England vs South Africa, 3rd Test: James Anderson Lavishes Praise on Debutant Toby Roland-Jones
Toby Roland-Jones was the most impressive debutant by a mile for England in the ongoing third Test against South Africa at The Oval.
While fellow newcomers Tom Westley and Dawid Malan failed to get going with the bat, scoring 25 and 1, Roland-Jones put England firmly in the driver’s seat by wreaking havoc on South Africa’s top-order.
The Middlesex star, who had also contributed 25 runs with the bat, finished with five for 57, following in the footsteps of the legendary Ian Botham, Dominic Cork and James Anderson by taking a five-wicket haul on his Test debut.
What is even more impressive is that four of his 5 wickets were that of South Africa’s top-four batsmen. His sensational bowling had reduced the Proteas to 47 for four before James Anderson’s 3-wicket haul completely derailed South Africa’s innings, as they were all out 175.
Speaking after the second day’s play, Anderson, who was seen giving Roland-Jones advice on several occasions, lavished praise on the debutant and said that he deserved the wickets.
“It’s not often you see a debutant settle as quickly as he did,” said Anderson. “He looked very comfortable and very confident. He’s had a good career with Middlesex and he knows his action, he knows his game very well and that’s helped him.
“It’s the perfect pitch for him. To see him settle as he did was brilliant. He gets the bounce, he can swing the ball, he can seam the ball. He’s a very intelligent cricketer, very good to talk to about bowling and the game and he thoroughly deserved his five wickets,” he added.
The brilliant bowling performance, meanwhile, has set England on the path to getting back to winning ways after they suffered a humiliating 340-run defeat in the last Test at Trent Bridge. After a 124-run lead in the first innings, the hosts were 74 for one before rain ended the second-day action. As a result, only 37 overs were bowled and the England pacer hoped for a better weather on the last two days of the match.
“The weather’s not helped, hopefully, the next couple of days are dry and we can concentrate on batting for a bit [tomorrow],” Anderson said.
Speaking about the declaration, he said: “If we can bat until tea tomorrow, that will be the ideal scenario. We’ve got nine wickets left so we can push the run rate on as the day goes on. At Lord’s we thought we were going to bat for a bit and then get ahead of the game and we got bowled out. We have to try and play properly for a bit and then speed up towards the end.”
With the forecast much better for the next two days, England’ may find it tough to replicate their first innings heroics where they dismissed the Proteas cheaply when the overcast conditions and moisture in the air clearly helped their bowlers.
However, Anderson feels otherwise and said that a good weather won’t make the Oval pitch ideal for batting.
“A few have bounced and a few have kept low so there have been signs of it deteriorating a little bit,” he said. “There’s still plenty there with the seam movement and I don’t think that will change much even if the sun does come out.”
When asked about the three debutants, he said:
“They’ve settled in really well. They’ve all got different things to bring to the group and it’s been good for us. It’s nice to have some fresh faces around and some guys that are really eager to impress. The mood has been really good, we’ve really enjoyed having these guys around.”
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