- While the contest was riveting from start to finish as
a result of the quality cricket on display, one of the biggest talking points
of the first Test between the Proteas and England at
Centurion was Jofra
South Africa won the match
comfortably in the end by 107 runs to go 1-0 up in the series, but there was an
incident late on day two when Archer was no-balled for bowling a full toss
above weight height at South African night-watchman Anrich Nortje.
Nortje hit the deck not knowing
where the ball was going, and the umpires had a chat to Archer and warned him.
In Test cricket, if a fast bowler delivers two no-balls over waist height, he
is removed from the attack for the rest of that innings.
With his very next delivery,
Archer attempted a 'knuckle' ball once again, and again Nortje hit the deck
with the ball sailing over his waist and the stumps.
Paul Reiffel at square leg again
called a no-ball, but the decision was quickly rescinded after consultation
with the other on-field umpire, Chris Gaffaney.
It was a hugely controversial
moment and one that left Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis furious at the
Before that, the devastatingly
quick Archer had delivered a barrage of short-pitched bowling at Nortje and
Rassie van der Dussen, following several of them up with a few choice
Controversy aside, it added an
element of spice to proceedings and the Proteas would get their own back when
the lanky Barbadian-born Englishman came in to bat with his side staring defeat
in the face on day four.
Nortje, easily South Africa's
quickest bowler, had the ball in his hands and he didn't wait to test Archer
with his own recipe of short-pitched bowling.
It ended in Nortje dismissing
Archer in just four balls, with Van der Dussen taking the catch at first slip
as the Proteas celebrated in the knowledge that the Test match was just about
Speaking after the match, Du
Plessis acknowledged that the run-ins with Archer had given the Proteas an
"I wouldn't say it's a new
thing. It's definitely a South African thing where we are a team of
fighters," he said.
"We like a little something
to spark and that did.
"Our feeling was that when
he came in, we would do exactly the same to him. We were prepared to go short
at him, making sure that he gets the same."
Speaking about the no-ball
controversy on day two, Du Plessis did not call out the on-field umpires.
"We were pretty upset at the
time," he offered.
The Proteas now have a short
break before travelling to Cape Town for the second Test at Newlands, which
gets underway on January 3.