England v South Africa – a sneaky 2nd Test preview

Ooooh look a Test match… As one of our number has briefly returned his attention to the only sport he’s ever competed in with any success whatsoever (and that so limited as to be laughable) at the Stratford sports jamboree, this has slightly snuck up on us. Nonetheless, we’ve turned our usual blend of wit, insight and blog padding desperation to tomorrow’s match, thoughts below.

1. James Taylor is going to play. One of our number has been pant-wettingly excited about Nottinghamshire’s midget batsman, the other remains slightly more sceptical, if only because we’re more secure with pessimism and doubt. Taylor has been in cracking form of late and this call is well deserved. Bearing in mind he’s about three foot tall it’s going to be a bit of a waste of time pitching the ball in short on the Headingley pitch, though he’s going to spend a large amount of time fending good length balls away from his throat.

2. Steven Finn might not. Partly we doubt this because this England set up don’t like changes at all, and two changes would be beyond the pale. Sadly this deprives us of any match footage of the frankly comedic little and large duo that could become a feature of the England team for the next ten years.

3. Here’s hoping Graeme Swann’s elbow doesn’t get much worse. Worrying news from Swann of late has emerged that his troubling elbow injury could require surgery if it continues to deteriorate. As England are off to India after this series, in which he could still play a decisive part, they desperately need the man who is still their premier spinner fit and effective.

4. England’s bowlers probably aren’t looking forward to bowling again. Look at that batting line up Smith, Prince, Amla, Kallis, De Villiers… They’re going to field for a lot of this match again aren’t they?

5. It’s good to be back at Headingley again. The North of England has been shamefully served of late, and has missed out on next year’s Ashes (though it has got a New Zealand test, whoop-di-do). On the other hand, bearing in mind what happened last time England were here this might not be that great (all over in three days vs the Australians in 2009) and their last game against South Africa here doesn’t hold out much hope either (a thrashing in 2008). Hmm, perhaps revise that earlier judgement about being back here…

6. If nothing else, it’ll be good to have some sport to focus on other than the nation’s obsession with bizarre hobbies that the IOC seems to have given an over-elevated place to (we’re thinking of all the dancing horse nonsense in Greenwich for one). Hopefully by next week England will have squared the series anyway. *Hopefully*…

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