Anderson, Finn see Proteas wobble
Three wickets apiece from England seamers Steven Finn and James Anderson eased England to a position of comfort, with South Africa struggling on 262 for seven at the close of play on day one of the final Test at Lord's.
Three wickets apiece from England seamers Steven Finn and James Anderson eased England to a position of comfort, with South Africa struggling on 262 for seven on day one of the final Test at Lord's.
The Proteas' total was admittedly a darn sight better than the 54 for four they slumped to after captain Graeme Smith's decision to bat first suggested, and they have every right to feel aggrieved by the sketchy nature of Jacques Kallis' dismissal.
Positives, however, will certainly be found in the performances of JP Duminy and Vernon Philander, who weighed in with 61 and 46 not out after the senior batsmen failed at the hands of Finn and Anderson.
The first session was the most tumultuous of the three.
Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla departed for legitimate reasons, but England will count themselves fortunate to get rid of Jacques Kallis in controversial fashion.
Smith celebrated his 94th Test as captain – now the most by anyone – by winning the toss under clear skies. Sunny conditions, though, soon made way for rolling clouds – and paved the way for testing swing, from the right hand of Anderson in particular.
Anderson enjoyed the bulk of the lateral movement, and had the left-handed Smith caught behind in the ninth over of the day, but it was the introduction of Steven Finn that truly set the contest underway.
Finn, picked at his homeground ahead of Tim Bresnan, stole his opportunity with both hands. Snaffling Petersen down the leg-side with some sharp, if wayward, bounce, the lanky pace ace then removed Amla with a veritable peach that nipped off the seam to castle the right-hander through the gate.
Two overs later, Kallis became Finn's third victim – but a thoroughly undeserving one. Conclusive evidence to send him packing was lacking entirely.
Umpire Kumar Dharmasena duly rejected another appeal for a catch down the leg-side, and plenty of television replays warranted his decision. England's review, however, triumphed on the back of a remarkably questionable decision from third umpire Rod Tucker.
Tucker deemed the ball to have glanced the right glove, which had certainly been removed from gripping the handle quickly enough by Kallis. Further footage justified suggestion of daylight between the pair of gloves, if the ball had even touched the batsman's digits at all.
The decision drew plenty of ire on Twitter, with former South African wicketkeeper-batsman and close friend of Kallis, Mark Boucher, labeling Tucker's choice "Shocking!"
The lunch break was prolonged 20 minutes due to a burst of rain, allowing AB de Villiers and Jacques Rudolph more time to contemplate the fightback. The duo obliged to the tune of a 51-run stand for the fifth wicket, ended when de Villiers through his bat at a wide delivery from Anderson, duly holing out in the slip cordon.
Duminy was quick to pick up where his limited-overs captain left off, and Rudolph offered good company until falling to an off-spinner for the third time on the trot, with Graeme Swann cherishing his first Test wicket in almost three months.
A third consecutive half-century fueled the tourists' nagging resurgence, Duminy and Philander this time at the fore. The left-hander graduated to a fine half-century shortly before perishing a mere three deliveries into the second new ball – a lazy cut proved his undoing.
Philander, for his highest Test score, and Dale Steyn, for his ambitions of being a genuine all-rounder dug in further – long enough for a failed floodlight and bad light to close proceedings.
South Africa and England – through measured choice and wasteful haste – used all their referrals on day one, and Friday will leave the players to their own devices and free of Tucker's blunders.
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