Jimmy Anderson took a vital late wicket as South Africa’s batsmen put on a superb show of defiance to leave the second Test in the balance at Newlands, finishing the day on 126/2, chasing 438 to win, after Dom Sibley’s maiden century and Stokes’ brilliance for England.
Du Plessis decided not to take the new ball first up in the morning, Anrich Nortje was feeling poorly and Keshav Maharaj had some rough to play with. Stokes was having none of it. He plonked Dwaine Pretorius over his head for six, reverse lapped him for four, then dispatched Maharaj over cow corner next over. The experiment went no futher – new ball please…
FULL SCORECARD: South Afriva v England – second Test
Stokes’ intent didn’t change with the new cherry (sorry Tickers), looking to put the game out of reach of South Africa, and quickly. He brought up his 50 from just 34 balls, as the 2016 deja vu talk reached peak levels.
Sibley reached his own milestone soon after, a fortunate nick through the slips took him to 99 and a superb sweep for four took him to his maiden Test century – a lovely old school Test match innings.
And this is the moment. pic.twitter.com/VUONX8f9GY
— Cricket365 (@Cricket365) January 6, 2020
After a couple more lusty blows, Stokes fell for 72 from 47 balls, smashing Maharaj very, very hard straight to Van der Dussen at long off, who took a relatively simple catch – a brilliant innings.
Ollie Pope then chopped on, bringing Jos Buttler to the crease as England’s march continued, with both Buttler and Sibley slipping into one-day mode and clearing the boundary.
Buttler’s stay was short, as he edged an attempted scoop behind off the bowling of Nortje. So too was Sam Curran’s – who was caught by Zubayr Hamza – but not before he was hit on the hand by Pretorius, producing a classic Broad-face from Stuart Broad, who was clearly looking forward to bowling…
— Alex (@AlfonsoBonzo) January 6, 2020
And he soon was, as England declared on 391 for 8, with Dom Dibley carrying his bat on 133. South Africa needed 438 to win.
England came out to bowl and flickers of doubt started to emerge as to just how flat this pitch is. England lost an early review as Stuart Broad’s lbw celebrappeal was in vain as the replays showed Pieter Malan had got a tiny inside edge.
Nothing much was happening until Joe Root brought part-time leg-spinner Joe Denly into the attack and started causing Dean Elgar – who had looked incredibly comfortable up to that point – all sorts of problems, as he aimed for the rough outside his off stump.
And it was Denly who got the breakthrough, with Elgar his first scalp in Test cricket. He was given out caught behind but immediately reviewed the decision – which normally suggests he didn’t hit it – but there was the tiniest wobble on snicko so he had to go, shaking his head as he went.
But that looked like it was going to be as good as it got for England’s bowlers, who toiled on what indeed is a very flat pitch. Pieter Malan was playing like a Test veteran on debut, finishing the day 63 not out. But that man Jimmy Anderson, proving age is irrelevant, set Hamza up brilliantly and had him caught behind in what was a crucial last gasp wicket for England to put them in the ascendancy.
A wonderful day of Test cricket and all three results still available on the fifth day. Yes, the fifth day
A teleconference on Thursday could bring positive news for cricket fans.
The Australian’s peak moment at the helm came last year as he shepherded England to their first ever World Cup crown.
Any return would have to be considered in the future with Yorkshire’s players and staff having taken wage cuts due to the pandemic.
The traditional method of spit-polishing to produce movement through the air has been deemed too great a risk of transmitting coronavirus.
The Lancastrian was fresh off some standout displays in the 2003 World Cup.
Hales lost his place in last year’s World Cup-winning squad after news of a second failed test for recreational drugs.
The Warwickshire all-rounder is one on 18 bowlers to be selected for personalised practice.
The West Indies are due to arrive on these shores first this summer.
Broad took part in an individual training session at Trent Bridge.