Cricket / Second Cornhill Test: Wayward bowlers fail to learn painful lesson

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The Independent Online
FOR part-time cricketers, it can be both irritating and reassuring when Test players make obvious mistakes. Long before play began on the second day, the South African bowlers should have been all too aware of the importance of not bowling at Alec Stewart's and John Crawley's legs.

And yet, what happened? Crawley's first scoring stroke of the day was for two, played square off his legs against Fanie de Villiers. When the new ball was taken, Crawley at once on-drove Craig Matthews for four. When, later in the same over, Crawley nibbled at one just outside the off stump without making contact and with his bat away from his body, the lesson was self-evident.

A hook by Stewart followed by a lovely stroke off his toes through midwicket, both of which went for four, brought up the hundred stand and just about summed up the poor direction of much of the early bowling on the second morning.

On the second morning at Lord's in the first Test, it had been Phillip DeFreitas who bowled consistently short and wide of the off stump and was mercilessly square cut by the South Africans.

It is the beauty of the game that at times it becomes too difficult for even the best players. The probable explanation is that all the bowlers may have paid the penalty for trying too hard and being unable to cope with the pressures.