Strauss’ Swann omission gamble may haunt him if England lose

Last Updated: Aug 03, 2012, 12:02 PM IST

London: England skipper Andrew Strauss is worried that one of the biggest gambles of his captaincy career will be doomed to failure after he dropped Graeme Swann and chose to field in the Second Test against South Africa in a bid to help England cling on to their No.1 status

England needs to win or draw the series to retain their No. 1 ranking and after the debacle of The Oval.

The Three Lions although managed five wickets during the day, but South Africa is in command at 262-5 with Alviro Petersen scoring his fourth Test century.

It is unfair to condemn Strauss before the match ends, as early wickets on Day 2 will change things, but he knows his strategy will be regarded by some as a flawed panic decision if England lose, The Sun reports.

Pacer James Anderson said: “I imagine it was a very tricky decision as Swanny has been an integral part of our team for a couple of years. It’s not often you see teams going in without a spinner but the captain and coach obviously thought the pitch lent itself to four seamers.

“Maybe Strauss and team director Andy Flower thought a desperate situation called for desperate measures. And it certainly came as a big surprise that England went without a specialist spinner for the first time since 2003.”

With four seamers, Strauss was compelled to bowl first if he won the toss, but Graeme Smith and Petersen remained intact until beyond lunch and extended England’s wicket-less period across two Tests to 10 hours, The Sun reports.