NOTTINGHAM: South Africa’s bowlers made good progress despite Joe Root’s sizzling 78 as England struggled to 184-6 to tea on the second day of the second Test on Saturday.
England were 151 runs behind South Africa’s first innings of 335, with just four wickets in hand, but would have been much further adrift if not for skipper Root’s flashing half-century.
Root was the one batsman to handle the overcast, bowler-friendly conditions at Trent Bridge apparently with ease as he struck 12 fours, reached his half-century off 40 balls, and faced just 76 deliveries for his 78.
Around him, England weren’t so comfortable.
The home side slumped to 3-2 when Root arrived after openers Alastair Cook (3) and Keaton Jennings (0) fell off successive deliveries.
And Root’s dismissal, to a thin edge behind off Morne Morkel, started an England slide where they lost 3-33.
Overall, nine wickets fell for 210 runs in the first two sessions of the day as the South Africans were bundled out in the morning after continuing on 309-6.
Seamer James Anderson’s blistering spell of 4-4 meant England wrapped up the South African tail in just 6.2 overs, with Anderson taking the last four wickets for figures of 5-72.
Anderson needed just 20 deliveries to finish off South Africa. He started by removing Vernon Philander (54) in the first over of the day and finished with a caught and bowled to remove Chris Morris for 36.
While both team’s quick bowlers found an abundance of swing at Trent Bridge, and the batsmen generally struggled against pace, South Africa took two crucial wickets just before tea through left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.
Maharaj found extra bounce to have Ben Stokes caught by wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock after a juggle and after a review to check the ball hadn’t clipped de Kock’s helmet before he completed the catch.
Maharaj then produced a ball as good as any from the seamers over the last two days, pitching near middle and spinning away to hit off stump and remove wicket-keeper/batsman Jonny Bairstow for 45 as he threatened to lead England’s rebuilding.
SOUTH AFRICA (1st Innings, overnight 309-6):
D. Elgar c Dawson b Anderson 6
H.G. Kuhn b Broad 34
H.M. Amla c Wood b Broad 78
Q. de Kock c Cook b Broad 68
F. du Plessis c Bairstow b Stokes 19
T. Bavuma c Bairstow b Stokes 20
V.D. Philander c Dawson b Anderson 54
C.H. Morris c and b Anderson 36
K.A. Maharaj c Root b Anderson 0
M. Morkel c Bairstow b Anderson 8
D. Olivier not out 0
EXTRAS (LB-12) 12
TOTAL (all out, 96.2 overs) 335
FALL OF WKTS: 1-42, 2-66, 3-179, 4-194, 5-220, 6-235, 7-309, 8-317, 9-330.
BOWLING: Anderson 23.2-6-72-5; Broad 22-4-64-3; Wood 17-3-61-0; Stokes 18-3-77-2; Dawson 7-1-26-0; Ali 8-1-21-0; Jennings 1-0-2-0.
ENGLAND (1st Innings):
A.N. Cook c de Kock b Philander 3
K.K. Jennings c de Kock b Morkel 0
G.S. Ballance b Philander 27
J.E. Root c de Kock b Morkel 78
J.M. Bairstow b Maharaj 45
B.A. Stokes c de Kock b Maharaj 0
M.M. Ali not out 14
L.A. Dawson not out 2
EXTRAS (B-4, LB-10, W-1) 15
TOTAL (for six wkts, 42 overs) 184
FALL OF WKTS: 1-3, 2-3, 3-86, 4-143, 5-168, 6-177.
TO BAT: S.C.J. Broad, M.A. Wood, J.M. Anderson.
BOWLING (to-date): Morkel 13-2-45-2; Philander 13-2-48-2; Morris 4-0-25-0; Olivier 7-0-39-0 (1w); Maharaj 5-0-13-2.
Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2017