England run through South Africa top order at Old Trafford
England’s pace attack rattled through the South Africa line-up as the tourists’ decision to bat first backfired on day one of the second LV= Insurance Test.
Despite skittling England cheaply twice in their innings victory at Lord’s, the tourists spurned the chance to put their hosts in on a murky morning in Manchester and paid the price.
The Proteas folded to 143 for eight by tea, with local hero James Anderson and Stuart Broad claiming three wickets each and captain Ben Stokes chipping in with two in the run-up to lunch.
The familiar English tactic of resorting to short balls against the tail saw the progress stall, as Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje survived the examination in an unbroken stand of 35.
Dean Elgar’s preference for batting allowed Anderson the chance to set the tone on the occasion of his 100th appearance on home soil – the first Test cricketer to reach the landmark – and he obliged with an early breakthrough.
Sarel Erwee was beaten several times in a skittish start and fell for three when Anderson drew one back in, clipping the inside edge and giving Ben Foakes the chance to show his sharp reactions behind the stumps.
Stokes broke with convention by handing Ollie Robinson the new ball, demoting Stuart Broad from his usual duties, and the Sussex seamer made an encouraging start.
He found decent rhythm on his first England outing in seven months, despite going wicketless for 43 runs. But he only had himself to blame for drawing a blank, missing out on Elgar’s scalp after a front-foot no-ball ruled out Ollie Pope’s diving catch at short leg.
Elgar’s reprieve did not last long, with Broad making up for his belated introduction by snagging the captain’s outside edge for 12. Jonny Bairstow did the rest, snapping up a low chance at third slip.
Broad’s attacking lengths brought him a couple of lbw appeals before another dismissal, Keegan Petersen (21) nicking to Joe Root.
Three wickets represented a decent return for England but Stokes’ double strike turned a promising session into a dominant one, Aiden Markram top-edging a short ball and Rassie van der Dussen lbw to a tight decision.
Batting conditions improved after lunch but at 77 for five, considerable ground had already been lost. They appeared to be heading for a swift end when Anderson roared in to pin Simon Harmer and Keshav Maharaj lbw with successive deliveries to leave himself on a hat-trick.
His next delivery snaked down leg and England had just one more success in the rest of the session, Kyle Verreynne caught behind off Broad.
Their habit of serving up a bumper barrage and looking for catches in the deep did not pay off, with Rabada taking on the challenge to make 32no and Nortje keeping him company on 11no.
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