Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock steered the Proteas to 179-2 at tea on day one of the Test at Trent Bridge. JON CARDINELLI reports.
A few eyebrows were raised after Faf du Plessis won the toss on an overcast morning in Nottingham and decided to bat. Two sessions on, however, and South Africa are only two wickets down.
Batting hasn’t been easy, and yet the visitors have managed to play themselves into a strong position. Amla and De Kock are well set, and should look to crack on after tea.
Heino Kuhn deserves credit for the part he played before and after lunch. Kuhn and Amla put on 48 runs for the second wicket during a period of the game when England’s bowlers were well and truly on top.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad beat the bat on numerous occasions. The hosts’ frustration was compounded by a couple of erroneous review decisions. By the 24th over, England had used both.
Broad troubled Kuhn with a series of deliveries that seamed back into the right-hand batsman. Kuhn battled to adjust, and eventually played one such ball back on to his stumps.
De Kock was promoted up the order and proceeded to play with patience and composure. At the other end, Amla survived the assault by Anderson and Broad. The one delivery Amla did manage to nick, fell short of Joe Root at slip.
The Proteas shifted gear after the drinks break. Amla hit Liam Dawson for six to reach his half century. De Kock enjoyed success against fast bowler Mark Wood, and against the left-arm spinner.
England could have had Amla out for 55. The South African batsman attempted to drive a full Ben Stokes delivery, but only succeeded in finding an edge. The ball flew to Alastair Cook, who failed to take a low catch.
De Kock reached his 50 off just 59 deliveries. Both batsmen continued to grow in confidence as the clouds parted and the ball got older.
This partnership has already yielded 113 runs for South Africa. The Proteas should be looking to ram the advantage home in the final session of day one.
SA 179-2 (1st innings) – Quinton de Kock 68 not out, Hashim Amla 65 not out, Heino Kuhn 34, Stuart Broad 1-26
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