England squander advantage despite Ollie Pope efforts

England 262 for 9 (Pope 56*) v South Africa

There is no precise antonym for the word “ruthless”: like “nonplussed”, “disgruntled” and “underwhelmed”, it is considered by linguistics scholars to be an unpaired adjective due to the lack of a word with a perfectly opposite meaning.

But if academics can find a way to condense England’s batting performance on the first day of the Newlands Test into an adjective, they will finally have found a solution to their problem. If one batsman in the top seven failing to convert a start into a telling contribution might be considered careless, seeing five of them do it suggests a much deeper issue.

England’s players have taken to calling this their “cursed” tour, with injury and illness ruining their preparation for both the first and second Tests, but their failure to reach an imposing first-innings total here was largely self-inflicted: having won the toss and chosen to bat first on a fairly placid surface, Joe Root was one of several senior batsmen to get in and get out as South Africa had much the better of the first day.

More to follow…

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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