England go into today’s First Test in Port Elizabeth having had a kick up the backside. Last week’s defeat to the South African A team will have shaken out whatever complacency there was in their system and I expect them to emerge with greater resolve.
Competition for places is of a very high nature and both Mark Butcher and Graham Thorpe will be feeling the heat coming from Robert Key’s bat.Similarly our bowlers will know that James Anderson will be raring to go should anybody fall short and that means Matthew Hoggard and Simon Jones showing they are worthy of selection.
The wicket in Port Elizabeth is usually low and slow, but if there is any dampness at all, it could suit Shaun Pollock. England’s extra pace will be negated by the nature of the pitch so South Africa may well see this as their best chance to strike early in the series, especially as there are fears that the tourists are under prepared.
I not only believe that Michael Vaughan’s emerging team will be equal to the task here, but also will go on to claim a series win.