Proteas off to 'Cook-ing' start

2016-01-22 12:32
Stephen Cook (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Stephen Cook was making the most of his Test debut on Friday as he grafted his way to 46* at lunch on the opening day of the fourth Test against England at Centurion.

At the end of the first session the Proteas were 107/1 having lost Dean Elgar for 20. Hasim Amla was at the other end on 34*.


South Africa made five changes to their side from Johannesburg. 

Quinton de Kock returned from injury for Dane Vilas, Cook replaced Stiaan van Zyl at the top of the order, JP Duminy returned for Faf du Plessis, Kyle Abbott replaced Hardus Viljoen while spinner Dane Piedt came in for Chris Morris. 

Cook was immediately into the action as captain AB de Villiers won the toss and chose to bat, and the Lions opener was off the mark with his first ball as he dispatched a loose James Anderson delivery to the square-leg boundary. 

Cook and Elgar looked largely untroubled against the new ball as Anderson and Stuart Broad could not make the early breakthrough. 

Somewhat surprisingly, off-spinner Moeen Ali was called into the attack in just the 11th over - a decision that proved a good one from England captain Alastair Cook. 

On the fourth ball of the over, Elgar advanced down the track and made solid contact as he looked to work it through mid-wicket.

But the result was another miraculous catch from James Taylor at short-leg after he showed pin-point anticipation to move towards the line of the ball before it settled between his thighs. 

Taylor had taken two stunning catches at short leg in the South African second innings collapse in Johannesburg, but this one was even more outrageous. 

Elgar (20) was a picture of disbelief, but the catch was legal and the Proteas were 35/1.

Cook, meanwhile, was taking to Test cricket like a duck to water. 

He was compact and patient, and looked particularly good on the leg side when the English bowlers were too straight. 

Amla survived a massive scare when he was on 5 as he was put down by Cook at first slip off the bowling of Ben Stokes. 

Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow had dived to his right, and it looked like he may have put Cook off as Amla was given a lifeline. 


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