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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

England subsided meekly on the fourth morning in Johannesburg, with only Paul Collingwood displaying the fighting qualities that had kept their noses in front in the series until this game began.

Ryan Sidebottom in action during the Johannesburg Test
England urgently need to identify a spearhead for their seam attack

We have seen these collapses before at the end of overseas tours, but as well as Morne Morkel bowled - and he did bowl with great hostility - the manner of this demise was disappointing.

Kevin Pietersen's run of poor form continued when, having faced 21 balls for an additional three runs, he chased a very wide delivery from Wayne Parnell and edged to Boucher.

This trip has been a chastening experience for England's leading batsman, scoring 177 runs at an average of only 25. He has some technical issues to resolve before we see him bullying the bowling again and it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to emerge from this trough.

Collingwood went for his shots, including launching Steyn over his head for six, but Ian Bell was beautifully taken by Jacques Kallis at slip for five and Matt Prior, dropped first ball, played an outrageous hook at the next and was caught by Graeme Smith, running back from first slip.

Stuart Broad has also had a poor series with the bat, and is also continuing to ruffle feathers with his abrasive attitude.

He stood for an appeal for a catch down the leg-side, and the first replay of the review clearly showed the ball had flicked his glove. He must surely have felt it, but reacted like a batsman who had received a shocking decision when the correct verdict was given.

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Broad is a fine young cricketer with a great future, but he is now rubbing umpires and referees up the wrong way too frequently for his own good, and earning himself a poor reputation.

South Africa thoroughly deserved to level the series. On the overall run of play, a 1-1 draw was the best England could have hoped for. Their win in Durban was an excellent performance, but in Cape Town and Johannesburg they were completely outplayed.

It is difficult to see them having the confidence to play five bowlers against any team other than Bangladesh in the foreseeable future, and they urgently need to identify a spearhead for their seam attack, which is capable in helpful conditions but otherwise lacks penetration.



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see also
England collapse to heavy defeat
17 Jan 10 |  England
South Africa v England photos
17 Jan 10 |  England
England escape in thrilling draw
07 Jan 10 |  England
England wrap up emphatic Test win
30 Dec 09 |  England
England scrape draw in first Test
20 Dec 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England


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