South Africa gifted their wickets with poor judgement on a tricky wicket at the Wanderers, despite an indifferent bowling performance from England.
South Africa were 267-7 at stumps after day one as they batted at a rate of less than three runs an over.
Was Cape Town just a blip? Considering how different the conditions are between Newlands and the Wanderers, probably not; but they still should not have lost so many wickets.
This is not an easy wicket to bat on and none of the batsmen ever really looked in. There was always a chance for a wicket but the Proteas made it easier with their poor judgement in shot selection.
It was a frustrating day for the home side considering AB de Villiers had won the toss. While South Africa started the day well and faltered as it went on, England started the day poorly with the ball but improved as time went by.
Soft dismissals were the order of the day as four batsmen, Stiaan van Zyl, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Dane Vilas, got out trying to either pull or flick the ball through the on side.
Van Zyl got a top edge, De Villiers got glove to a delivery bouncing too high to pull, Du Plessis clipped one to deep square-leg and Vilas pulled one straight to deep backward square.
Hashim Amla was the only exception. He was undone by a peach from Steven Finn, England’s best bowler of the day, who forced Amla to push at a full, straight delivery which he nicked behind to Jonny Bairstow.
Temba Bavuma was run out after failing to respond quickly to a call from Vilas. Bavuma was left ball-watching instead of immediately setting off for the run. Vilas was running to the danger end, but because Bavuma delayed his run, the ball was thrown to the keeper’s end instead, where Bairstow managed to make up good ground with a diving stumping.
Vilas walked out to bat five hours after flying in from Port Elizabeth to replace the injured Quinton de Kock. He failed to make the most of his unexpected second life after being dropped for this series. He looked good in the middle coming off a double hundred (216) for the Cobras in the Sunfoil Series, but he needed to hang around for longer and displayed the same rashness and unnecessary shot making that characterised De Kock’s innings at Newlands.
Stiaan van Zyl was the only casualty in the morning session after he was caught by Bairstow for 21 trying to pull Ben Stokes through the on-side. The shot was very poorly executed by Van Zyl and puts him under immense pressure to come good in the second innings.
Chris Morris (26), who continues to provide important contributions with the bat, will continue his 42-run partnership with Kagiso Rabada (20) on day two.
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