Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Swann Hails Leading Role of His Captain; Strauss Calls the Shots as Englandregain Initiative at Kingsmead

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Swann Hails Leading Role of His Captain; Strauss Calls the Shots as Englandregain Initiative at Kingsmead

Article excerpt

GRAEME Swann believes England captain Andrew Strauss has helped regain the mid-match initiative from South Africa after day two of the second Test at Kingsmead.

Strauss hit Makhaya Ntini out of the attack at the start of his side's reply to 343 - which was worth 103 for one by stumps.

The opener was gone by then, leaving the consolidation to his first-wicket partner Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott. Swann sees Strauss' run-a-ball 54 as a telling contribution - after South Africa's last-wicket pair Dale Steyn and Ntini had frustrated England by plundering 58 together in quick time.

Swann said: "We did not sit down and say 'let's go all guns blazing' to get back on top.

"Yet it was important we did that, because it has wrestled straight back the initiative South Africa had taken from us."

Like Steyn before him, Strauss dominated his partnership.

Swann added: "I came out of the shower and he was already on 30 - and I do not take that long in the shower.

"It is great to see him go out there and play shots from the word go.

"Since he retired from Twenty20, Straussy has become one of the best oneday players in the world. He is very disappointed to have only made 50-odd and lost his wicket after tea, to a very good ball."

England were in danger of falling off the pace while Steyn was clubbing boundaries - off Swann (four for 110) in particular - after AB de Villiers (50) and Mark Boucher had earlier put on 63 for the sixth wicket.

The England off-spinner admitted: "At nine down, we were in a very good position at around about 300 if we could have finished it off then."

De Villiers later revealed his captain Graeme Smith has had enough of Trott's time-consuming fidgeting at the crease - something the crowd have begun to notice too.

South Africa are hoping Trott will have to change his ways.

However, Swann said: "It is not something he's been working on. He has done it every year against me when I have played against him.

"It is just Trotty; it is how he bats, how he goes about things.

"He has a very organised and very clear gameplan. …

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