The Proteas deserved more for their efforts on day one, but they must sustain the pressure and keep England under 350.
It’s expected to be another day without rain as the weather continues to hold up, despite forecasts for showers throughout the contest. Rain is expected on days three, four and five however, so the Proteas must make hay while the sun shines, and that’s today.
The bowlers were better than the scorecard suggests. Keshav Maharaj displayed excellent control from his 29 overs, while Morne Morkel was desperately unlucky not to get more than one wicket. There were catches which didn’t quite carry, lbw decisions which were overturned, and a regulation catch missed by Quinton de Kock on an excellent day of Test cricket in Manchester on Friday.
The key strike was that of Ben Stokes on the penultimate over of the day. In Kagiso Rabada’s Test career so far, he’s only bowled 25 yorkers, and five of them have resulted in wickets. It was the surprise element to deceive Stokes, and it means that the Proteas have a brilliant opportunity to eat away at the rest of the lineup, in conditions which are still helpful for the bowlers.
Jonny Bairstow will go into day two on 33, while nightwatchman Toby Roland-Jones is still on nought. You can bet your bottom dollar that Morkel and Rabada will be the first to charge in in the first session, and with the track expected to get better for the batsmen as the day wears on, the Proteas will be eager to skittle the English and work up some scoreboard pressure with the bat.
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