JON CARDINELLI reflects on the big moments that shaped day four of the first Test at Kingsmead.
BATSMAN OF THE DAY
Jonny Bairstow played a gem of an innings, scoring 79 off 76 balls. The knock included three sixes and nine fours. Bairstow may have reached three figures had he employed a more circumspect approach. But at that point, England needed quick runs.
BOWLER OF THE DAY
Dane Piedt took three wickets in the first session and finished the innings with a career best of 5-133. The performance also marked his first five-for in Test cricket, as well as the first Test five-for by a South African spinner at Kingsmead since Hugh Tayfield took 8-69 against England in 1957.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Right after tea, Hashim Amla dispatched Stuart Broad to the midwicket boundary. The ball didn’t appear short enough to pull. And yet, Amla managed to get himself into position early and whip the ball over the infield.
DELIVERY OF THE DAY
Stiaan van Zyl looked to be in dominant touch until he received a peach of a delivery from Ben Stokes. The England all-rounder hit a good length and the ball deviated just enough to breach Van Zyl’s defence.
OLD BALL BLUES
Questions will be asked about Hashim Amla’s refusal to take the new ball after the 80th over of England’s second innings. England were 224-6 at that stage. They added 102 runs in the next 22.1 overs.
FAST BOWLER BREAKDOWN
Before the start of play, the South African management team confirmed that Dale Steyn would not bowl again in the Test due to a shoulder injury. England had their own share of bowling concerns when Ben Stokes hurt his leg during the warm-up session. Stokes looked uncomfortable while bowling to Stiaan van Zyl in South Africa’s innings. Unbelievably, Stokes still managed to get a key breakthrough for the visitors when he dismissed Van Zyl.
COMMENT OF THE DAY
‘There’s no doubt that it was an absolutely terrible decision to give AB de Villiers the gloves in this series. From my perspective, it makes no sense.’ – Former South African captain Graeme Smith commenting on the call to burden the Proteas’ best batsman with the wicketkeeping duties.
AB HITS BACK
AB de Villiers may not want to keep wicket in the long term, but he does set high standards for himself in every pursuit. De Villiers had a shocker behind the stumps late on day three, missing two clear catches off Morné Morkel’s bowling. Early on day four, De Villiers’s glovework was a lot sharper. He stumped James Taylor and caught Stuart Broad while standing up to Stiaan van Zyl.