JON CARDINELLI reflects on the players and moments that shaped day two of the fourth Test at Centurion.
BATSMAN OF THE DAY
Quinton de Kock. The youngster backed himself from the outset. He looked to play aggressively against England’s best seam bowlers, and against the spinner Moeen Ali. While he offered England several chances over the course of his innings, he never lost sight of his objective to score quickly. It was an entertaining yet important knock that helped South Africa post a mammoth total of 475.
BOWLER OF THE DAY
Ben Stokes refused to give up. At times, his face glowed with effort and matched the colour of his hair. He ended the innings with a haul of 4-86 in 27 overs. He may well have grabbed a five-for if the England catching had been better.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Quinton de Kock played some entertaining and innovative strokes during his innings. The best of the lot, however, was the conventional off-drive straight down the ground. James Anderson missed his length and De Kock timed the shot sweetly to pick up four runs.
DELIVERY OF THE DAY
Kagiso Rabada received a toe-breaker by James Anderson first up. The ball was full, and swung back into the left-hander to trap him lbw.
STAT OF THE DAY
Stephen Cook and Quinton de Kock scored maiden centuries in the Proteas’ first innings. The last time two South Africans scored maiden tons in the same innings was in 1955 (John Waite scored 113 and Paul Winslow 108 against England at Old Trafford).
ENGLAND’S CORDON BLUES
England’s catching was poor on day one, and even worse on day two. Those positioned behind the wicket made some shocking errors in judgement over the course of the day, and missed four chances in total. Alastair Cook also dropped Quinton de Kock when the Proteas batsman was on 90. It was a relatively straight forward chance at short extra cover.
South Africa lost their first five wickets for 273 runs, and their next five for 202. Quinton de Kock was responsible for the bulk of those runs (129), but the likes of Temba Bavuma, Kyle Abbott and Dane Piedt made some telling contributions.
MANAGING THE WORKLOAD
South Africa have gone into this fixture with just three seamers. It will be interesting to see how captain AB de Villiers manages Kyle Abbott, Kagiso Rabada, and especially Morné Morkel on day three. The Proteas coaches have already voiced their concern regarding Morkel’s workload. It may fall to the South African spinners to do the bulk of the damage in the coming days.
Late in the day, Nick Compton missed a straight delivery by Kagiso Rabada and was given out lbw. The replay confirmed that Compton was done by the bounce, or lack thereof. Several deliveries later, Rabada got one to bounce sharply off the surface. Day three is likely to present similar challenges as the pitch begins to deteriorate.
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