Proteas leave Cape Town the happier side


The second Test between South Africa and England ended in a draw on the afternoon of day five in Cape Town, but the second half of the match belonged to the hosts and they will be upbeat heading to Johannesburg.

Days three and four belonged to the Proteas, first with Hashim Amla's double century to somewhat counter Ben Stokes' onslaught, then a return to some form for Faf du Plessis, and then a historic ton for Temba Bavuma.

And day five was theirs too, as England were reduced to 159 for six and would have been a bit worried at one stage, when they were four down for a lead of just 89. If the rain hadn't arrived, the ending could well have been a thriller.

But a draw it was, after the first four days saw batsmen from both sides cashing in on the veritable tar road of a track. Nearly 1300 runs were scored in the first two innings, with both sides notching up a double ton and regular century.

Day five began with England on 16 for none, having been put in to bat late on day four after the Proteas declared two runs shy of parity, on 627/7. If a wicket or two had fallen in those six overs…

The Proteas used the cloud cover on day five to extract some swing, and Alastair Cook and Alex Hales soon found themselves back in the hut. Hales' dismissal for five was especially good, as Chris Morris replicated his superb slip catch from the first innings, except with the other hand.

England's middle order all failed to get past the 20s, as Dane Piedt took three wickets, and Morris bowled Joe Root for 29. When Stokes got out for 26, there was a real feeling of the cat being amongst the proverbial pigeons.

But Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali stood firm after that, and took the side to tea on six down. They then batted out six more overs in the evening session, before the weather finally saw the game off.

England thus still lead the series one-nil, and with a big gap till the next match at the Wanderers on 14 January, they'll be hoping Dale Steyn's seemingly on-track recovery gets derailed somehow.