Cricket: England pair blunt Pollock's cutting edge

South Africa tormented as Hussain and Atherton go on the attack.

THE TREMENDOUS spirit shown by Nasser Hussain and Mike Atherton after the early loss of Mark Butcher, did one a power of good. At long last England had two batsmen who were prepared to stand up to a fearsome pace attack and be counted.

It was Hussain who showed the way when Shaun Pollock tried to bounce him. First, there was a splendid hook to the square-leg boundary for four. Another bouncer followed and found the top edge of Hussain's hook, going over fine leg for six.

This was the luck Hussain needed and it goaded Pollock into trying a third bouncer, and this was dispatched out of the middle of the bat for six more handsome runs. These three shots knocked the stuffing out of Pollock who had earlier bowled Butcher. Talk about leading from the front.

To rub it in, immediately after the tea break, Atherton square-cut and drove Allan Donald for four fours in the one over. The maestro who took 11 wickets the week before last in the first Test in Johannesburg, was caught time and again kicking the ground in frustration.

And what an uplifting, unbelievable sight that was. For English eyes. Atherton fresh from his pair of spectacles in the first Test when he had two balls which will not be bettered all series, now stuck out his chin and showed precisely what he is made of.

It was a combination of class and experience from a street-wise performer. There are few frills to Atherton's game. He is not that sort of man. It is a waste of time to sledge Atherton for he absorbs it with that half- mocking smile and his little-boy-lost shuffle that must infuriate his opponents.

Hussain is more mercurial. He dances to a more modern beat than Atherton, whose feet attempt little more than the old-fashioned waltz. The comparison was fascinating and the South Africans began to look like a side which has seen Cinderella suddenly turn nasty.

Of course there was luck involved - there has to be on these occasions. Immediately after Butcher was out, Atherton had to call upon all the resources at his disposal to survive an over Donald will not often better.

When Mornantau Hayward came on, he was fast, exaggeratedly blond and soon displeased. Hussain hooked and edged the ball an inch over the wicketkeeper for four. Hayward mouthed an epithet which would have kept Lord Chamberlain on his toes.

Hussain then reached a long way to drive the next ball, a wide-half volley, for four and Hayward did not enjoy that either. Donald, meantime, had gone off to mooch about and scowl a fair bit at third man and other distant spots.

Hussain's 50 arrived, Donald came back and when Hussain drove his second ball for four, Donald looked like a soul in torment. A short-armed hook by Atherton then took him to his 50. And on it went. It was a real tonic to see such a collective scratching of South African heads.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Chelsea are interested in loaning out Romelu Lukaku to Everton again next season
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?