Sunday , February 28 2021

South Africa v England: fourth Test, day two – as it happened – The Guardian, Theguardian.com

Stumps: England lead by 407 runs

England will have to work exceptionally hard to mess this up. They are in total control after a brilliant second half of the day. At one stage, when England were for nine , the match was nicely poised. Then Mark Wood and Stuart Broad larruped 120 in just 8.2 overs before the bowlers squeezed the life out of South Africa with a relentless performance.

South Africa could only manage (runs in 5 overs, and they lost six wickets as well. Three of them went to Wood, who is having a helluva time right now, while Chris Woakes bowled beautifully and deserved more than one wicket.

Updated at

am EST

WICKET! South Africa – 6 (Nortje c Denly b Wood 6)

England end a brilliant day with another wicket. Wood jumps wide on the crease and squares Nortje up, with Denly taking a smart catch in the gully. South Africa are in disarray, it’s true, but England bowled with ferocious intent after tea. Woakes and Wood, in particular, were brilliant.

Anrich Nortje is caught by Joe Denly. (Anrich Nortje is caught by Joe Denly. () Anrich Nortje is caught by Joe Denly. Photograph: Stu Forster / Getty Images

Updated (at) ) (am EST )

“Never mind Wood’s bowling figures,” says Tom Adam, “he’s averaging 97 with the bat this series !! ”

Updated (at) 52 am EST

. (am EST 34: 43

(st over: South Africa) – 5 (de Kock

There should be time for two more overs. Stokes continues to de Kock, who helps a poor delivery round the corner for four more. He is South Africa’s best batsman by a mile, and is just ahead of Stokes as (the leading run-scorer in the series) .

. (am EST :

(th over: South Africa) (5) de Kock , Nortje 6) In his last two and a bit appearances, Mark Wood has shaved seven runs off his Test bowling average. It was

, it’s now – and it almost drops to . when Nortje is beaten outside off stump. Wood is bowling really sharply, with everything between – mph in that over.

Updated (at)

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(th over: South Africa) (5) de Kock , Nortje 6)

. (AM) (EST) :

(th over: South Africa) 5 (de Kock , Nortje 4 (

. am (EST)

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WICKET! South Africa – 5 (Bavuma c Stokes b Wood 6)

Another one gone! Bavuma edges a sharp delivery from Wood to second slip, where Stokes takes a smart low catch. The umpires go upstairs to check, with a soft signal of out, and replays confirm it was a clean take.

Anrich Nortje is caught by Joe Denly. () Mark Wood celebrates after dismissing Bavuma. Photograph: Stu Forster / Getty Images

Updated at . am EST

26 am EST 34:

(th over: South Africa) – 4 (de Kock , Bavuma 6) Stokes replaces Broad, whose figures of 9-3 – 37 – 0 are slightly flattering. He tries to tempt de Kock with a few fuller deliveries angled across him; de Kock declines the offer.

am EST :

59 th over: South Africa 95 – 4 (de Kock , Bavuma 6) Mark Wood replaces Chris Woakes. Quinton de Kock is beaten, chasing a very wide half-volley, and then gets off strike with a single to fine leg. There’s just over half an hour’s play remaining.

. 76 am EST 34:

th over: South Africa 172 – 4 (de Kock 45, Bavuma 6) Bavuma is beaten, chasing a wide one from Broad. If South Africa lose any more wickets before the close they will struggle to draw this match, never mind win it.

Updated (at) 77 am EST

rd over South Africa: – 4 (de Kock, Bavuma 5) Broad, who hasn’t been at his best today, goes wider on the crease to beat de Kock with an extravagant leg -c utter. That was beautifully bowled. It feels like there has been a play-and-miss in almost every over of this innings.

“Can I select myself in a What-Might-Have-Been XI (RH Medium-Fast)?” Asks Matt Dony. “Had things panned out

differently, growing up in different circumstances in a different place with a different level of ability, who knows? Sliding doors, and all that … ”

You really should be a philosophy teacher.

34 EST) :

nd over: South Africa – 4 (de Kock, Bavuma 4)

“It must be annoying for some to see Root doing good captaining,” says Ian Copestake. “A bit too much pleasure is taken writing people off. Buttler seems next in the firing line. ”

Bloodlust is the new empathy.

