Former England captain Michael Vaughan says South Africa have the best batting order in Test cricket at the moment when it comes to batting in bowler friendly conditions.
Vaughan, writing in his column for the Telegraph, criticised the technique of Australia’s batsmen in their first innings of the third Ashes Test when they were bowled out for 136 on a pitch where James Anderson got the ball to swing.
‘In this modern era of Test cricket there is only one batting unit in the world capable of toughing out difficult bowling conditions,’ wrote Vaughan.
‘South Africa are willing to dig in and fight for two hours, making sure they bat long periods to take bowlers into their third spell. Not many others are capable of doing that. They think the way to be tough is to over-attack. I am all for attacking cricket but England is a tricky place to play. The conditions change throughout the day.
‘In conditions such as the gloomy morning we had here on Wednesday you have to battle for two or three hours. Accept that after 30 or 40 overs you might have scored only 100 runs but it will have set a foundation to make a par score of 250-275, which would have put Australia in the match.’
Vaughan described the batting techniques of the Aussie batsmen as being ‘all at sea’ against a seaming ball.
‘Chris Rogers has an attritional style honed in county cricket. He lets the ball come to him. But the rest are so vulnerable. They are on the front foot and go hard at the ball so the slip cordon is just waiting for the edge.
‘Michael Clarke himself is in real trouble. He looks like a wicket waiting to happen. He does not know whether to stick or twist. He is a better player when he looks to score and bat with controlled aggression. But he is in two minds because he is thinking about the game too much. England will be playing on that.
‘But this is a lesson for England too. The best teams learn from the mistakes of opponents. They have to assess the conditions quickly. You can’t score at four an over all the time and there are likely to be periods at Trent Bridge, if they produce a pitch characteristic of the ground and not the featherbed of last year, when it will be hard. There is no disgrace in scoring slowly. Sometimes batting at 2.4-2.8 an over can put you in a position to win.’