TOM SIZELAND reflects on the players and moments that shaped day four of the second Test at Newlands.
BATSMAN OF THE DAY
Amla was already on 157, so the honours undoubtedly go to Temba Bavuma, who batted beautifully for his maiden Test century. He batted with the flair, confidence and guile that earned him a spot in the Test team in the first place, but until now, had yet to translate to the highest level. He took a particular liking to Steven Finn, putting anything full or wide away to the ropes.
BOWLER OF THE DAY
Stuart Broad’s spell with the third new ball gave England a glimmer of hope of victory, producing a peach of a delivery to finally end Amla’s innings, nipping one back ever so slightly to force the inside edge on to the stumps, before outwitting Quinton de Kock.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Bavuma smacked Finn for three consecutive boundaries in the 176th over, and all them screamed class. The first was in the slot and timed through the covers to perfection, the second was short and wide and pierced through backward point, the third was pulled to deep midwicket for another brilliantly timed four.
AMLA IS BACK
Since Amla’s double century against West Indies in December 2014, he scored just one Test half-century in 13 innings. He rectified that in brutal fashion, becoming the second Protea to score four 200-plus scores, after Graeme Smith. A few catches went down, but it was an otherwise superb knock from the skipper, which will bode extremely well for him and the team going into the third Test.
MORRIS DID HALF HIS JOB
It’s his capabilities with the bat that gave him the inside lane over Hardus Viljoen for a spot in the team, and after his bowling figures of 1-150, he had to perform with the bat, duly delivering with 69. It was an impressive knock as he played some inventive shots and kept the scoreboard ticking, which allowed Bavuma to play his natural game.
PLAY OF THE DAY
Alastair Cook and Broad clearly did their homework on De Kock. At first it seemed a bizarre decision to take out all the slips and surround the wicketkeeper with close fielders, but it paid off, as Broad banged it in short, De Kock went for the hook, and mistimed it straight to square leg.
STAT OF THE DAY
Hashim Amla became just the third batsman to bat through two innings for over 700 minutes, joining Brian Lara and Alastair Cook in the feat of endurance.
WHAT WILL DAY FIVE BRING US?
Do we have a contest on our hands? Amla’s decision to give England six overs at the end of the day probably benefited the spectators more than anything, and perhaps they should have in fact declared earlier. It’s the Proteas that a need a victory after all, not England. It will be interesting to see if England make something of it and give South Africa something to chase, but if quick wickets fall, they will likely close shop and settle for the 1-0 win heading to Gauteng.