Bookmark and Share

Strauss: We can take 20 wickets Published: 24 July 2012

Andrew Strauss vowed England will fight back after their thumping defeat at the Oval - but Graeme Smith's South Africa are determined to take their number 1. spot.

Smith's men, led by five-wickets from Dale Steyn, were simply outstanding as they wrapped up an innings and 12-run victory in the sun on day five in south London.

England's bowlers floundered on a flat pitch as Hashim Amla became the first South Africa batsman to reach a Test triple century and together with Smith and Jacques Kallis helped his side reach 637/2 declared.

With Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad going wicketless, there has been calls from some quarters to bring in Steven Finn or Graeme Onions for the second Test at Headingley - possibly as part of a five man attack.

Speaking after the Oval loss though, Strauss defended his men: "Our attack has taken 20 wickets in almost every game during the last two years and one game shouldn't dent their confidence too much.

"We need to draw on those reserves of confidence."

England's rise to number one in the Test rankings has featured a strong ability to bounce back immediately from heavy defeats, including two victories on the back of innings losses against Australia in 2009 and 2010.

Their record at home under Andrew Strauss' leadership is also superb - he holds a 100% winning series record at the helm.

But England have not faced a side as strong as this South Africa outfit during that time, and Smith - whose 100th Test match could not have gone any better - knows he is leading a side brimming with confidence.

He said: "To achieve a victory in what is the first Test of a big series, and play as well as we have ... in the context of the first innings to come back and win the game is an incredible achievement."

Conditions at Headingley are likely to be vastly different to those they encountered in London, but it's a challenge Smith is confident his team will rise to meet.

"We know we're going to Headingley and the conditions are going to be different. The team is very motivated to prepare as well for that Test match and understand it will be different at Headingley and we'll need to play a slightly different game," added the 31-year-old, who is set to return home in between the Tests to witness the birth of his first child.

"We believe we've got the players who can adapt and mentally we've got a lot of experience of what we need to do to be successful there."


Share this page

Back to Top
Google+