DateLine: 18th July 2017
By Andy Jalil at Trent Bridge
South Africa inflict 340-run defeat on England in second Test
Nottingham Ė England suffered the first defeat of their last eight Test matches at this ground as they went down by 340 runs a little under an hour before tea on the fourth day. Having won six and drawn one of their seven Tests prior to this one, they were totally outplayed throughout the match as a highly motivated South Africa side pulled off a stunning victory to draw level at one Test each. It was their first win at Trent Bridge since 1965.
The return of the captain Faf du Plessis to the side made considerable difference both with his contribution with the bat as well as his astute captaincy. He was absent from their defeated first Test having returned home for the birth of his first child. The touristsí changes to the team from the first Test proved to be right with an extra seamer, Duanne Olivier, included and Chris Morris, replacing the suspended Kagisa Rabada, did well claiming five wickets and contributed with the bat too.
England were let down by their poor batting in both innings and particularly in the second innings when they showed a complete lack of fight when the opportunity was there for some defiance. With just over two days remaining from the start of their second innings and a colossal target of 474 runs to win, it called for a back-to-the-wall effort from the batsmen and if winning was going to be highly unlikely from that situation it did not mean the innings should have been so meekly surrendered in just three-and-a-half hours.
After Alastair Cookís 42, in two hours, Moeen Aliís 27 was the highest score and his effort was not so much in the way of occupying the crease but more of an attacking display in a lost cause. England selectors will need to give careful thought to the batting before the next Test in ten daysí time. Keaton Jennings, as Cookís opening partner has scored 44 in four innings with 0 and 3 in this Test. Gary Ballance has not showed good form batting at number three in either Test both at Lordís or here where he had scores of 27 and 4.
The day began with Englandís score on one without loss from the previous evening and they lost Jennings in the second over with the ball from Vernon Philander coming in to the left handed and hitting the off stump. The bowler then took his second wicket within 19 balls trapping Ballance lbw. With two more wickets falling before lunch which was taken on 79 for four, Englandís defeat within the fourth day already appeared to be inevitable. Joe Root had his off stump uprooted by Morris who then accounted for Cook a quarter of an hour before the first session had ended.
An hour and twenty minutes were all that South Africa needed to account for the next six wickets, three of which went to the left arm spinner Keshav Maharaj. Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Moeen managed to get into double figures before surrendering. Bairstow, on 16, went down the pitch to drive Maharaj and was held at mid-off and Moeenís sweep ended in the hands of square leg. Philander took the last of his three wickets accepting a return catch from Stokes on 18 and that was 126 for seven.
England then went on to lose the next three wickets in four balls all on the score of 133 with Stuart Broad slog/sweeping Maharaj for a catch at deep mid-wicket and Olivier mopping up the last two in successive balls both without scoring. That ended Englandís spineless batting performance and giving the new captain Root, after just two Tests in-charge, and the selectors a bit to think about.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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