SA vs ENG: Plays of the day, Day 2
PLAYS OF THE DAY - Day 2
SPELL - Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada were magnificent with the new ball. The latter brutal in terms of pace and length and the former a nightmare to face with the ball going one way and then another. Philander had it on a string in that opening spell. His first five overs were all maidens and the worst deliveries were his first and his last - too wide outside the off-stump to be tempting. Everything else however made the batsmen think. He finished with figures of 14.2-8-16-4. Does he really want to retire from the international game?
CATCH - Hamza has already impressed with the bat in this game and on Friday he showed he’s pretty nifty at shortleg with a neat grab to end Sam Curran’s innings. Hamza hadn’t started there when England’s innings began, with Aiden Markram under the helmet instead. Probably due to concerns over Markram’s wrist problem, Hamza moved in there late in the England innings and showed excellent reflexes to finish off Curran.
DWAINE - It emerged on day one that Graeme Smith and Jacques Faul engaged in some strong chats with Pretorius to get withdraw from talks with county Nottinghamshire about a Kolpak contract. The value of those discussions has been apparent in this Test. It was Pretorius’ sixth wicket partnership of 87 with De Kock on day one, in which he scored 33, that changed the momentum of the day and on Friday he produced a beautiful in-ducker to dismiss Joe Denly immediately after he’d reached 50.
Pretorius was handed his cap in a private ceremony on the eve of the game by Craig Govender, the SA physio who has worked closely with him to help him through his knee ailments over the years, initially at the Lions and now with the Proteas. His selection here looks a great call.
QUOTE 1: “Cricket South Africa has found itself in a place where instead of challenging itself to take the game forward and bettering the game, it got very defensive and insecure.” - Cricket SA’s interim Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith in an interview with SuperSport on Friday. He has to work damn hard to change that attitude.
QUOTE 2: “There’s a lot happening in this game hey?” - Vernon Philander. Besides two beamers in the second last over of the day by Jofra Archer that left the SA dressing room irate, catches being claimed that weren’t, a batting collapse and a pair of umpires not having their best games - it’s been standard Test cricket. And he bowled pretty well too.
CONDITIONS: There is definitely lots in the pitch to keep the bowlers interested. Balls kept low at the Hennops River End while they skipped appreciably at the West Lane End. The inconsistent bounce is only going to get worse, and batting thus harder, although these two batting line-ups would struggle on a flat deck at the moment.