PLAYS OF THE DAY
Ball of the Day – Anrich Nortje’s impressive start to Test cricket on home soil continued at Newlands. He bagged England’s big fish in Joe Root and Ben Stokes yesterday, but his bouncer to the England captain Root was the genuine article. It was quick and hostile and Root ducked in cover with the ball brushing his glove through to wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock.
Shot of the Day – Ollie Pope is just the fresh energy this England side needs. The 22-year-old Surrey batsman plays with all the exuberance of youth and frustrated the South African bowlers during the final 30 minutes of play. His upper-cut over the slip cordon off Kagiso Rabada was simply disrespectful.
Villain of the Day – South Africa had virtually the perfect day up to this point. They had bowled brilliantly on a surface where bowlers were required to toil for their reward. And then Kagiso Rabada had to over-step. The innings was meant to be closed when Ollie Pope skied one down to Vernon Philander at fine-leg. But after a reviewing the television replays showed that Rabada’s foot was over the line and Pope could continue on his merry way.
Unsung hero of the Day – It is not often that Faf du Plessis calls on his spinner Keshav Maharaj within the first hour of a home Test. But that’s exactly what he did on Friday. And then he called on him some more, and even more. Maharaj ultimately delivered 27 overs, which is virtually unheard of in South Africa, and also remembering that the left-arm spinner did not even play the Newlands Test last year. He was rewarded with the wicket of Joe Denly – a classic left-armer’s dismissal with Denly being clean bowled.