Graham Gooch urges England to fight for draw in first Test against South Africa

Graham Gooch accepted that South Africa are in dominant position at Kenninton Oval Getty Images

By CricketCountry Staff

London: Jul 22, 2012

England batting coach Graham Gooch on Sunday accepted that his side is under immense pressure to save the opening Test against South Africa, adding that Ravi Bopara and Ian Bell are key to England’s survival chances.

Gooch said, “This is a rearguard action. Backs to the wall and we have to show character and quality with our technique. It will be a test for everyone.

“Anyone who has played Test cricket accepts that not every game is going to go your way and South Africa are in dominant position.

“But the game is not over yet and you have to believe you can get out of here with a draw, and if we do that it will be great performance by us.

“All you can do is break it down ball by ball. Compete every ball and win every ball. We are not giving up that is for sure,” Gooch was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

The former cricketer added, “If we can have a good partnership first thing in the morning and take it up to lunch then there is a chance. We have put on big partnerships to save games in the past.

“In Brisbane (in Nov 2010) at the start of our second innings you would not have thought we could save the game. But we did. It is possible but it will take a big effort obviously.

“It is a normal fifth day wicket with the odd ball misbehaving but generally you can get runs on it as we have seen over the last couple of days,” he said.

A triple century by Hashim Amla and four strikes by South Africa’s bowlers had England reeling on the fourth day of the first Test match at the Oval on Sunday.

Amla made 311 not out as South Africa made 637 for two declared; a first innings lead of 252.

England were 102 for four at the close, needing another 150 runs to avoid an innings defeat.