South Africa level series with devastating victory on day four

Sandy Mccarthy
July 18, 2017

It may be recalled here that England had won the first Test at Lords by 211 runs.

South Africa took England's last three wickets for no runs in four balls, hammering home its big victory and completing a dramatic turnaround in the series after the Proteas were the ones who appeared vulnerable in the first test.

Hopes that England might chase down a world-record 474 runs for victory were dispelled by the second over when Philander removed Keaton Jennings' off-stump, following up soon afterwards by having Gary Ballance for lbw. In their spells, they went through the England top-order and Morris took two key wickets which included that of skipper Joe Root and Alastair Cook. Going into that Test I was a bit cold with the ankle injury that I sustained playing for Sussex.

England resumed with Cook and fellow left-handed opener Jennings both unbeaten on nought.

For South Africa, Vernon Philander and Chris Morris were the wrecker-in-chiefs. Root had made 190 in his first innings as captain at Lord's and top-scored with 78 in their meagre first innings 205 this match.

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Cook's near two-hour innings ended when he was beaten for pace by a well-directed Morris bouncer and gloved down the legside, where wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock held a fine catch.

The hosts fell away alarmingly after the interval when Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali surrendered their wickets to poor shots while Philander removed the unsafe Ben Stokes with the sharpest of return catches.

The trend continued nine balls after lunch when Jonny Bairstow slapped a delivery from Keshav Maharaj into the hands of mid-on to go for 16. "It was tough going for us, the previous one, we weren't as good as we would like to have been but in cricket you get another go and we're looking forward to this Test". Moeen Ali hit six fours in his 27 before he too made a present of his wicket to Maharaj, sweeping the spinner straight to square leg. Stokes at least gutsed it out for more than an hour while making 18 before he was caught and bowled off a low checked drive by Philander.

The two teams pitch up at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, today for day one of the second Test. England have not lost a Test at Trent Bridge for 10 years and will be eager to get their seam attack of Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Mark Wood into the visitors early on. The series continues at The Oval on July 27.

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