DateLine: 28th July 2017
By Andy Jalil at the KIA Oval
England take early grip on second Test
London Ė This was an absolute fairy tale of a Test debut for Toby Roland-Jones who could not have dreamed of a start such as this to his England career. The overcast conditions were perfect for ball movement and with excellent line and length the debutant had reduced South Africa to 47 for four in 16.3 overs of which he had the most remarkable figures of four for 15 in twenty balls. By close of play on the second day South Africa were struggling on 126 for eight and trailing by 227 runs.
Roland-Jones began his destruction of the South Africa top order in his second over when he had Dean Elgar caught behind for 8. In his next over he trapped Heino Kuhn for 15 and with that he had accounted for the opening batsmen without conceding a run in six balls. In his next over he claimed the prized wicket of Hashim Amla with a ball that rose a little from not too short of a length and grazed the batsmenís glove as he attempted to play a backward defensive shot. It was three for 30.
He then made it worse for the tourists having Quinton de Kock give Ben Stokes the first of his two catches at slip and that was the end of Roland-Jonesí amazing first spell of bowling in Test cricket. James Anderson was brought back and he struck with his first ball having Faf du Plessis lbw and followed it with taking a return catch from Chris Morris. With Englandís relentless attack, the tourists were soon down to 61 for seven when a thick top edge from Keshav Maharaj flew to first slip.
Broad was brought back for a second spell and with his third ball he ended the eighth wicket resistance in which Theunis Bavuma and Kagiso Rabada had put on 53 in an hour. Broad bowled Rabada for 30 with a beautiful ball that left him late to hit off stump and the tourists were 114 for 8 with Bavuma on 34.
Earlier, resuming their first innings on 171 for four and with Alastair Cook unbeaten with 72, England had hopes of the former captain considerably extending his and the teams score. But after just five overs into the morningís play, Cook fell lbw to Morne Morkel having added only 16 runs to his score. Stokes then combined with Jonny Bairstow in a 75-run stand for the sixth wicket and reached his tenth Test half century from 72 balls while the fifty of their partnership came from 48 balls.
While Stokes was steady during that partnership, Bairstow picked up runs rapidly. At one stage he hit five fours in ten balls and helped England to 258 for six. But, on 36, he edged to second slip off Rabada in the second new-ball over. Stokes remained watchful, restricting himself from taking chances by going for big hits during his stand with Moeen Ali and Roland-Jones.
After Moeen was held behind off Morkel for 16, Roland-Jones hit 25 at a-run-a-ball before becoming the only victim of the spinner Maharaj when he was pinned in front of the stumps. Along with Stokes he had added 37 from 41 balls for the eighth wicket. Stokes, who was on 79 at the fall of the wicket got to 91 when the ninth wicket fell and that was Broadís, he was snapped up at slip to be the third victim of Rabada.
With the last man in and Stokes nine short of a hundred, he decided to hit out and did so in no uncertain terms. He was fortunate with the first of three sixes when he was held on the long-on boundary by du Plessis but the fielder fell over the boundary. The next ball was sent high into the stand at long-on taking him to his fifth Test century, from 144 balls. The second 50 of his hundred had also taken 72 balls. Then there was the third six off consecutive balls, a slog/sweep, which lifted the capacity crowd on a grey, dismal afternoon.
Finally after a marvellous display of lusty hitting, Stokes, in going for another big hit was held at long off for 112 from 153 balls, giving Morkel his third wicket for 70. The England all-rounder had occupied the crease for four and a half hours hitting four sixes and nine fours. South Africaís bowling had been weakened by the absence of Vernon Philander who had been ill and off the field since the ninth over of the day.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2004-2017 Micro Electronics Technology Inc., and CricketArchive