Ian Baker - England sky high after great escape part two
13 Jan 2010 - 09:47:05
It's perhaps a British ideal - the ability to rescue a situation from the depths of despair, being able to claw your way back from impossible situations.
It's why seeing your team score a last minute equaliser in an FA Cup tie away from home is far greater than a 3-0 cruise in the final itself.
Yes, draws sometimes feel better than wins.
And that's why England's second extraordinary great escape of the series at Cape Town last week was a better feeling of joy than the win at Durban which means they cannot now lose the series.
But it is the first time in a long while, where England as a cricket team have shown the desire to fight and scrap - everything to ensure they do not lose.
Let's get one thing straight: Andrew Strauss's men are a long way off being the best cricket team in the world on natural talent. Australia, South Africa, India and (arguably) Sri Lanka all have better players.
But England have been able to perform at their best and will pick up their second consecutive 'big three' scalp if they do not lose this week in Johannesburg.
Sensibly captained by Strauss, England are reflecting their skipper's approach - intelligent cricket in all departments and playing for one another.
There are examples all around the side.
Alastair Cook has cut out the cover drive and said to the South Africans: "you’ve got to get me out."
Paul Collingwood continues as master-blocker and is a shining role-model to any youngster on how hard work can prove to be better than pure natural talent.
Graeme Swann is bowling magnificently with a confidence that is running throughout the side too.
Graham Onions, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson attack as a unit with the belief, there is no 'I' in team.
Onions, nicknamed Bunny, because of his name and not batting ability, has twice batted out overs at the end of Test matches in the series.
It's all bottle and class that England too often have been lacking.
At the moment it has proved to be enough to win big sessions.
There are certainly plenty of reasons for encouragement for England cricket supporters as their team finish their gruelling tour in South Africa - win, lose or draw in Johannesburg.