CAPE TOWN – England resorted to old-fashioned five-day cricket to grind away at South Africa, but Proteas paceman Anrich Nortje struck an important blow just before tea on the third day of the second Test at Newlands on Sunday.
Visiting opener Dom Sibley and No 3 Joe Denly tried to frustrate the Proteas bowlers with a hard-fought second-wicket partnership of 73 that dragged on for than 30 overs, and England were looking strong after going past the hundred mark and a lead of 140 runs.
But Nortje, who never stopped trying as he rumbled in from the Wynberg End, finally got the wicket that his team so desperately needed in the 44th over.
The 26-year-old from the Eastern Cape stopped the speed gun at 150km/h for two consecutive deliveries, which Denly (31) was unable to score from, and then the third ball at 145km/h saw the right-hander go for a pull, only to find Dwaine Pretorius, who took a good diving catch at fine leg.
It was the breakthrough that the Proteas had toiled hard for on an unforgiving Newlands pitch that has flattened out and gave little assistance to the bowlers.