WEST BRIDGFORD, England - By tea, South Africa had reached 179/2 with Hashim Amla on 65 and Quinton de Kock on 68 - their partnership an as yet unbeaten one of 113 for the third wicket
South Africa resumed on 56/1 after lunch and lost opener Heino Kuhn for 34 in the fifth over after the break as he succumbed in a fine spell from Stuart Broad.
Kuhn had fought bravely in a difficult morning session, being struck on the hand by Broad and the head by Mark Wood. But Broad after lunch moved his length closer to the batsmen and got it to nip around which proved too disconcerting for Kuhn. He didn’t know whether to move forward or back, went to the latter too late and chopped the ball onto his stumps.
De Kock was elevated up the order from seven to four, South Africa hoping his naturally quick scoring would allow them to put the opposition under pressure. The brainstrust - for this Test match skipper Faf du Plessis and assistant coach Adrian Birrell - would thus have been delighted with how the afternoon unfolded.
Even just by picking up sharply run singles, De Kock immediately swung the momentum South Africa’s way on a pitch that had certainly eased out with sun more prevalent than was the case in the morning.
De Kock’s intent took a lot of the pressure off Amla, upon whom so much depends in this fractured batting line-up. He was able to ease into his innings and, when he’d settled, played some delightful drives off back and front foot,.
One of the highlights of the day’s play was the mini-battle that ensued between Amla and Anderson after the interval. England’s all-time leading wicket-taker got the ball to swing, beating the outside edge of Amla’s bat a number of times. It required all of Amla’s skill and mental fortitude to subdue Anderson, but when he erred Amla also prospered with some high quality shot-making through the off-side.
Once Anderson and Broad were removed from the attack, South Africa briefly dominated, with both batsmen registering 50s, Amla his 33rd and De Kock his 11th.