Jacob Miltz’s 61 and a determined lower-order fightback hauled the South African U19s to 232 on the first day of the first Test against England, in Scarborough on Sunday.
The rearguard action was led by Jade de Klerk, one of only two players in the side with experience at this level, who scored a resolute 53 off 139 balls, picking up eight fours. He and Miltz, on debut, lifted South Africa from a precarious 97-5 to 121-6 after Wandile Makwetu had won the toss and elected to bat.
Miltz, a pupil of St David’s Marist Inanda, played with admirable concentration to reach his 61 off 112 balls, with 11 fours. He came in when the score was 12-1 and held up his end through four partnerships, most importantly 51 with Sinethemba Qeshile (15) and 24 with De Klerk, at which point he fell to the legspin of Luke Hollman.
The Gauteng keeper-batsman, who has just turned 18, made his U19 debut in the five-match one-day series against the West Indies last year.
His long-time coach and U19 talent scout, Jono Leaf-Wright, described him as one who ‘has made a lot of sacrifices to get to the level he is now. I have come across lots of guys and many with talent, but there are those who are prepared to put in the work and Jacob is one of those.’
De Klerk, who played in the U19 World Cup in January, added 47 with Archille Cloete (29) and a gritty 55 with Jarred Jardine, who ended unbeaten on 33 off 74 balls. Hollman claimed an excellent 4-39 off 25 overs.
Cloete then made an important breakthrough in the first over, removing Liam Banks, who plays for the Warwickshire 2nd XI.
But England captain Tom Banton took the attack to South Africa, hammering 29 off 28 balls and taking the score to 46-1 off nine overs at the close.
The South Africans will play two Tests and three ODIs on the tour.
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images