England in SA

Malan's resilience gives Proteas a glimmer at Newlands

2020-01-06 17:54
Pieter Malan (Gallo)
Pieter Malan (Gallo)

Cape Town - The Proteas still have a mountain to climb if they are to save the second Test against England at Newlands, but they have given themselves a fighting chance thanks largely to Pieter Malan's 63* (193) on debut. 

At stumps on day two, the hosts were 126/2, still needing a highly improbable 312 victory with eight wickets in hand. 

SCOREBOARD: Proteas v England - 2nd Test, Day 4

The more likely play on Tuesday's final day will be for the Proteas to seek survival, and in that regard, they now have a glimmer of hope with Malan and nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj (2*) at the crease. 

Malan's Cape Cobras team-mate Zubayr Hamza (18 off 59) lost his wicket to James Anderson in the second-last over of play. 

The resilience of Malan ultimately salvaged what could have been a disastrous day for the Proteas after England obliterated their bowling attack on the fourth morning.

It was a woeful opening session for the hosts, who curiously delayed taking the new ball for five overs as Ben Stokes' blistering 72 (47) rocketed England into what will surely be an unassailable position. 

There was also a maiden Test century for opener Dom Sibley, who finished 133* (311) as England declared their second innings at 13:32 and on 391/8 having amassed a staggering 157 runs in the 27-over session before lunch. 

The Proteas started the day with Dwaine Pretorius (1/56 in 16) and Maharaj (2/160 in 43) bowling while Kagiso Rabada (2/69 in 20) and Vernon Philander (0/24 in 14) were bizarrely not used immediately.  

Du Plessis was perhaps trying to get through a few economical overs to get Anrich Nortje back on the field after the speedster missed the first few overs as a result of feeling slightly ill, but it was a decision that ultimately backfired as Stokes showed why he is rated as one of the most destructive cricketers in the world. 

Having started the day 0*, Stokes needed just 52 minutes to card his half-century off 34 balls (5x4, 2x6) as the Proteas bowlers traveled to all parts. Stokes and Sibley, meanwhile, needed just 44 minutes and 64 balls to bring up their 50-partnership, with Stokes contributing 45 of those runs. 

Maharaj eventually had some joy when he had Stokes caught by Rassie van der Dussen at long-on and, in the very next over, Rabada had Oli Pope (3) bowled. By then, the damage was already done and the wickets were met with hollow celebrations. 

Jos Buttler (23 off 18) then played a handy cameo that further buried the Proteas before he was out caught behind trying to scoop Nortje over the wicketkeeper. 

The English were playing with a freedom indicative of their position of dominance. 

The visitors batted for just 22 minutes after lunch, which was enough time for Maharaj to get his second when Sam Curran (13) belted a poor, short delivery straight to Hamza at midwicket. 

As England declared, their large fan base at Newlands rose to send off Sibley in some style. 

After play on Sunday, Proteas coach Mark Boucher had said that his side would take the fight to England, calling on the "characters" in the dressing room to stand up with big runs. 

They were off to a good start with openers Dean Elgar (34) and Malan, who got through to tea unscathed at 46/0 with four sessions remaining for South Africa in their efforts to survive. 

Part-time leg-spinner Joe Denly, though, was causing trouble bowling from the Kelvin Grove end when landing the ball in the footmarks that had developed outside the left-hander's off-stump. 

Elgar never looked comfortable against him, and he was out when he feathered an edge through to Buttler behind the stumps as Denly picked up his first Test wicket. 

What followed was a brutal examination of Malan and Hamza's Test credentials in the form of spin and pace – both short and pitched-up.

The pair had posted a patient 52-run partnership for the second wicket before Hamza, who had survived a barrage of short-pitched bowling, edged Anderson through to Buttler. 

Read more on:    proteas  |  cape town  |  cricket


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