(st over: South Africa) – 4 (de Kock, Bavuma 3) There is a whiff of Joe Denly about Bavuma’s Test career. He looks an accomplished player, very neat and tidy, yet he averages and has only one century from 59 Tests.

Updated (at) am EST

. (am EST

WICKET! South Africa 82 – 4 (du Plessis LBW b Woakes 3)

Chris Woakes gets the wicket he deserves. He shaped one back sharply to Faf du Plessis, who was hit high on the pad and given out LBW by Rod Tucker. I thought it looked high, and du Plessis (reviewed) almost straight away, but it was (just) Umpire’s Call. du Plessis, who was batting with intense determination, has gone for 3 from balls. That ball from Woakes came back a long way; I’m not sure there was much he could have done.

Anrich Nortje is caught by Joe Denly. () () Faf du Plessis is dismissed LBW. Photograph: Christiaan Kotze / AFP / Getty Images

Updated (at) . am EST

. am EST :

51 th over: South Africa – 3 (du Plessis 3, de Kock

Updated (at) . am EST

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(th over: South Africa) – 3 (du Plessis 3, de Kock

Derek Underachieverwood Sanjay not with a Bangar but a Victor Trumper Don Flopley OBO: Alternative Timeline de Lisle

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50 th over: South Africa – 3 (du Plessis 3, de Kock

“I’d like to suggest Graham Onions for your XI,” says Scott Roberts. “I felt so sorry for him that his international career was so cut short by injury, as in his pomp he had a beautiful action, sending down pitched up 212 mph beauties from very tight to the stumps, zipping either way off the deck. He could / should have matched Philander’s international record. Also worthy of a mention is Chris Tremlett, whose career was also hugely curtailed due to injury. At his best he must have been a nightmare to face. Poor lads. ”

Yes, both are excellent shouts. I’m not sure Onions would have matched Philander, whose record is extraordinary, but in a different era I’d have fancied him to take (wickets at . Also, imagine him nipping it both ways off the bowler-friendly Test pitches we have seen in the last 3-4 years.

34 am EST 32:

49 th over: South Africa – 3 (du Plessis 2, de Kock 6

“Hi Rob,” says Eva Maaten. “I am sure you’re familiar from the Sky coverage with pictures of happy groups of South African fans singing traditional songs – today, one such group is situated straight behind us and while the atmosphere is indeed electric, it feels a bit like one is Watching the cricket as a silent movie – nothing can be heard but the singing. I think, I prefer them slightly further away from me … all great fun, though.

“On the topic of Buttler: I really feel for him, he seems an intelligent perfectionist which means one he can be his own worst enemy in situations when you should simply trust your instincts and go with the flow. ”

Tell me about it rofl.

9. 81 am EST 31:

47 th over: South Africa 61 – 3 (du Plessis 2, de Kock 0

Quinton de Kock, promoted to No5, is greeted by a nasty lifter from stokes that hits him on the glove. This pitch is starting to look a little uneven.

That Elgar dismissal, meanwhile, was almost surreal. Stokes looked embarrassed that such a bad delivery had taken a wicket. Elgar stood still for ages, trying to work out what the hell he had just done.

Dean Elgar walks after being caught by Woakes.

:

45 nd over: South Africa 61 – 2 (Elgar, du Plessis 0) Elgar edges Stokes between third slip and gully for four. He is beaten later in the over, fishing instinctively outside off stump. It feels like another wicket could fall at any moment.

“My humble contribution,” says Romeo. “Milburn, Jones A, Romeo (in batting guise), Smith E (so we could fully appreciate his genius), Donald A, Jesty, Kieswetter, Sainsbury, Chapple (aka HSA), Shepherd, Romeo (in bowling guise).”

Chapple is an interesting one. It seemed certain he’d play Test cricket after that incredible series against India A in (-) .

(9.) (am) EST :

44 st over: South Africa 56 – 2 (Elgar, du Plessis 0) This has been an excellent bowling performance from England, an d South Africa are in a deal of trouble now.

Updated (at 9.) am EST

WICKET! South Africa – 2 (van der Dussen c Stokes b Curran 0)

Sam Curran replaces Mark Wood, who is hooked despite taking the wicket of Pieter Malan. I think that’s fair enough after a five-over spell, however tempting it must have been to give him one more. And it’s another good decision from Joe Root, because Rassie van der Dussen has gone for a duck!

