Rabada and Nortje rock England before rain ends first day

Published August 18, 2022
LONDON: England batter Ben Foakes is cleaned up by South Africa pacer Anrich Nortje during the first Test at Lord’s on Wednesday.—Reuters
LONDON: England batter Ben Foakes is cleaned up by South Africa pacer Anrich Nortje during the first Test at Lord’s on Wednesday.—Reuters

LONDON: South Africa quicks Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje tore through England’s top order to leave the home side teetering on 116-6 before rain brought a premature close to the opening day of the first Test at Lord’s on Wednesday.

Rabada, passed fit following an ankle injury, removed openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley early on during a return of 2-36 in 12 overs.

And Nortje, one of eight South Africans playing their first Test in England, grabbed 3-43, including the scalp of home captain Ben Stokes.

England looked as though they would be bowled out for a low total before the weather intervened just six overs after the lunch interval and no more play was possible.

Ollie Pope produced a lone resistance to the visitors’ relentless onslaught and is unbeaten on 61. He will resume the innings on the second morning with Stuart Broad, who has yet to score.

The tale of the first day has been South Africa’s aggressive and accurate fast bowling rather than England’s swashbuckling ‘Bazball’ style under their new leadership pairing of Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum that had brought the home side four excellent test wins in a row earlier in the summer.

All of those victories had been achieved by chasing down targets in the fourth innings, something that cannot happen in this match after South Africa captain Dean Elgar won the toss and fielded on a green-tinged pitch under overcast skies.

Elgar’s doubts over whether England could maintain their aggressive approach with the bat against an attack that has helped South Africa climb to the top of the World Test Championship table were soon justified.

Spearhead fast bowler Rabada, 27, made an excellent start, dismissing both England openers cheaply to catches behind the wicket.

Lees (5) went too hard at a delivery just outside his off-stump and was caught comfortably by wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne, while Crawley (9) edged to a diving Aiden Markram at second slip.

Crawley’s exit left him with a lowly Test average for a specialist batsman of 26 from 47 innings.

Star batsman Joe Root was powerless to stop the rot, the former England captain lbw for eight to a huge inswinger from towering left-arm paceman Marco Jansen. Root reviewed Indian umpire Nitin Menon’s decision but replays indicated the ball would have clipped leg stump.

Jonny Bairstow had made 106 and an unbeaten 114 during England’s most recent Test, a seven-wicket win over India at Edgbaston last month.

But he was bowled between bat and pad for a five-ball duck by Nortje as he tried to drive on the up, with England now 55-4.

Pope completed a 69-ball fifty but, with the very last delivery of the session, Nortje squared up Stokes to have the all-rounder caught by third slip Keegan Petersen for 20, leaving England on 100-5 at the interval.

The tourists managed one more wicket in the short afternoon session as Ben Foakes (6) was bowled by a rampant Nortje.

Pope was now batting with the tail, but rain spared England from further punishment at the hands of the Proteas pace attack, with only Lungi Ngidi yet to take a wicket.

The match is the first of three Tests in the series, with fixtures also to be played at Old Trafford (Aug 25-29) and The Oval (Sept. 8-12).

Scoreboard

ENGLAND (1st Innings):

A. Lees c Verreynne b Rabada 5

Z. Crawley c Markram b Rabada 9

O. Pope not out 61

J. Root lbw b Jansen 8

J. Bairstow b Nortje 0

B. Stokes c Petersen b Nortje 20

Ben Foakes b Nortje 6

S. Broad not out 0

EXTRAS (LB-7) 7

TOTAL (for six wickets, 32 overs) 116

STILL TO BAT: J. Leach, M. Potts, J. Anderson

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-6 (Lees), 2-25 (Crawley), 3-42 (Root), 4-55 (Bairstow), 5-100 (Stokes), 6-116 (Foakes)

BOWLING: Rabada 12-1-36-2, Ngidi 5-1-12-0, Jansen 6-1-18-1, Nortje 9-1-43-3

SOUTH AFRICA: Dean Elgar (c), Sarel Erwee, Keegan Petersen, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022

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