Posted by Gareth Parry Added on: July 24 2012
The Cricket-Stats.com England Player Ratings from the 1st Test at the Kia Oval.
The England captain was dismissed by an excellent delivery in the first innings but could not say the same about the second. He gave away his wicket with an ill-judged sweep off Tahir with the leg-spinner in the middle of a spell where he was getting spiteful movement off the pitch. He looked bereft of ideas as captain when his side where bowling and often let the game meander. Crucially he dropped Amla before he had reached 50 with questions once again raised over the quality of England's slip fielding.
With a hundred to his name in the first innings it is hard to find fault with Cook's contribution in this match. However, given the size of the scores the South Africans made Cook will feel he should have score more in his first innings. Unlike many of his team mates, who were out playing rashly, he was undone by an excellent delivery in the second innings.
Trott will be disappointed with the manner of his dismissal in both innings but particularly with the loose drive he played in the first innings. Having reached 71 and looked untroubled he chased after a wide, full ball which was edged behind. Given the pitch and conditions he will know he should have turned his half century into a more significant contribution.
With all of the other issues surrounding Pietersen he will have relished the chance to stamp his authority on the South African bowling. In the first innings he looked to do just that and in truth looked in exhilarating form. However Kallis and Smith used all of their combined experience and Pietersen's compulsive desire to hook the short ball against him. He was caught behind by an excellent bouncer from Kallis. The wicket was all the more crucial as it came just before South Africa got the second new ball and Pietersen's rash shot exposed the lower order. In truth a second innings defensive action is not suited to Pietersen's temperament and it was little surprise when he played round a straight ball from Morkel.
Having left a straight ball in the first innings; Bell made amends with his slowest test half century. An obdurate display that demonstrated his improved temperament threatened to take England to safety. His lapse in concentration, when he offered a simple chance to Kallis at slip off the bowling of Steyn, was understandable and had even two of his team-mates matched his application England would have drawn the match.
Sadly Bopara continues to make himself an easy target for his critics. For all his talent there are still question-marks over his temperament. He was out playing unnecessarily aggressive shots in both innings with a combined total of only 22 runs to his name. In fact it was his bowling that was the strongest area of his game and, as in the ODI's against Australia, he looked consistently threatening.
His half century in the first innings typified his counter attacking style but England needed Prior to finish unbeaten and take his side well past 400. His dismissal in the second innings was the catalyst for the final England collapse. He play an unnecessary sweep off Tahir and lobbed the simplest of chances to slip. In both innings he fell short of what England needed and missed the opportunity to make significant contributions with the bat.
Of all the England seamers Bresnan was touted as the one to be able to utilise the old ball and find significant reverse swing. Even with a surface that should assist in getting the ball to reverse he found very little. There was a thought that the lush outfield prevented the ball from deteriorating enough to reverse but this was dispelled when the South Africans, and Steyn in particular, got prodigious movement with the older ball. As the South African innings wore on Bresnan's pace was also noticeably down raising question marks over his fitness.
Broad bowled with good discipline on an unhelpful surface. However he looked at best innocuous with none of the pace and bounce that has typified his best performances for England.
On a surface that was offering significant assistance Swann should have produced more from it. He only occasionally looked like taking a wicket but was effectively neutralised by all of the South African centurions who all looked to have a coherent strategy for dealing with him. With his usual tactics not working Swann looked as though he had little in the way of an alternate plan to cause the batsmen problems. There are also rumours that his elbow is once again causing him difficulties which may explain his below par performance.
Anderson was the only England bowler to look like taking wickets. His ball to dismiss Petersen was perhaps the delivery of the match. He was economical and disciplined and on other days would have made significant inroads into the South African batting.