He curtain-railed a good-length delivery from Curran to the right of second slip, where Stokes took a nonchalant and vaguely brilliant two-handed catch.

(9.) (am EST

WICKET! South Africa – 1 (Malan c Buttler b Wood 39

Wood is given a fifth over, which is fair enough given how menacing he looked in this fourth. And what a good decision it was! He has picked up the wicket of Pieter Malan, who edged a beautiful delivery through to Buttler. It was very close to a no-ball, but Wood just landed behind the line.

Anrich Nortje is caught by Joe Denly.Anrich Nortje is caught by Joe Denly. () () Pieter Malan walks. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Updated at 9. 61 am EST

9. am EST :

Ben Stokes update

per cent of his match fee and given one demerit point for yesterday’s contretemps with a South African fan.

Pieter Malan walks. 9. am EST :

(th over: South Africa) (0) Elgar 37, Malan 39) Although England would have liked a wicket or two with the new ball, the scoring rate is such that they will feel pretty relaxed. They have bowled pretty well, with excellent discipline, and Woakes (6-3-7-0) has been the pick of the attack. He beats Malan with a fine full-length delivery that straightens past the edge. England went up for caught behind without success. The noise that got them excited was bat on pad.

Updated

(9.) (am EST :

(th over: South Africa) – 0 (Elgar 8, Malan 9)

“Alas,” says Gary Naylor, “I fear Moeen for Tufnell in that XI.”

Really? I think Moeen has overachieved in his Test career, certainly with the ball. I suppose we’ll never know what would have happened had he not been the designated utliity batsman, though I don’t think he would have averaged more than – .

Updated (at 9.) am EST

(9.) (am EST

(th over: South Africa) – 0 (Elgar 4, Malan 9)

Here’s Richard Firth’s WMHB XI: “Knight, Stewart (because if he had just been left to be an opener, he would have been amazing), Hick, Fairbrother, Crawley, Ramprakash, Buttler, Headley, S .Jones, Bicknell, Tufnell. ”

Stewart is a good shout – from memory he scored (runs at

. when he opened the batting and did not keep wicket.

(th over: South Africa) (0 (Elgar 4, Malan 9)

In a one-day team, almost certainly, although I never thought he’d make it in Test cricket. That sounds a bit callous, I realise, but there’s no room for sentiment when you’re picking a hypothetical sentimental XI!

Tea

37 th over: South Africa (0) (0, Elgar 4, Malan 7) That’s tea. It was a session of two distinct segments. England biffed (from) . 2 overs, including a last-wicket partnership of 125 in 8.2 between Mark Wood and Stuart Broad. Then South Africa’s openers Anrich Nortje is caught by Joe Denly. calmed everything down by adopting the oldfangled method of leaving as many deliveries as possible. See you in 38 minutes for the evening session.

, ”Says Tom Bowtell. “England scored in the second innings with no fifties and the highest score being Harmison’s (at number) . ”

Was Harmison’s really the highest score? Morally? But yes, I love scorecards like that. The one burned on my brain is England’s second innings at Trinidad in

. Go on, extras lad!

(8. (am EST : 60

36 th over: South Africa 8-0 (Elgar 3, Malan 5) Woakes beats Malan with a fine delivery. He has started well, with a fullish length and a soupçon of outswing. Jeez I love that word. South Africa are going nowhere at the moment, though I doubt that will bother two openers as temperamentally sound as Elgar and Malan.

(8.) (am EST) :

9th over: South Africa 8-0 (Elgar 3, Malan 5) Broad continues, in fact, and tempts Elgar into a loose stroke well wide of off stump. The ball whistles past the edge through to Buttler.

“I’m an unabashed Foakes Fan,” says Stephen Brown. “In terms of your point about Ed Smith having the reflected glory of Buttler’s ; Jos didn’t have the gloves in most (any?) Of those games. Surely selectors might be tempted to regain that glory by taking the gloves off him and giving them to Foakes? ”

Yes you’re right, he played as a batsman, but I still don’t think it will be an easy decision to leave him out – especially as the next time buttler is dropped will probably be the last . Nobody wants to die wondering about his Test career. But my feeling is that, barring a good spell in , he has never quite got his head round how to bat in first-class cricket.

