England toured South Africa in the 2015-16 season in a four-match series, like the current one, ANDRE HUISAMEN looks back at when Stuart Broad starred at the Wanderers.
At that time the Proteas were still the No 1-ranked team in red-ball cricket, but the visitors had plans of their own to keep their excellent Test record on South African soil intact.
The tourists won the first Test in Durban, which started on Boxing Day and after the drawn run fest at Newlands in the second Test – famous for the double ton by Ben Stokes as well as one in reply from Hashim Amla, the Proteas needed to win at the Wanderers to keep the series alive.
The build-up to the Test in Johannesburg was somewhat controversial after Amla resigned as captain following the draw in Cape Town.
It allowed AB de Villiers to lead the team for the remainder of the series.
Russell Domingo’s side were already somewhat weakened when Dale Steyn and Kyle Abbott were ruled out for the rest of the series after the first Test. Added to this, Vernon Philander was also unavailable due to injury.
And it got even worse on the morning of the first day of the Wanderers Test when Quinton de Kock withdrew from the squad due to a knee injury. It meant Cobras wicketkeeper Dane Vilas had to be urgently flown from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg. Vilas was due to play a Sunfoil Series match for the Cape Cobras against the Warriors starting on the same day and he arrived at the ground just in time as De Villiers won the toss and elected to bat, giving his new wicketkeeper some much-needed time to settle in.
The 34-year-old made his Test debut a few months prior when South Africa played a single match against Bangladesh. He was also part of the team that lost 3-0 in India a short while later as the Proteas Test setup began to show some cracks.
The Proteas opted for an all-pace attack for the Wanderers with the hope of getting the most out of the reliably fast wicket. Local boy Hardus Viljoen made his Test debut when he replaced spinner Dane Piedt, while Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris completed the bowling attack.
Stiaan van Zyl started under mounting pressure and opened the batting with Dean Elgar. For the first hour the pair looked very steady and solid until Van Zyl nicked Ben Stokes behind to Jonny Bairstow.
The Proteas batting lineup never got going but luckily most players got some sort of a start, which took them to 313 before being dismissed, with Elgar top scoring on 46.
England’s first innings with the bat followed a similar route as they managed 323 with only Joe Root, who made 110, and Ben Stokes (58) getting big scores. On the bowling front it was the very first time Rabada took a five-wicket haul in Test cricket, while Viljoen got his first Test scalp with the big wicket of Alastair Cook.
The Proteas wouldn’t have worried about the 10-run deficit, but the two afternoon sessions on day three turned into one of the worst batting performances ever by the Proteas.
The hope of putting on a big second-innings tally was ruined as quickly as it started when Stuart Broad ripped through the hosts’ on a gloomy Johannesburg afternoon.
The fast bowler got the ball to nip around and proved to be simply unplayable, hitting the perfect line and length that even AB de Villiers couldn’t master; the star gone for a rare duck.
Broad produced a scintillating spell of five wickets for one run in 36 deliveries after lunch as the Proteas went from 23-0, and in a good position, to 35-5 in the blink of an eye.
It was the seventh time in Broad’s career that he had taken a five-wicket haul in a single spell.
The famous Bullring, where South African cricket has had some of its finest and most famous moments, turned into a loud English carnival with the Barmy Army getting behind every ball that Broad and Co. delivered.
The Proteas would eventually scramble to 83 all out, their lowest total in South Africa since re-admission, setting England a target of 74 to win the Test and ultimately the series. Broad finished with figures of 6-17.
The visitors wrapped things up that same afternoon with seven wickets to spare to take an unassailable 2-0 series lead with the Centurion Test remaining.
The defeat at the Wanderers saw the Proteas relinquish their status as the No 1 team in Test cricket with India moving top.
Subsequently, Broad also became the new No 1-ranked bowler in the Test cricket format following his Man of the Match performance.
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