James Anderson’s 4-33 has left the Proteas struggling on 220-9 going into day three of the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
You know you’re good when you get a stand named after you, and on the eve of the fourth Test at James Anderson’s stomping ground, Old Trafford, the 35-year-old seamer had his name etched on to the old Pavilion stand to commemorate a career that has seen him take 484 wickets from 126 Tests and still counting.
It comes as no surprise then, that the man to do all of the damage on day two from the James Anderson stand was the man himself, as the Proteas top order, once again, struggled to handle the English conditions.
One stand-out moment from the Proteas innings was Temba Bavuma, who, for the umpteenth time in this series, prevented a complete batting collapse. Coming in at No 4 ahead of Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis, Bavuma struck 46 and it was the highest score of the innings, staking his claim to become permanent in that position in the continued absence of AB de Villiers.
It was an otherwise lacklustre batting display, as the majority of the batsmen struggled against Anderson’s probing-length deliveries just outside off-stump.
England started day two on 260-6, and thanks almost single-handedly to Jonny Bairstow, they were able to add another 102 runs. Bairstow began on 37, and when Kagiso Rabada picked up his fourth wicket to restrict the hosts to 312-9, they felt like it was job well done. But a 50-run stand then followed between Anderson and Bairstow, before Bairstow was trapped lbw by Keshav Maharaj (2-58), one run short of what would have been a well-deserved century.
With four overs to survive the first session, Dean Elgar lasted only three balls as Anderson got him lbw for a duck. Hashim Amla was industrious after the break as he raced to 30 off 35 balls, but it took only two Toby Roland-Jones deliveries for the paceman to get Amla out for the third time in as many innings.
Bavuma and Kuhn then put together a useful 37-run stand, but Kuhn, struggling with a tight left hamstring, fell for a stagnant 24 as Moeen Ali found the edge to slip.
Another handy partnership followed between Bavuma and Faf du Plessis, but the Proteas’ innings came crashing down in the space of three Anderson deliveries. Bavuma left one which seamed in and crashed on to his off-stump, before Du Plessis chopped one on to walk back for 27.
Anderson could have had another an over later as Theunis de Bruyn edged a delivery which jumped up on him to gully, only for Keaton Jennings to fail to hang on to the one-handed effort. He did eventually have his man six overs later, as De Bruyn fell victim to another delivery on a good, angling length, edging it to Joe Root at second slip for 11. That was Anderson’s fourth wicket, to boast figures of 4-33 from his 15 overs.
Then the key wicket, as an uncharacteristically patient De Kock, who was at one point on six off 38 balls, perished in Stuart Broad’s first over of his third spell, becoming the latest South African batsman to fend at one outside off-stump and get the edge to trudge back for 24.
Maharaj struck a six to make sure South Africa would avoid the follow-on, but when he departed for 13, a bit of a fight was then shown by Rabada and Morne Morkel as they managed to get the side past 200 with a very well-played 34-run stand. With four balls remaining in the day however, Broad had his second wicket of the innings, removing Rabada for 23, thanks to a superb low catch from Ben Stokes.
It put the seal on England’s day, with the Proteas needing to fight hard with the ball on day three. Morkel is still there on 18 with Duanne Olivier, with the Proteas on 220-9.
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