DateLine: 29th July 2017
By Andy Jalil at the KIA Oval
Rain curtails play on third day with England comfortably placed
London – Inclement weather on the third day of the third Test restricted play intermittently to just under three hours during which time, having taken South Africa’s last two wickets during the morning session, England went into an overall lead of 252 with nine wickets standing when play was officially called off for the day at 5.15pm with the rain still falling and the outfield saturated.
With a comfortable first innings lead of 178, England needed to extend it enough to pile on the pressure on the tourists in the second innings. England began their second innings just over half an hour before the scheduled lunch which was taken fifteen minutes early because of rain and lost the wicket of Alastair Cook soon after the break. He was beaten by a beautiful ball from Morne Morkel which was angled into the left hander as it went on to hit the stumps and England were 30 for one.
Cook’s opening partner, Keaton Jennings, who was on 18 at the time was joined by Tom Westley and both batsmen would have been under considerable scrutiny as Westley, playing in his first Test, scored 25 in the first innings and Jennings has been in poor form with just 44 runs in five innings in this series. He showed better form this time although on 33 he was adjudged lbw by the umpire but on review the decision was overturned as the ball pitched outside leg and did appear to be going over the stumps.
He played his shots with confidence and his second four in one over of Kagiso Rabada brought England’s 50 from 82 balls after an hour’s batting. With him on 34 and Westley on 28, England were 74 for one when rain stopped play.
Earlier, South Africa had avoided the follow-on after resuming their first innings on 126 for eight and needing a further 28 to make England bat again. Theunis Bavuma, on 34 overnight, and Morkel took the total to 161 before England broke the 47-run stand with James Anderson removing Morkel for 17 with a catch to Cook at slip.
Vernon Philander, suffering from sickness and having been in hospital the previous day, batted long enough for Bavuma to reach his eighth Test half century before Toby Roland-Jones added to his four wicket on the previous day to complete a five-wicket haul on his Test debut with the help of a catch behind. Bavuma’s three-hour effort at the crease for 52 helped his side to reach a total of 175 giving England a first innings lead of 178. Roland-Jones finished with excellent figures of five for 57 while Anderson had three for 25.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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