DateLine: 16th July 2017
By Andy Jalil at Trent Bridge
England have a monumental task to save second Test
Nottingham – With two days still remaining and England having been set a world record number of runs to chase for a win, South Africa have almost certainly put the second Test beyond England it can be said. England were made to toil all of the third day as runs were being piled up and the bowling made to look quite innocuous. South Africa declared on 343 for nine with a colossal lead of 473 and responding to it, England faced four overs and made 1 without loss at close of play.
Earlier, it took England twenty overs after South Africa resumed their second innings, on 75 for one, to claim the first wicket of the day but when they did so they struck again very quickly, four balls later, for the next wicket. Dean Elgar fell twenty minutes before lunch for 80 as he attempted to hook a bouncer from Ben Stokes and a run later the tourists were 154 for three with Quinton de Kock going forward defensively and edging James Anderson behind the stumps.
Elgar was watchful at first but then struck two consecutive fours off Stokes – the first of which was a lovely drive to long-off – to take his overnight score of 38 to 47 and then ran twos off successive balls from Anderson to bring up his eighth Test half century from 79 balls. On 55 he gave a very difficult chance at gully and if Anderson, who flung himself to his left, could have held the ball it would have been a most spectacular catch.
Meanwhile Hashim Amla, 23 overnight, was in no hurry and struck his first four of the morning in the ninth over to get to 29. He then hit a series of boundaries off Liam Dawson , each time going down the pitch to drive. The first was a straight uppish drive then another to mid-on which took him to 49 followed by a straight six to reach his 33rd Test half century. A square drive to the mid-wicket boundary off Dawson took him to 59 when he lost his partner Elgar after they had put on 135 building a solid platform for the innings.
After Quinton de Kock’s dismissal for one, Amla and Faf du Plessis went on to extend South Africa’s lead as England bowlers were made to struggle. Amla was on 70 when du Plessis hit two classic drives to the backward point boundary off Mark Wood to take his score into the thirties and his team to 196 for three with the 200 coming up in 301 very watchful minutes before Amla got to 81 with a wristy drive to the mid-wicket boundary.
Dawson, having suffered a bit at the hands of Amla finally got his reward trapping the bearded South African lbw as he came out of his crease yet again to drive the bowler on the on side. His innings of 87 had spanned eleven minutes under five hours, having faced 289 balls and 62 of his runs had come from boundaries, including a six. Two overs after tea, du Plessis ran three to cover off Moeen Ali to bring up his thirteenth Test fifty but meanwhile Moeen removed Theunis Bavuma for 15 and that was 253 for five.
Du Plessis’ patient innings of 63 ended with Stokes trapping him lbw with a ball that kept very low and by then with the tourists on 275 for six their lead was a massive 405. With Moeen dismissing Chris Morris for 13 and Keshav Maharaj for 1, the tourists were eight wickets down for 307, extending their lead to 437.
Vernon Philander enjoyed himself in the afternoon sunshine with some lusty hitting which included two consecutive sixes over mid-wicket off Moeen before giving him a return catch on 42. Morne Morkel was 17 not out and Moeen finished with 4 for 78 from 16 overs, which included his second spell of four overs in which he claimed three for 32.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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