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Liam Dawson takes tentative steps from England’s spin conveyor belt | Barney Ronay

England’s search for the right spin option seems to have alighted on Liam Dawson as the next Ashley Giles, but he made a patchy start against South Africa at Lord’s

We counted them in – and we counted them off out again pretty much straight away. England’s search in the post-Swann vacuum for a spin bowler of Test match substance has been like a flicker book at times of pressed-men, fill-ins and try-outs. James Tredwell, Samit Patel, Simon Kerrigan, Scott Borthwick, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Zafar Ansari and now Liam Dawson: England’s Test match spin conscripts since Graeme Swann made his Test debut have a touch of Henry VIII’s wives about them. Dropped, discarded, dismantled; given up, still around, retired.

For Dawson, the latest promoted frontliner, Friday at Lord’s was a slightly trying experience. His first ball was a loopy thing clipped for three through midwicket by Hashim Amla. The second spun hard out of the footmarks, as did the third. At which point things drifted a little, the fine margins at this level evident to see. Dean Elgar spanked a short ball to the fence, then stepped out with bullish grace to smoke one to the long-off fence. The feeling of pressure breaking was tangible. Somehow, without seeming to bowl too badly, and all the while turning the ball a little, Dawson had gone for 29 in his first spell without reward.

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