Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Flower hoping for response

England coach Andy Flower admits the heavy first Test defeat by South Africa was a tough one to take but insists his side are capable of bouncing back in Leeds.

The tourists romped to an innings victory at The Oval and will be confident of wrapping up the series at Headingley. A South Africa triumph would see them usurp the hosts at the top of the world rankings and they begin the game the new favourites in the cricket betting to take the series.

Flower conceded England were "completely outplayed" in the opener and have a big job on their hands to rescue the series.

"It was the first game we've lost this summer, quite a tough loss, and we've got to regroup and come back strong," said Flower.

"There's always expectation and a wish for England to do well so to be beaten like that was a bit of a shock to some people."

England were bowled out for 385 and 240 at The Oval, while South Africa racked up a mammoth 637-2 in their only innings. The England v South Africa betting has dramatically swung the way of the visitors as a result.

The home side have been forced into at least one change for Thursday's second Test, with young Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor replacing Ravi Bopara, who is unavailable for personal reasons, at number six.

"It's disappointing for him (Bopara) obviously, but it opens the door for another player who has come through the academy system and worked really hard over the years to get his chance," added Flower.

Taylor has impressed with the England Lions over the last couple of years and was given the nod ahead of the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan.

The 22-year-old hit 163 not out in a County Championship match against Sussex at Trent Bridge last week so goes into his Test bow with form under his belt.

"I certainly hope James can make six his spot for a while," said Flower.

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