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Page last updated at 05:41 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 06:41 UK

Sidebottom hampered by stiff back

Ryan Sidebottom
Sidebottom stuck to his task but with no reward

Ryan Sidebottom is an injury concern as England look for quick wickets as they press for victory in the first Test against South Africa at Lord's.

A stiff back hampered him on a frustrating day four for England as they took just one wicket.

"He's got a stiff back, nothing too serious, and he still did a great job," said bowling coach Ottis Gibson.

South Africa will resume on 242-1, still 104 runs behind England, with Neil McKenzie 102 not out.

Gibson added: "We always knew it was going to be difficult bowling them out again but we stuck to our task quite well, we bowled 90 overs and they only got 230 or so.

"They are still 100 behind, the pitch will be a day older so hopefully Monty (Panesar) will come into it more."

Gibson was full of praise for his left-arm seamer Sidebottom, who managed to bowl 18 overs on day four despite his fitness concerns.

"He's not whinged about it, gone out on the field and bowled brilliantly without any luck," the former Durham bowler said. "If Michael Vaughan says 'Siddy, you're on,' he'll come in.

"We'd like to have had them six down, that would have been the perfect scenario, but that's why they call it Test cricket.

"You have to give credit to the South African batsmen, the way they played. It wasn't pretty if you were watching in the stands but it was effective."

South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who made 107, his 15th Test century, was delighted with his team's fightback.

"We had quite a tough discussion and we all needed to step up," he said.

"We really needed to fight and get ourselves back in this game. We've obviously done that - and as a captain, if you say one or two things it's always important to lead.

"If we can get out of this Test with a good result it will benefit us for the second Test at Headingley."

Smith put on 204 with McKenzie, a record opening stand for a side following on.

"We know each other well, we understood each other's strengths and weaknesses and we've been able to communicate well," Smith added.

"It was important that I set the example. We all agreed after the first three days that we had not performed up to scratch and we had to do something major to turn things around.

"In view of the preparation I had following my injury and the fact that we were under enormous pressure, I would rate this as being up with my best innings."

see also
South Africa in England in 2008
14 Nov 07 |  Cricket

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