SA vs ENG: Plays of the Day
Ball of the Day
There is something about the greats that they can sense the moment when the game is on the line. Kagiso Rabada certainly seized it when Ben Stokes joined Joe Root at the crease. South Africa needed their talisman to strike early before the partnership could develop. And that’s exactly what Rabada did when he struck the top of Root’s off-stump. Rabada’s manic celebration showed exactly what the wicket meant to the big fast bowler.
Field position of the Day
It was hard work trying to get wickets on the placid St George’s Park surface throughout the day. The bowlers toiled hard but such was the nature of the surface that even genuine edges did not carry to slip. Proteas captain Faf du Plessis therefore needed to be innovative with his fielding placings. He implemented a backward square leg and it worked out splendidly with two English batsmen perishing to that fielder.
Good Review of the Day
Keshav Maharaj was back to his miserly best in Port Elizabeth, but he desperately wanted to strike to earn some reward for his hard work. He can thank his wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock for his sole wicket of the day for it was a brilliant review that accounted for Joe Denly. While everyone thought that Denly had hit the ball, it was De Kock that convinced Faf du Plessis to review the decision where TV replays showed the ball hitting the pad first and Denly had to make his way back to the pavilion.
Poor review of the Day
On this occasion South Africa got it horribly wrong though. Desperate to dismiss Stokes, they had already wasted a review on the England maverick before tossing their second and final one away shortly before the close. Stokes offered no stroke to Vernon Philander and immediately the Proteas sent the decision upstairs only to see the ball missing off stump by quite a bit. The Proteas had no more reviews after that blunder.
Marathon spell of the Day
With the pitch offering desperately little for the faster bowlers, Du Plessis turned to his left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj shortly before lunch. Maharaj continued throughout the second session, bowling alone from the Duck Pond End in the afternoon. He asked plenty of questions, particularly of Stokes early on as he turned the ball viciously out of the rough and into the left-hander’s off stump.