Faf du Plessis and Chris Morris during the third Test against England at the Oval. Picture: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Beautiful Bavuma

As half-centuries go, Bavuma’s 52 - which started with his side on 43/4 when he got to the crease and proceeded as they fell to 61/7 - was an innings of the highest quality. The moving ball was handled with precision and yesterday morning, when the occasion and ball warranted, he played some delicious strokes. His cover driving was exhibition stuff. It took a good nut to get him out, but his Test average against England is now 46.11

Bavuma to the fore

Perth, Hobart, Wellington, the first innings at Lord’s and then yesterday - when times are tough, Bavuma thrives. You can look at his Test average of 31.7 and say that’s not good enough to be a Test player, but Bavuma makes his runs when South Africa are in difficulty. Ironically his most famous innings - the century at Newlands - was probably when batting was at its easiest. Otherwise, he’s had to fight and he’s done so magnificently... small in stature but incredibly big of heart.

Saved by the drip

There was a bit of mirth about when Vernon Philander was initially diagnosed with a “tummy bug” on Thursday. “Oooh, he’s got the shits hahaha, he’s got the runs heehehee.” It turns out, though, that whatever ailed Philander was very serious indeed. He was vomiting and feeling dehydrated for most of Friday and then spent the night in hospital on a drip.

He was released yesterday morning and availed himself to bat; he made 10. He got through six overs with the ball, should have had Jennings dismissed three times, and then had to go off the field. Some have questioned Philander’s desire, saying he only wants to bowl with the new ball or when the going’s easy. Philander’s answered those critics in this game.

Quote

“We used to call them day-sies. Some days you have it, some days you don’t.” The always entertaining Phil “the cat” Tufnell trying to explain Chris Morris’s inconsistency.

Conditions

Like little Annie once sang, the sun will come out tomorrow. There should be more sun today actually and it will be interesting to see how that will impact on the pitch. If it dries out, will it get easier to bat? Whatever happens, England are going to set South Africa something impossible... saving the game will be at the forefront of the tourists’ minds.


Sunday Independent

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