JON CARDINELLI reflects on the big moments that shaped day two of the first Test at Kingsmead.
BATSMAN OF THE DAY
Dean Elgar scored more runs than any other batsman on day two (67). Elgar showed good temperament to survive the initial onslaught by Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, and Steven Finn. He played with more authority as his innings progressed, reaching his 50 with a six.
BOWLER OF THE DAY
Morné Morkel led the South African fightback with four wickets in the first session of play. Morkel dismissed Ben Stokes early in the day, and then accounted for Nick Compton, Moeen Ali, and Chris Woakes after the first drinks break. If not for Morkel, England may have racked up a score in the region of 400.
SHOT OF THE DAY
AB de Villiers played some beautiful cover drives over the course of his innings. The best stroke of the day, however, was a drive aimed straight down the ground in the 28th over. De Villiers used his feet to get to the pitch of a Moeen Ali delivery and then hit it sweetly for six.
DELIVERY OF THE DAY
The ball that removed Hashim Amla was exceptional. Stuart Broad squared the South African skipper up with a fierce delivery that also took the outside edge. Jonny Bairstow pouched the catch and Amla walked.
STAT OF CONCERN
While Hashim Amla averages over 50 in Test cricket, he hasn’t scored a half century in 11 innings. Amla’s last 50 was against the West Indies at Newlands in January (he scored 63).
FAIL OF THE DAY
Early in his innings, Amla got a thick edge that flew to the slip cordon. Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow dived in front of Alastair Cook at first slip and the chance went down. Fortunately for England, the mistake didn’t cost them many runs, as Amla was out soon after for 7.
There’s no doubting the significance of Morné Morkel’s 4-76 in the context of the match. And yet, Morkel may feel some disappointment after failing to claim a fifth wicket in England’s first innings. The lanky fast bowler hasn’t taken a five-wicket haul since the series in Australia back in November 2012.
Stuart Broad and Steven Finn put on 36 runs for the 10th wicket. South Africa may regret leaking those runs if this game goes to the wire.