Sidebottom - We battled hard

England left frustrated, facing defeat at the Wanderers

Last Updated: 16/01/10 9:19pm

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Sidebottom: Test comeback

Sidebottom: Test comeback

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Ryan Sidebottom praised England's fighting qualities despite the tourists finishing day three of the final Test against South Africa staring defeat in the face.

"I've got to prove my point and justify my selection - I thought I deserved a couple more wickets but we bowled well as a unit and fought hard."
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England, who came into the match needing just a draw to win the series, reached stumps at the Wanderers on 48-3 in their second innings, still 195 runs behind.

The Proteas had earlier declared their first innings at 423-7 after half-centuries from AB de Villiers (58) and Mark Boucher (95).

The decision review system continued to be the major talking point as England failed to get their first referral - lost when Graeme Smith was controversially given not out on day two - reinstated and were therefore unable to challenge the call when de Villiers was given not out having seemingly edged to keeper Matt Prior.

"I thought we stuck to our task well, it was very frustrating and we felt we deserved a few more wickets," Sidebottom, who finished with 2-98 from 31 overs, told Sky Sports.

"We played well but in the afternoon session we didn't bowl as well as we possibly could.

"We were maybe a little too straight with the new ball and it's frustrating not to bowl them out."

Sidebottom was the bowler when de Villiers was reprieved en route to a score of 58, but he was unwilling to dwell for too long on the review system issue.

Aggrieved

"We've seen a few edges not given but that's cricket - we do feel a bit aggrieved and frustrated but it's out of our hands and the authorities will sort it out," he added.

"It will change in future if we can use the whole system with (the Snickometer) and Hot Spot - if you're going to use it, use it all.

"If not - I'm quite old-fashioned myself - there are two guys out there who are paid to do a job and give decisions.

"Whether they give it out or not, the decision would be final - and we would be happy with that.

"You leave it down to the two guys out there - end of story. It's pretty simple, and I think that is how it should be done."

A somewhat surprising selection in place of the impressive Graham Onions, Sidebottom is relishing his return to Test-match action.

"It's fantastic to be back in an England shirt," he continued. "We're all a team and I was disappointed for Graham Onions as he's done very well but I was pleased with the way I bowled.

"He'll have his opportunity and I'll have mine. It's not just about the 11, there are 17 or 18 of us who can play at any one time.

"I've got to prove my point and justify my selection - I thought I deserved a couple more wickets but we bowled well as a unit and fought hard."

Boucher confident

South Africa wicketkeeper Boucher shared Sidebottom's concerns about the review system but was more interested on finally closing out the Test victory his side have threatened all series.

The Proteas were denied by England's last-wicket pair in both the first and third Tests.

"What's positive for us is that there's a little more in this wicket than in the two games where we couldn't manage a win - and I think, with two days to bat for England, we believe we have the bowling attack to take seven more wickets," said Boucher.

"That doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels. England have saved two Tests, so we're not too comfortable but are quietly confident."

Boucher would not be surprised if the tourists are finally starting to feel the strain too.

"When it gets towards the end of a tour, it can be pretty tough," he added.

"They say one foot is on the plane already - I'm not saying that's the case with England - but we've had them under pressure for five or six days of Test cricket now, and pressure does eventually get to do you."

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