A 99-run stand between Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn got the Proteas to 214-5 by the close of day two against England at Lord’s.
It was a day that saw the sides take turns to enjoy periods of success throughout the day, and while the Proteas should avoid following on, that will be their first task before they start to build towards England’s 458.
Dean Elgar produced a batting display that we’ve come to expect of him, and it was pleasing to see that the added burden of being captain didn’t affect the way he went about his game. His 54 guided the side past 100, and while there was a bit of a collapse, Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn steered them away from trouble.
There were probably mixed feelings in the Proteas camp in the morning session, as 101 runs were added to the overnight total. They were quick to see off new England skipper Joe Root for 190 and Liam Dawson for a second-ball duck, but Moeen Ali’s 87 and Stuart Broad’s 47-ball 58 frustrated the tourists immensely. The 10th-wicket stand yielded 45 runs from just 27 balls.
Morne Morkel was the stand-out performer on day two to finish with figures of 4-115, but Vernon Philander was probably the pick of them for seeing off three of the top four on day one to bag 3-67.
Elgar and debutant Heino Kuhn did well to see off the last four overs before lunch, but Kuhn quickly realised the challenges that come with stepping up to the highest level. An excellent length delivery from Broad forced Kuhn’s edge, to walk back for one.
Hashim Amla and Elgar then produced a brisk 72-run stand, before Moeen had the first of his two wickets on the day, somewhat against the run of play. A low delivery spun enough to trap Amla on the pads for 29, and he was forced to depart.
That then brought about two more quick wickets. Elgar hit one on to his pads which lobbed up to Gary Ballance just after tea, and JP Duminy’s form is going to come under severe examination once again as he made it seven innings without passing fifty. It was a decent delivery from Broad, as it cut in and kept slightly low for it to crash on to Duminy’s pads for 15.
Then came the resistance, as Bavuma (48) and De Bruyn showed excellent composure after they were left exposed on 104-4. The pair navigated their side out of danger with a variety of classy shots, with the pace bowlers struggling to get the reverse swing they were hoping for.
But England had the last laugh. De Bruyn was creeping towards what would have been a first Test fifty, but Anderson had other ideas, as he found the edge for the Knights captain to walk back to the hut for 48. Kagiso Rabada came in as nightwatchman and did a decent job of holding the fort. He’ll go into day three on nine with Bavuma, on what is an excellent opportunity to show his capabilities as an all-rounder.
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