Day 2: England in the ascendancy after late strikes

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04 Jan 2020 | 08:55 AM
authorSomesh Agarwal

Day 2: England in the ascendancy after late strikes

South Africa are still 54 runs behind the England total with only 2 wickets in hand

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In an innings of three sections, South Africa lost 8 wickets for 98 runs either side of a 117 run fourth-wicket partnership between Dean Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen. 

The exploits of James Anderson (3/34) and Stuart Broad (2/36) with both new balls, assisted by the golden arm of Sam Curran (2/39) ensured that England ended the day on a high. 

Consistent with the trend at Newlands. the pacers reaped different rewards from the two ends. 12 out of 16 wickets falling so far in the Test to the pacers were from the Wynberg end. 

Before the start of the Test, until Archer was injured, it looked certain that either of Anderson or Broad will be dropped for this Test. The two legends started with the new ball in a potential shootout for the place in the side.

South Africa got to a brisk start as the debutant Pieter Malan hit Anderson for a four on the offside to get into Test scorebooks. Elgar, looking to make a mark after a disappointing first Test, hit Broad for two crisp boundaries in the next over.

Getting in their groove, the veterans pushed their length back and delivered back to back maidens. Broad delivered another maiden as Anderson induced an edge off Elgar that went past second slip for a four. Helped by the tight lines, Broad had Malan (5) nicking one to Joe Root at first slip. He was guilty of playing with his bat at 45-degree angle to a ball that seamed away after pitching.

Curran brought in first change after just 4 overs by Anderson, started too full as well. Elgar hit him for a boundary through the leg side of the first ball of his spell. Zubayr Hamza, in at 3, hit a fluent cover drive of Broad. Bowling from too close to the stumps, Broad received a first official warning for running on the pitch. Bowling from a wider angle, Broad induced an edge of Hamza (5) that was brilliantly grabbed by Stokes diving forward.

England ensured that the session truly belonged to them through Anderson’s second spell. Bowling from Broad’s end, he had the Proteas skipper, Faf du Plessis (1), edge a length ball to a much easier chance for Stokes at second slip. 

Playing a spinner after two Tests almost provided dividends straight away. Elgar played a drive in the air off Dom Bess that evaded the diving short cover. 

Anderson produced two more close shaves before lunch. Once an edge of Rassie van der Dussen that flew past second and third slip. Later an LBW shout of him that was given out by the umpire but was overturned after replays suggested an inside edge.

Elgar and van der Dussen kept England at bay after lunch. Severe on anything pitched-up early on, van der Dussen played three glorious cover drives, one each off Curran, Bess and Stokes. Elgar continued his solid approach and pounced on scoring opportunities off his legs. He brought up his 14th Test half-century with a single off Broad.

Similar to the first session, van der Dussen was provided one more life. A snorter from Broad that jumped off a length took his outside edge only for the replays to suggest a no-ball.

The entire session was filled with numerous deliveries, particularly from Stokes, that were no-balls, not called by the on-field umpire.

Stokes, in an attempt to replicate Anrich Nortje’s success from the first day, deployed the short ball tactics and bowled at 90+ miles an hour. The duo took a couple of hits each as they brought up a fifty partnership as South Africa crossed the 100 run mark. 

The pair continued to milk Bess who gave away 20 singles in first 13 overs and failed to bowl a single maiden till Tea. Anderson bowled a fiery spell in the second half of the second session. Particularly troubling van der Dussen, he got him to edge twice, both to Stokes at second slip. The first fell just short of him, the second had Stokes diving to his right at second slip. Continuing van der Dussen’s charmed existence in the third session as well, Stokes had the ball in his right hand up until his elbow hit the ground which made the ball pop out.

Elgar attacked Curran as he pulled him superbly for four. Just before the stroke of Tea, the pair brought up a hundred partnership between them – the first of the series. 

Learning lessons from the earlier sessions, Root opted for attacking field setting for Bess. Taking advantage, Elgar hit him over mid-off for four. A steer past gully helped van der Dussen to bring his second Test fifty. 

Continuing to attack, Bess bowled a couple of maidens to Elgar. Losing patience, Elgar (88) tried to hit him over the top again but mistimed. Root at mid-on was overjoyed after getting under it running back.

Quinton de Kock started as he usually does. Getting off the mark with two consecutive twos, he hit Stokes for two consecutive fours. 

As he often does, Curran provided the much-needed breakthroughs for England. Foxed by a slower ball, de Kock lifted it straight up and was hold out. After a 187 ball vigil, van der Dussen (68) guided one from around the wicket into the bucket hands of Stokes.

The second new ball put Stokes in focus once more. After dropping Dwaine Pretorius (4) off the first ball of Anderson’s fresh spell, Stokes made up for it off the fourth ball. 

Vernon Philander (13*) and Keshav Maharaj just about ensured England did not get any more wickets before the close of play. However, Maharaj (4) was unable to control an incoming ball from Anderson and inside-edged it to pop a catch to slips to mark the close of play. 

England end the day in the ascendancy as the Proteas are still 54 behind their first innings total.

Earlier in the day, England just survived 17 balls on the morning of the second day as Kagiso Rabada had James Anderson caught at second slip. Anderson had to face a major part of the morning’s third over as him and Ollie Pop misjudged the shot on the first ball and could only run a single that put Anderson on strike. England seven runs to their overnight score.

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