JON CARDINELLI reflects on the players and moments that shaped day five of the fourth Test at Centurion.
BATSMAN OF THE DAY
No England batsman looked comfortable in what were trying conditions. Moeen Ali did strike the ball well, though, and was the one batsman to finish not out.
BOWLER OF THE DAY
Who else? Kagiso Rabada took four wickets in the morning session to finish England off.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Moeen Ali played a beautiful off-drive against Morné Morkel to bring up England’s 100.
DELIVERY OF THE DAY
Tough one. Morné Morkel produced a peach to make the breakthrough: a ball that leapt up off a length and caught the edge of James Taylor’s bat. However, the significance of Kagiso Rabada’s delivery to Jonny Bairstow should not be downplayed. Rabada dismissed Bairstow with a no-ball, and then recovered to have Bairstow out caught behind the very next delivery.
RABADA ON A ROLL
This performance by Kagiso Rabada will be remembered for a long time. The 13-144 he took at Centurion was the second-best figures by a South African in Tests, and the best by a South African on home soil. Makhaya Ntini took 13-132 against the West Indies in Trinidad in 2005. The 20-year-old became the youngest South African to claim 10 wickets in a Test match, and the second-youngest player ever to take 13 in a game.
REPRIEVE FOR DE KOCK
Joe Root was fortunate when Quinton de Kock missed a stumping late on day four, and when the South African wicketkeeper dropped him during the initial stages of day five. Dane Piedt was the bowler on both occasions. Fortunately for De Kock, Root didn’t survive a third time when he edged Piedt to Dean Elgar at slip.
AB’S PLOY PAYS OFF
Eyebrows were raised when South African skipper AB de Villiers opened with Kyle Abbott at one end and Dane Piedt at the other. The ploy paid off, at least with regards to Piedt. The off-spinner claimed the key wicket of Root.
Ben Stokes walked away with the Man of the Series accolade, and deservedly so given his contributions with bat and ball. Special mention, however, should go to Hashim Amla. The South African No 3 scored the most runs in the series (465 at an average of 66.42, a record including two 100s and a 50). It was some comeback considering Amla scored 7 and 12 in the first Test.