DateLine: 15th July 2017
By Andy Jalil at Trent Bridge
South Africa do well at start of second Test
Nottingham – It was a day that saw South Africa innings keep faltering and recovering as the day progressed after being put into bat. The resilience of their batsmen saw them end the first day’s play on 309 for six in which Hashim Amla scored an excellent 78 and in the process passed 8,000 Test runs becoming the fourth South African to do so. He followed Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers to the milestone. At the close Vernon Philander was unbeaten on 54 and in an unbroken stand of 74 with Chris Morris, 23 not out.
South Africa innings soon settled after the fall of the first wicket fairly early when Dean Elgar went for 6 in the ninth over. Elgar reached for a ball from James Anderson outside off stump and edged his drive to gully where Liam Dawson dived to his right to take a superb catch. Heino Kuhn who could only manage scores of I and 9 in the previous Test did better during his two hours at the crease scoring 34.
Shortly after lunch he dragged a ball from Stuart Broad on to his stumps and South Africa were 66 for two. Prior to that, rain had stopped play for 20 minutes before lunch with South Africa then on 42 for one. Amla and Quinton de Kock combined well to revive the innings. Amla took his time to settle in and then played some beautiful strokes. A square drive off Anderson took him to 30 and then a cut for four off the same bowler saw him into the forties.
De Kock meanwhile hit two consecutive fours off Mark Wood to point and mid-wicket and with runs coming quicker, the hundred of the stand took 125 balls with de Kock bringing up his eleventh Test half century from 59 balls. He celebrated that with successive fours off Ben Stokes, the first was a streaky edge but the next was a confident powerful pull.
Amla was slower in reaching his 33rd Test half century as he attempted to hold the innings together after the fall of the first two wickets He had faced 93 balls when he lifted Liam Dawson, in his second over, for a straight six to reach 50. He should have been held on 56 at first slip but Alastair Cook failed to take a very low catch, dropping the ball on the volley off Stokes.
At tea South Africa were 179 for two from 52 overs with Amla on 65 and de kock on 68. But the first ball after the break brought the dismissal of de Kock when he slashed at Broad and top edged to first slip. That ended a partnership of 113 which brought much recovery to the innings. But it faltered soon after with Broad striking again as Amla’s hook shot was held at backward square leg and the bowler had taken the two wickets for three in a space of 22 balls.
The fourth wicket was down on 194 and the fifth on 220 with Faf du Plessis well caught down the leg side by Jonny Bairstow. The batsman reviewed the decision but the ball had grazed the glove and hip before being taken behind the stumps. Stokes was the bowler and he claimed the next wicket as well, again with the help of Bairstow. Theunis Bavuma, on 20, seemed to be in two minds about playing the ball and was late in withdrawing his bat.
With the sixth wicket falling on 235, the innings was steadied once again, this time through the cautious batting of Philander and Morris. They picked up runs choosing the right balls to score off. While Morris has played just two Tests prior to this one, Philander is far more experienced playing now in his 45th Test. He took every opportunity to pick up fours. He reached 30 with a cut off Anderson to backward point and followed that with a cracking shot in the next over off Broad in front of square.
A powerful drive to the cover boundary took Philander to 40 and the 300 on the innings came with a pull for four off Stokes taking Philander to 48. In the same over he then steered his shot to third man for his seventh Test half century and the second in consecutive Tests passing his 52 at Lord’s. Morris gave him excellent support with a patient innings over an hour and a half.
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