The Proteas battled to 56-1, before a rain delay cut short the first session of the second Test at Trent Bridge.
Faf du Plessis meant business at the toss. He won it, he had no hesitation in batting first, and he announced three changes to the side that lost by 211 runs in the first Test at Lord’s.
Knowing that Trent Bridge possessed seam-friendly conditions, along with gloomy overhead weather, Du Plessis admitted that the first session was going to be tough, and while it was, Heino Kuhn and Hashim Amla did brilliantly to rise to the challenge.
Du Plessis came in for JP Duminy, Duanne Olivier replaced the suspended Kagiso Rabada, and the big news at the toss was Chris Morris’s inclusion as an extra seamer, with Theunis de Bruyn sacrificed.
Stuart Broad and James Anderson have excellent records in Nottingham, and they asked all kinds of questions of the top three, and eventually they had a breakthrough. Dean Elgar and Kuhn saw off the first 8.5 overs, but Elgar flashed at one off a slightly wide delivery from Anderson, and Liam Dawson took an excellent grab at gully for the first-Test captain to depart for six.
That was Anderson’s 300th wicket in England, but South Africa had an experienced campaigner of their own looking to knock off a milestone. Amla needed eight more runs to notch up 8 000 Test runs, and he did it with a trademark flick of the wrists to the square leg boundary for four. He became the 20th fastest in history, and the fourth-quickest South African behind Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith.
Kuhn showed the mettle that he’s displayed for many years in domestic cricket, and this could be the knock that shows that he belongs in this side. The ball was continuing to move around in challenging fashion though, and a brief rain delay handed Kuhn and Amla a bit of reprieve.
They came back just before lunch and an unsuccessful lbw review was a close as the English got, with Kuhn and Amla doing well to see them through to lunch on 56-1, with Kuhn on 34 and Amla on 16.
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