The bowlers need to unsettle Joe Root from the onset if they’re to stem the tide in the morning session on day two, with England on 357-5.
It was a day of toil and reflection for the Proteas at Lord’s on day one. England’s top three were wiped out as they went into lunch on 82-4. By the end of the day they were on 357-5, in what was a complete masterclass from England’s new captain.
There was a bit of luck for Root along the way. In fact, there was a lot of luck on the way. A missed opportunity on the boundary when he was on five, a dropped catch at gully when he was on 16, and a wicket off a no-ball when he was on 149. It needn’t matter now, for Root is just 27 runs away from the highest-ever score on captaincy debut.
There were nine no-balls on day one. Two of them produced wickets, as Morne Morkel broke the record for the most wickets taken off no-balls in Tests (12). Keshav Maharaj was the other guilty party. One ball, Root was walking off the field, the next he was raising his bat for 150.
All is not lost for the Proteas. Vernon Philander was in superb form for his 3-46 and the ball is still new. Maharaj and Rabada struggled, but if Maharaj can get some more rip from the Nursery End, and Rabada finds his rhythm better than he did on Thursday, some early wickets will go a long way to getting them back on track and alleviating the pressure off the batsmen.
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