Swann happy to emerge on top
Graeme Swann expressed his pleasure that England’s “roller coaster” World Cup took an upturn in a thrilling contest against South Africa in Chennai.
Andrew Strauss’ side appeared to be on course for defeat after being dismissed for 171 in 45.4 overs on a slow surface at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Despite a 63-run opening stand in the Proteas’ reply, England built pressure and took wickets in clutches to pull off a remarkable six-run win.
Swann’s 10 overs, which yielded 1-29 but deserved more wickets, were instrumental in stifling South Africa and he afterwards reflected on another remarkable chapter in England’s World Cup campaign.
“We’ve almost had a bit of a roller coaster World Cup so far,” he said. “We were disappointed against Holland, excellent in parts against India, excellent for most of the match against Ireland and then completely outplayed for the last 10 overs.
“And then today we’ve been 50/50 again, below par with the bat but we’ve bowled and fielded as best as we have all tournament so we’re very happy.”
Swann cited England’s self belief as crucial to turning their fortunes in this match around.
“We didn’t think 170 was as competitive as it should be, but it’s proved to be just that so we’re delighted,” he added.
“We knew there was a lot in the pitch for us. We knew it would turn, we knew a few would keep low for the seamers and we knew how difficult it was to score from when we’d batted, especially at the end.
“As it turned out our innings almost mirrored South Africa’s, or the other way round - their innings mirrored ours. And we knew that pressure would build on the later batsmen. It was very hard at the end - I know I made it look easy but it was very difficult.
“And it just goes to show, if you believe you can win any game, you can, as Ireland proved to us last week and as we proved today.”
Swann paid tribute to paceman James Anderson, who had experienced a largely disappointing tournament prior to this match, but produced two outstanding balls to remove AB de Villiers - who had hit hundreds in South Africa’s previous two games - and JP Duminy.
“Two massive deliveries, especially one that no-one knew was out other than Matt Prior after 20 seconds,” he said of the de Villiers dismissal that only just clipped the bails.
“He’s a huge player AB, he’s obviously been in incredible form for South Africa. It’s just nice that we’ve played a game and no-one’s scored a hundred against us.”