• Hales fights lonely battle

    Alex Hales finally scored his first hundred of the series but the rest of the England batting line-up shot themselves in the foot to reach 236 all out at Newlands on Sunday.

    England were the architects of their own downfall because even though the scoreboard will suggest otherwise, the bowling was mediocre at best.

    Hales was the exception for England and his 112 was his first century of the series after he had scored a fifty in each of the previous four games.

    Cruising at 155-4, England collapsed to 192-8 as their ultra-attacking approach failed them. They were aided by some poor bowling from the home side where Chris Morris, the hero in the previous game on Friday, became the villain.

    He conceded 15 runs in his first over and 29 in his first three. Kyle Abbott bowled with the most discipline, but the rest of the attack bowled too many leg-side deliveries and were too inconsistent with their line and lengths which England duly punished.

    Despite losing the toss under overhead conditions, the visitors scored at a healthy rate for most of their innings and looked like they could post a score close to 300.

    An inspiring spell from Kagiso Rabada changed the innings as he struck twice in one over to remove England’s two most destructive batsmen, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.

    Stokes was bowled for 29 while walking across his stumps to try and flick Rabada through the leg side. He missed the ball which went on to remove the bails. Buttler was bowled with a beauty from Rabada for his second golden duck in three innings which took England from a promising position to a precarious one.

    Hales, in the nineties, stood at the non-strikers end and watched as Moeen Ali and then Chris Woakes gave their wickets away. Farhaan Behardien took a good jumping catch to get rid of Moeen while Woakes flicked a poor delivery down the leg side from David Wiese straight to Kyle Abbott at fine-leg.

    Hales eventually reached his hundred with a glorious on drive off Morris for four but once he was caught on the boundary by Rilee Rossouw, in for JP Duminy in this match, England didn’t last long.

    AB de Villiers had a good day as captain by using his bowlers well throughout. His move to bring Imran Tahir into the attack as early as the fifth over paid off when the leg-spinner had Jason Roy trapped lbw off the last ball of his first over.

    Joe Root was given out lbw as well but only after Tahir convinced De Villiers to review the original decision which was not out.

    Rabada was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-34 in nine overs.


    Picture: Getty