(8.) (am) (EST) :

8th over: South Africa 6-0 (Elgar 2, Malan 4) Chris Woakes comes on for Sam Curran , who bowled a good spell of 3-1-3-0 and might switch ends to replace Broad. His first over, to Malan, is a decent range-finder. A maiden.

(8.) (am) EST :

7th over: South Africa 6-0 (Elgar 2, Malan 4) Malan, tempted into the drive by a fuller delivery from Broad, drags the ball back onto his pads. It’s been a quiet start to the innings – a bit of movement, especially for Curran, but it’s not exactly going off alarming.

8. am EST : 37

6th over: South Africa 5-0 (Elgar 2, Malan 3) The South African openers, Elgar in particular, are playing as little as possible. Curran gives him plenty of opportunity to shoulder arms in that over.

5th over: South Africa 4-0 (Elgar 2, Malan 2) A good over from Broad, who Found a better line from round the wicket. His last delivery jagged back to cut Elgar in half; that could easily have found the inside edge and gone back onto the stumps.

“Many thanks to Ian Forth for the (Georgics) (over

), ”says Stuart Middleton. “The piling of Pelion upon Ossa also appears in (The Odyssey) (XI.) – 37) where the giants Otos and Ephialtes threaten war against the gods’ and were minded to pile Ossa on Olympos, and above Ossa / Pelion of the trembling leaves, to climb the sky . ‘(trans. Richmond Lattimore). ”

4th over: South Africa 2-0 (Elgar 1, Malan 1) Malan shoulders arms to a ball that jags back to hit him on the thigh pad. It was a very safe leave on length. The movement is encouraging, though, and later in the over Malan digs out a lovely inswinging yorker. With the new ball swinging Curran looks a threat, and if Broad has one more poor over I would replace him with Woakes.

3rd over: South Africa 2-0 (Elgar 1, Malan 1) Another maiden from Broad, with Elgar able to leave almost everything. He hasn’t started brilliantly.

“Regarding Ben Foakes and The Ongoing Argument, I guess that if your keeper is only going to score 43 Runs, whoever you pick, you might as well pick the best keeper, ”says David Horn. “I think whoever gets the gloves in Sri Lanka will be quite revealing of Ed Smith’s flexibility of thought, as much as anything else.”

I think it should be Foakes, but I suspect Buttler will be given one more series. Ed Smith enjoyed the reflected glory of Buttler’s success in , so it won’t be easy to leave him out.

2nd over: South Africa 2-0 (Elgar 1, Malan 1) Curran’s first ball, wide of Malan’s off stump, curves encouragingly through to the keeper. His fifth is even better, zipping slightly the other way to beat Malan’s crooked defensive grope. That’s an excellent start.

“Helllo,” writes Vigasini Senthil. “I absolutely love following Guardian for live cricket matches. I started watching cricket from last May (starting with the World Cup) and was hooked. Being a typical Indian cricket fan, I don’t know how I switched lanes to England. During the finals, I spent half of the matches at my prayer room. I still vividly remember myself saying to God about how I would stop watching cricket if England didn’t win the World Cup. (I still can’t believe I did this). When they did win, I was way more than happy and a tiny bit emotional too. Now I never miss any T s, ODIs or Tests. Getting to watch England play (let alone win) makes me so, so happy. Seems like I came at the right time. I’m 48 years old btw. ”

If this isn’t the sweetest email we’ll receive all year, I don’t know what is.

1st over: South Africa 0-0 (Elgar 0, Malan 0) Stuart Broad will open the bowling, on the ground

It’ll be interesting to see who takes the new ball for England . I’d go with Woakes and Broad, since you didn’t ask, although it’s also tempting to give it to Mark Wood while he’s still high on his own batting.

Updated (at 7.) am EST

:

Let’s look at those two innings in all their statistical glory:

(Wood) (*, (balls, 2×4, 3×6) (Broad) , balls 2×4 , 4×6

(am) (EST

(There have been , 437 Partnerships of fifty or more in Test cricket . At 9. 162 runs per over, (that was the (th fastest) .

am EST :

WICKET! England (all out) Broad c Malan b Paterson 62

Broad holes out to deep square leg to end a riotous tenth-wicket partnership of 125 in just 8.2 overs.

am EST :

th over: England – 9 (Wood

, Broad 59)

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