England win first Test – 8 on the trot

So, England win again. 8 on the trot now, something no England team as ever acheived. This win in particular was curious, not least because most of the English were out of form. Harmison in particular looks like he hadn’t bowled since September (which he hadn’t), and some of the batters scratched around like crabs stuck in a net.

Strauss was superb as ever – I write too much about him here, so I’ll let you read more about him elsewhere :)

I found the post-match presentations very odd; there was a trophy (or something) for Trescothick for reaching 4000 Test runs, and one for Kallis for reaching 6000. And a photo of the England team with Giles holding a miniature can of Castle Lager, the SA’s team sponsors. Seems weird(?)

For once though, this loss has revealed some honesty and humanity in Graeme Smith – quite a rarity from someone who can’t help but wallop all questions over long on. He certainly doesn’t play them with a straight bat, but this latest admittance is the most cautious I’ve heard from him:

“We do need to know what our best team is,” said Smith. “We’re a young side, and we need to stabilise all areas from the selectors down to the coach down to the team. A new convenor of selectors means different issues. A new coach wants different things to happen in the team. We have to start working towards a goal. Every time we start again, it’s back to the beginning.

This is really worrying from a SA point of view. A new coach ought to bring excitement and a positive mindset – things are “on the up” – but Jennings seems entirely the wrong person to help SA cricket. They’ve lost their latest Test match against England who aren’t even on form – Michael Vaughan admitted as much in his post-match interview (download in MP3) that they were no more than 80%. If England start to fire in Durban, heads will roll in SA cricket and they’ll struggle to draw the series.

It’s never too long before Ray Makes Hay with one of his quotes, and this is one from yesterday re the Gibbs selection:

‘I am not anti-Herschelle … I am anti poor cricket ethics and guys who are lazy. That is what flips my lid