Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chances Go Begging as Smith Powers On

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chances Go Begging as Smith Powers On

Article excerpt


FOR Graeme Smith, the glory of another big hundred and the near certainty that his team will be pressing hard to win this weekend. For England, the cringing embarrassment of being flattened in front of 30,000 at Lord's.

Two days ago, Michael Vaughan said he was excited to be taking on the challenge of captaining his country.

Last night he admitted it would be desperately difficult for his team to fight their way back into the second npower Test after they had been dismissed for 173 and then allowed South Africa to reach 151 for one in reply.

By late this afternoon, with Smith - already past 500 runs for the series - celebrating his 150 and the visitors all powerful at 300 for one, Vaughan looked lost ... lost for words and lost for a fresh idea.

It was not that England bowled terribly here once play began, 75 minutes late, under a grey sky that had produced plenty of drizzle this morning.

Indeed, compared to yesterday's woeful batting performance, they plugged away determinedly enough.

But Vaughan needed a spark of brilliance from someone to provide him with a cricketing miracle and, sadly, Darren Gough seems to be fresh out of them at present.

With young Jimmy Anderson struggling to hit any sort of consistent line against lefthanders Smith and Gary Kirsten, and Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff and Ashley Giles providing only rare flickers of hope, the entertainment was too one-sided to be called a contest. When chances did come along, England couldn't grab them.

Smith, of course, was dropped on eight yesterday by Nasser Hussain and he had already punished that error to the tune of 72 more runs by last night.

Today, one ball before reaching his fourth Test century and his second as captain after last week's double at Edgbaston, he appeared to pull Anderson into and out of Marcus Trescothick's hands at short mid-wicket. …

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