Temba Bavuma, in at No 4, got to 30 as he steered the Proteas to 93-3 by tea on day two at Old Trafford.
So far so good for Bavuma, who was handed the opportunity to bat at No 4, and has taken the responsibility with both hands. Should Bavuma push on and get the Proteas out of trouble, we could well see a 4, 5, 6 of Bavuma, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock for the foreseeable future.
The man at the other end, for the majority of the session, arguably had a bigger task on his hands with his Test future on the line. It was a scratchy effort from Heino Kuhn, who struggled to hit the ball cleanly, while also battling with a tight left hamstring before falling for 24 off 76 deliveries.
The Proteas went into the second session on 12-1 after James Anderson, bowling from the James Anderson end for the first time, trapped Dean Elgar lbw for a duck on the stroke of lunch.
Hashim Amla and Kuhn were then tasked with preventing a top-order collapse, and Amla was looking good as he struck back-to-back boundaries on the off-side off Stuart Broad. Remembering that Toby Roland-Jones got Amla on both occasions in the third Test at The Oval, Joe Root brought Roland-Jones into the attack. Two balls later, he had his man.
It was an ordinary long-hop on the legside, but Amla gloved it behind to Jonny Bairstow to depart for 30 off 35 in the most frustrating of ways.
Then came Bavuma, ahead of De Kock and Du Plessis to try and stabilise matters. De Kock needed more time to rest from his wicketkeeping duties, and Du Plessis clearly feels that No 5 is where he should be batting. Bavuma went about his work efficiently, picking off the bad balls when available as he shared in a 37-run stand with Kuhn.
Three overs before tea Kuhn’s knock came to an end, as Moeen Ali was introduced into the attack and forced the edge, which was caught low and well by Ben Stokes.
Du Plessis (6) held on to the end of the session with Bavuma, leaving them precariously placed on 93-3.
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