Proteas staring down the barrel

2015-12-28 17:33
Joe Root (Gallo Images)

Durban - The Proteas will need to deliver something special if they are to save the first Test against England in Durban. 

At stumps on day three England were 172/3 - a lead of 261 - after having taken six wickets in the opening session to dismiss South Africa for 214. 

Dean Elgar's 118* was the only shining light in the Proteas' otherwise dismal batting display on the third morning.

The nightmare started for the Proteas as early as the second ball of the day, when Temba Bavuma (10) chopped on a largely uninspiring delivery from Stuart Broad that perhaps stayed a little low but was wide enough to leave alone. 

JP Duminy made just two, while there was little help from the tail in the form of Kyle Abbott (0), Dale Steyn (17), Dane Piedt (1) and Morne Morkel (0). 

The home side were dealt a massive blow when strike bowler Steyn left the field in his fourth over with a right shoulder strain. 

Steyn would return to the field soon after, and he attempted bowling again in the 21st over, but this time lasted just three balls before he was off again. 

Dane Piedt had given the Proteas early hope when he trapped Alastair Cook for 7 in the eighth over, and when the off-spinner had Alex Hales caught in the deep through Kyle Abbott England were 48/2. 

As Nick Compton and Joe Root set about getting the visitors back on track, the Proteas let themselves down massively in the field. 

First Elgar put down a sitter at second slip three overs before tea after Morne Morkel had found the outside edge, and then Morkel was let down again in the final over before tea when AB de Villiers dropped Root after an attempted hook. 

The pair used their chance, and after tea began to take the game away from the Proteas. 

Elgar had Compton given out by umpire Aleem Dar in the 40th over, but the England No 3 immediately called for a review that reveled no contact as he survived another scare.

That wasn't the last of it, and when Morkel saw Compton dropped once more - again by De Villiers - in the 49th over he would have been pulling his hair out. 

But this time it wouldn't hurt, as Compton got a fine touch on a glance down leg side just two balls later to be removed for 49 - De Villiers making no mistake this time.

Root, meanwhile, was set. 

He cruised to his 50 off 96 balls and as the sun disappeared at Kingsmead, so to did the Proteas' hopes of getting back into the game with a late charge.

By stumps, it had all gotten a bit too easy for England with Root on 60* while James Taylor was not out on 24.


Read more on:    proteas  |  morne morkel  |  dale steyn  |  dane piedt  |  joe root  |  cricket

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