there."
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    Petering out unfortunately for us (and Stokes). That wicket must have had much less than we thought.
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    (Original post by Louis.)
    There are obviously issues in South African cricket, they're now reliant on a few world class players rather than being stacked all the way through, but the way people are talking you'd think they're the West Indies.
    They're obviously nowhere near the Windies, you're right. I wasn't meaning to be disrespectful to SA with some of my posts. They are a great side, but problems are rising.

    Admittedly, they have been batting superbly today. Faf du Plessis was under pressure but has dug in, and we've seen Amla rekindle some of that form which set him in such a good stead for much of 2012-2014. He is moving quicker at the crease, allowing him to position himself early and get a nice big backlift which is stopping those dreaded edges and knicks to the slips.
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    Anyone think England can still win this?
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    (Original post by moment of truth)
    Anyone think England can still win this?
    Depends as to how the first hour goes tomorrow. Finn's suggestion that England were "far ahead" in the second Test was wide of the mark, largely thanks to Amla's perseverance. It was an innings utterly different and contrasting to Stokes' blunderbuss, free-flowing and ultra-attacking stuff of the day before, but an astute and cultured performance all the same.

    I don't think he'll ever be the batsman we saw in 2012 in England, but he rediscovered that eye and his stance today. England bowlers toiled and toiled, and even threw Hales and Root on in the hope of a breakthrough, but it wasn't to be.

    A classic day's cricket.
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    Amla doing his best Chanderpaul impression today. Absolutely resolute throughout!

    Was baffled by Hales, took me about 3 overs to work out what the hell he was bowling. Initially thought leg-spin, then goggleys', Murali-esque off spin and then finally regulation off-spin. The highlight of the day though, without a doubt, was Michael Holding defining it as right arm optimistic.
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    (Original post by The Wavefunction)
    right arm optimistic.
    Ha! Brilliant.
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    **** yeah. If we're batting by tea, we could well pile on 150 and declare. Cook won't do that, but wishful thinking. The fans want a result!
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    Hi I live in Solihull and I was wondering are there any cricket teams around the area that I could possibly join? and am ok at cricket having played for the A squad at my school.
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    (Original post by rockrunride)
    **** yeah. If we're batting by tea, we could well pile on 150 and declare. Cook won't do that, but wishful thinking. The fans want a result!
    Three wickets in four overs is good reason for excitement. Need to skittle out the tail now, though. Stokes is clearly trying to take the 'rough' route to Bavuma. He's firing bouncer after bouncer.
 
 
 
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