Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
| Help
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 11:11 GMT
Self-belief boosts England to glory
Geoffrey Boycott
By Geoff Boycott
Former England batsman

There were some magnificent performances from Marcus Trescothick in setting up a famous fourth Test victory, and from Matthew Hoggard in completing it.

Hoggard appeals
Hoggard dismissed Jacques Rudolph and Jacques Kallis with deliveries as perfect as you could bowl
But the other vital contribution to the fourth Test was the character and self-belief of Michael Vaughan and the whole England team.

On the fourth evening I know the South African team were in the dressing-room talking about knocking England over quickly and chasing about 250 to win.

They thought they could do that comfortably because England had a depleted attack, with Steve Harmison injured, James Anderson bowling wildly and Ashley Giles nursing a dislocated thumb.

But Vaughan and the team never lost belief that they could win it, and they went out and made it happen.

Trescothick was fantastic.

For me this was his most important innings for England, and if he ever plays better I want to be there to see it.

When he came to the crease on the final morning, there was a chance England could be in serious difficulty as they were only 179 ahead and five wickets down.

He had to be careful early but when Harmison joined him he switched tempo to attack and very quickly destroyed the bowling and took the game away.

I knew England would win it once Hoggard dismissed Jacques Rudolph and Jacques Kallis with consecutive deliveries that were as perfect as you could bowl.

They were well pitched up and drew the batsman forward in that 'corridor of uncertainty' just outside off stump with a little bit of movement.

Trescothick celebrates
Trescothick played what could be his best innings for England
He got all the wickets because he bowled a slightly fuller length than any other bowler on either side.

That made batsmen indecisive about whether they should play forward or back.

There was always a little bit in the pitch and he was the only bowler who took advantage.

Pressure played its part in finishing South Africa off, though, as the rest of the batting proved it was not up to the task.

At the top of the order Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs and Kallis are very strong.

But behind them are three weak players in AB de Villiers, Boeta Dippenaar and Jacques Rudolph.

Below that, the lower-middle order looks strong on paper, with Shaun Pollock, Nicky Boje and Mark Boucher all averaging in the 30s.

But, although people like that look good when they're allowed to play their strokes freely, they're not so good when they have to defend to save the match.

Flintoff was a good foil - he is the bruiser of the team, shaking batsmen up and intimidating them with short stuff.

And Ashley Giles took the crucial wicket when he had Gibbs lbw for 98.

Hoggard has bowled marvellously all through the tour, not only taking wickets but doing the donkey work for Harmison, who hasn't performed.

He was due a bit of good fortune.

Only England can beat England
22 Dec 04 |  England
England may have lost initiative
15 Dec 04 |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport