Centurion: Chris Silverwood, the England head coach, has said that his side might consider opting for an all-pace attack in the first Test against South Africa in Centurion.
The visitors had deployed a similar strategy in the Hamilton Test against New Zealand last month, bringing in Chris Woakes in place of Jack Leach. With the Centurion wicket offering more assistance to seamers, England might be tempted to turn to field an all-seam attack again.
“Obviously in Hamilton, we looked at all the stats of who took wickets at the ground, and it showed that spin didn’t really play much part in the games, or certainly have much effect on the games,” said Silverwood.
The top nine wicket-takers in Centurion are all fast bowlers, with Dale Steyn leading the charts with 59 scalps in 10 Tests.
“We look at the stats for this ground, it’s the same thing, you’re looking at wickets taken by seam, wickets taken by spin and the averages that go along with them, it suggests that seam is the way forward, and the thing that has most effect on the game here, so we’re certainly looking at that,” added the England coach.
Pool of talent
While England are considering leaving out their specialist spinners, Silverwood recognises the pool of talent they have in the slow-bowling department.”We’ve got some good resources in the spin department,” he said.
“Leachy is coming back to fitness now, we’ve got Dominic Bess here as well, Parky who bowled nicely in Benoni [in the practice game]. So we’ve got the resources but we’re looking at it for what it is, what has most effect in this game. We’re not definitely going down the road of all seam, but it’s something we’ve got to discuss over the next few days.”
Silverwood also gave an update on fast bowler Jofra Archer, whose participation in the first Test is in doubt due to illness. The 24-year-old did not bowl even once in the tour match against South Africa A, but turned up for the nets on Monday. “We saw how he was running in and bowling fast in those nets,” said Silverwood.
“He bowled a few overs with me the day before and he just backed it up again, so if we can see a few more sessions like that then he’d throw his hat in the ring.
“Maybe there’s a little bit more caution around it, if I’m brutally honest, but more than anything it’s for his well-being as well. If he’s going out on the pitch we need to make sure he’s 100 per cent, but equally, he’s played a lot of cricket as well – albeit maybe not at Test level.”