England fast bowler James Anderson said it was nice to get AB de Villiers out following his comments in the media, while he hopes his side can draw on their survival at the same ground in 2009 to avoid defeat.
Anderson left arguably his best spell of bowling to last as he finished with figures of 3-47 on day four, but it wasn’t enough to claw England back into the contest as the Proteas need just seven more wickets on day five, with a substantial lead of 330 runs, to pick up a consolation victory.
The tourists were, at one point, in with a shout as Anderson, who is now seventh on the all-time wicket-taking list in Tests, picked up the first three wickets of South Africa’s second innings to leave them on 49-3. The third was particularly special for Anderson, after De Villiers appeared to play mind games with the 33-year-old in the buildup to the Test, when he said ‘the bowling is experienced, but some of the guys have lost some pace over the years.’
‘It was mentioned when we got the wicket that this game has got a funny way of biting you when you say things in the media, so it was nice to get him out,’ said Anderson after he trapped De Villiers lbw for a duck – his third in a row. ‘It was just frustrating for us because we thought we could get a few more, but it wasn’t to be,’ he added.
With England on the edge of defeat at 52-3, Joe Root and James Taylor will stride out to the crease with an almighty task on their hands, but the English have been in this situation on several occasions before, including at Centurion back in 2009, where they managed to bat out the final day to draw the first Test match, before doing it all over again in the third match in Cape Town. Anderson was the nightwatchman going into the final day on both occasions, and hopes their miraculous escapes can inspire them to do it again.
‘I’ve been involved in a game last time we were here in 2009, and it was left to Graham Onions and Paul Collingwood to see us through, so there’s always that glimmer of hope. There’s always that chance. If we can get a few batsmen in on that pitch we’ll give it a go.
‘We’ve won the series, we don’t want to go out on a dampener. We saw James Taylor and Joe Root play really well to get us through the night and if they can build on their partnership, the ball will get softer and they can build a partnership.’