England in SA

Archer ignited spark in 'team of fighters' Proteas

2019-12-29 18:04
Jofra Archer is warned by umpire Chris Gaffaney (G
Jofra Archer is warned by umpire Chris Gaffaney (Gallo)

Centurion - 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 Archer

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Paul Reiffel at square leg again called a no-ball, but the decision was quickly rescinded after consultation with the other on-field umpire, Chris Gaffaney.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 time. 

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 words. 

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 over. 

Speaking after the match, Du Plessis acknowledged that the run-ins with Archer had given the Proteas an added motivation. 

"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. 

Read more on:    england  |  proteas  |  jofra archer  |  centurion  |  cricket


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