All in the mind
Tourists were fired up, said Mikey
Last Updated: July 23, 2012 8:01am
England must think more positively if they want to salvage a draw from the first Test, Michael Holding told Sky Sports News.
"People are saying it looked like they were playing on two different pitches - it was just two different mind-sets."
Michael Holding Quotes of the week
South Africa completely dominated day four at the Oval as Hashim Amla (311 not out) and Jacques Kallis (182 not out) guided the tourists to a huge first innings lead before the Proteas bowlers put England's batsmen on the ropes.
With four wickets down and a 150 run deficit still to erase, England's remaining batsmen will arrive on Monday facing an uphill battle.
Reflecting on the day, Michael Holding told Sky Sports News England's bowlers could have shown more intent, but paid tribute to fantastic knocks from Amla and Kallis.
"I'm not too sure you could say the England bowlers went wrong," said Holding. "They weren't as motivated going out there as they could have been but I think the South Africa batsmen batted very well.
"You couldn't fault the innings of Hashim Amla or Jacques Kallis so I think it was a matter of South Africa batting well and England going out there not thinking they could bowl South Africa out.
"When South Africa came out to bowl their bowlers were in a completely different mind-set to the England bowlers. They would have been going out there thinking the fantastic knock by their batsmen has given them a good lead and there can only be one winner in this game. And they went out there and gave everything.
"The fast bowlers were given short bursts and when you know you're going to be operating like that - that you may only have four overs in the day - you're fired up and anything can happen.
"In contrast, the England batsmen knew they had no chance of winning, they were just going out there to try and survive. When you get two completely different mind-sets those things are likely to happen. People are saying it looked like they were playing on two different pitches - it was just two different mind-sets."
Now Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara, England's men at the crease, must dig in, says Holding, knowing if they can get through the first two sessions they may just have done enough to deny South Africa victory. However, that's easier said than done, said Holding.
"The two batsmen at the crease right now, Ravi Bopara and Ian Bell, are two good players," he said. "They are capable of getting centuries.
"They need to forget what's taken place. They've got to be positive and think to themselves: 'we've only got to bat for two sessions, if we can do that, we'll get past whatever South Africa is leading by and then the rest of the guys can take over and then by the time we're all out South Africa won't have enough time to get those runs'.
"That has to be what they're thinking about. But that's all theory! In practice it's not very easy to do. They've got to go out there and be positive - but for me, on the sidelines, I don't think it's going to happen!"