South Africa's Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortjie celebrate the wicket of England's Rory Burns on day four of the first cricket Test at Centurion Park in Pretoria on Sunday. Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP


QUINTON DE KOCK  Playing in a way that his captain said afterwards very few players can play. That first innings of 95 was a thunderous counter-attack, that gave South Africa a foothold. The bowlers then turned it into a proper advantage. There has been a lot of debate about where De Kock should bat. Hopefully this innings settles it. He is at his best and South Africa get the best of him when he bats at 6 or 7, not 1,2,3, or 4. South Africa should produce batsmen who can play and make runs in those positions.

KAGISO RABADA  He bowled 39 overs in the match  another big workload. Unlike earlier in the year when he looked flat, this was a re-energised Rabada. He was outstanding every time Du Plessis called on him to bowl. His pace was up, his lines were accurate, he was physically intimidating and looked motivated for the contest. Lets hope, Rabada is indeed back and we see more of this for the remaining three Tests.

NIGHTWATCHMAN  It’s always a contentious debate; to use or not use? South Africa moved their no.11  up to no.6 in the order with 20 minutes to play on day two. From the groans in the Grandstand it was clear that wasn’t a popular decision. Nortje survived those 20 minutes, and then 100 minutes more the next morning. He scored 40, shared a partnership of 91 for the fifth wicket with Rassie van der Dussen. Nortje performed his primary role pretty well too, claiming five wickets. It won’t end debates about nightwatchmen, but in this game it worked. 

QUOTE  “There is a lot more confidence in the structures from the top. There were plans in place before, but right now I feel there are better plans. We’ve got the right people in the right jobs, the right people at the top in Cricket SA, which is really important. Leadership always comes from the top and filters down. Starting that, set the tone for how we played. You have to put those things in place, for the things underneath to work in your favour. Now we can trust the system a little bit more and focus on playing cricket.”  Faf du Plessis about the changes in CSA and the affect on the South African team.

South Africa v England - First Test

ENGLAND  This was not an easy game for the English. That flu-bug had a terrible effect on them and their preparations for this first Test. And yet, Root won the toss, his team had South Africa 111/5, they let that chance slip. They lost seven wickets for 39 when they batted. They had South Africa 62/4 in the second innings and let them get 272. They were 121/1 and 200/3 in the second innings and ended up losing. England created chances, and then didn’t take them.  

KEEGAN PETERSEN  Got a call up for the national team as a replacement for the injured Markram on Sunday. It is unlikely he’ll play in Cape Town, because the Proteas have a ready-made replacement in Pieter Malan. But it is a recognition of performances at domestic level which is vital. Petersen has played 88 first class matches; he averages 40.66. He made 111 for SA A against England last week. He deserves his call up.


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