JON CARDINELLI reflects on the big moments that shaped day one of the first Test at Kingsmead.
BATSMAN OF THE DAY
Nick Compton struggled initially with the pace of Dale Steyn and the bounce of Morné Morkel. But as his innings progressed, his understanding of the surface, and ultimately his timing, improved. Compton succeeded in playing some glorious strokes, particularly through the cover region.
BOWLER OF THE DAY
Dale Steyn is back, and in more ways than one. While South Africa’s premier fast bowler bowled in excess of 140km/h, it was his control and variation that proved the undoing of first Alastair Cook and then Alex Hales. The dismissal of James Taylor late on day one may also prove crucial to the outcome of this Test.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Late in the second session, Kyle Abbott missed his length by an inch. Brimming with confidence, Compton leaned forward, punched through the line of the delivery, and sent it hurtling towards the cover boundary.
DELIVERY OF THE DAY
The ball that removed Alastair Cook was a beauty. Dale Steyn slanted the delivery across the left-hander and induced the edge, which flew to Dean Elgar at second slip.
CALL OF THE DAY
Following the dismissal of Hales, the all-seam attack battled to penetrate the defences of Nick Compton and Joe Root. An hour into the second session, and only 18 overs into the game, Hashim Amla opted to deploy off-spinner Dane Piedt. It proved an inspired call, as Piedt removed the dangerous Root with his very first delivery.
COMMENT OF THE DAY
‘How could he not play short leg?’ – former West Indies bowler Michael Holding on Temba Bavuma’s fielding position. Holding had been in conversation with his fellow commentators about the two shortest players in this series: Bavuma (5ft 4ins) and England’s James Taylor (5ft 6).
STAT OF CONCERN
England opening batsman Alastair Cook has had nine different partners since 2012. In his debut Test at Kingsmead, Alex Hales played a careless shot against the bowling of Steyn and was caught behind. The dismissal would have done nothing to alleviate concerns about the England top order. Might we see partner No 10 for Cook in the second Test at Newlands?
As many as 24.5 overs were lost on day one due to rain, lightning, and finally bad light at Kingsmead. Hopefully the weather will hold for the remainder of the Test.