England in SA

Blunt Proteas toil at Newlands as England eye victory

2020-01-05 18:01
Joe Root (Gallo Images)
Joe Root (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - England are poised to win the second Test match against the Proteas at Newlands after bossing a third day of play that was excruciating for South African fans. 

The Proteas, bowled all out for 223 having lost their final two first-innings wickets in the first 20 minutes of play, spent the day toiling in the field with little reward and seemed to be caught tactically between attacking the English batsmen and drying up the flow of runs. 

In the end, they did neither, and the visitors finished on 218/4 with a commanding 264-run lead that that they will take into Monday's fourth day with Dom Sibley (85*) at the crease. 

SCORECARD: Proteas v England - 2nd Test, Day 3

With a lot being said about the surface and a crack that was developing at the Kelvin Grove end, the Proteas would have backed themselves to make early inroads into the English top order, especially given how well their seam attack has performed so far in the series. 

Instead, they were met by a resolute English lineup that was happy to soak up the pressure and accumulate. 

Having started their second innings with a handy 46-run lead, the England effectively batted the Proteas out of the game with a patient, mature maiden half-century from opener Sibley key. 

Kagiso Rabada (1/42 in 13) got the initial breakthrough with a pitched up delivery that had a driving Zak Crawley (25) stuck on the crease without any foot movement. Quinton de Kock took the catch behind the stumps, and the Proteas thought they were on their way. 

They weren't. 

What followed was a 73-run partnership between Sibley and Joe Denley (31) that saw the visitors take control and go into lunch at 52/1. 

Rabada was clearly fired up, bowling at good pace and varying his lengths, but he didn't trouble the English in the way he would have liked. 

The second session was another lucrative one from an English point of view and it knocked the stuffing out of the hosts as heads started to drop in the field and the South Africans began going through motions. 

Anrich Nortje (2/36 in 15), who had persisted with a short-pitched assault from around the wicket, got on the board when he had a hooking Denley caught by Dwaine Pretorius on the fine leg fence. 

Pretorius (1/34 in 12) with the ball, meanwhile, lacked the control in his opening spell that he had displayed in the first innings. 

The more problematic return for the Proteas came in the form of Keshav Maharaj, who got through 27 overs on the day to card figures of 0/79. 

The South African leadership had spoken about the role Maharaj would play in Cape Town, but he spent a large chunk of the day bowling over the wicket and into the rough to the England right-handers, well outside the line of leg stump. 

It meant that the batters could often pad up without offering a shot and it all looked slightly negative from Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis with his side desperately in need of wickets. 

Maharaj was accurate for the most part, but if the English waited long enough there would be something loose for them to work for runs.

It was also an underwhelming day for Vernon Philander (0/12 in 12) who, in his final Test at Newlands, was his usual economic self but without the penetration. Perhaps it was a case of the English finding their feet against South Africa's new ball specialist, but they got through his spells largely untroubled. 

Sibley, soldiering on, was joined by English skipper Joe Root (61) and together that pair put on 116 for the third wicket as the possibility of victory slipped further away from the Proteas. 

While Sibley was dogged and methodical, Root was back to his fluent, classy self. 

He brought up his 46th Test 50 off a brisk 81 balls, but was eventually dismissed when Pretorius had him caught by Du Plessis in the slips to give the Proteas something to celebrate.

Nortje then had nightwatchman Dom Sibley (0) caught behind with the final ball of the day. 

Earlier, veteran James Anderson picked up his 28th five-wicket haul in Test cricket - a new record for England seeing him go past Ian Botham after dismissing Rabada with the first ball of the day and then Nortje (4) soon after.

Ben Stokes, meanwhile, became the first England fielder (not a wicketkeeper) to take five catches in a Test innings.

Read more on:    proteas  |  cape town  |  cricket


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