|< Prev||Next >|
The battle for top spot in the ICC Test rankings is well and truly on as challengers South Africa threw down the guantlet to the world no.1 English side by thrashing them by an innings and 12 runs in the first test at the Oval. With the exception of the opening day which the England batsmen had dominated, South Africa were on top for the test of the Test match, and cruised to a comfortable win on the final day with a session to spare. Dale Steyn was the hero for the Proteas on Day 5, picking up the 18th five wicket haul of his career to run through the England lower middle order. Ian Bell and Matt Prior threatened briefly to deny the Proteas a deserved win with an 86 run stand for the 6th wicket, but Imran Tahir (who chipped in with 3 crucial wickets) broke the partnership to help set South Africa on the road to victory.
England won a rare session in this test match as they managed to survive the pre-lunch period of play on Day 5 for the loss of just the one wicket. Coming into the final day, 150 runs behind the Proteas with just 6 wickets left in the shed, the cards were stacked against the hosts, who needed a minor miracle to avoid going one down in this short three test series.
The Proteas struck early in the day, with pace spearhead Dale Steyn getting rid of the in-form Ravi Bopara for 22, with the batsmen dragging the ball onto his stumps. However, there was no further success to follow for South Africa with Ian Bell and Matt Prior doing exceptionally well to blunt the Proteas' bowling attack.
Bell had been ultra patient in his knock thus far, showing that he is more than capable to bat for time, having faced 166 deliveries on his way to posting 36. Bell was also fortunate to receive a reprieve when AB de Villiers dropped a regulation chance behind the stumps. Meanwhile, Prior was his usual aggressive self, smashing 5 boundaries on his was to 29.
With 62 overs still left in the day's play, and England still trailing by 75 runs, South Africa were still very much in this contest, but they did need pick up atleast 2-3 wickets in the second session to give themselves a chance of winning this test match.
Bell and Prior played a few shots after lunch, with the former bringing up his half-century in 189 balls. Prior though perished due to this aggressive approach, falling to an attempted sweep off Imran Tahir, with Jacques Kallis completing the easiest of catches at slip.
That bonus wicket with the old ball gave the Proteas an opportunity to have a go at the English tail as soon as the new red cherry became available, but with England batting deep it would still be some task getting rid of the last four batsmen.
England's lower order though had no answer to the tearaway pace of Dale Steyn. It took the fast bowler all of two balls to strike with the new ball, with Bell suckered into chasing a ball he could have left alone, and Kallis once again doing the business in the slips.
Stuart Broad failed to trouble the scorers with Steyn getting him to glove one through to the keeper. Umpire Asad Rauf failed to spot anything, and 'hot spot' showed no evidence of any contact, but the sound was enough to get the TV Umpire to over-rule the decision.
Graeme Swann was next to go, caught in the covers off Steyn for 7, giving the fast bowler a well deserved 5-fer.
At 218-9, the game was as good as over, and despite a battling 22 run partnership between Tim Bresnan (20*) and James Anderson (4), Imran Tahir ensured that South Africa would not need to bat again, trapping the latter leg before to signal the end of the 1st Test.
South Africa will be delighted with their performance in this match, doing almost everything perfectly, right through the game. England will need to figure out a way to take 20 wickets against the Proteas if they are to make a comeback in this series, and they will need to re-evaluate if a strike bowler like Steve Finn can afford to warm the benches on a Headingley deck which is bound to offer plenty to the seamers.
England : A Strauss(c), A Cook, J Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, R Bopara, M Prior(wk), T Bresnan, G Swann, S Broad, J Anderson
South Africa : G Smith(c), A Petersen, H Amla, J Kallis, AB de Villiers(wk), J Rudolph, JP Duminy, V Philander, D Steyn, M Morkel, I Tahir
England 1st innings 385 all out (125.5 Overs, 3.05 rpo)
A Cook 115 (295) M Morkel 4-72
J Trott 71 (162) J Kallis 2-38
South Africa 1st innings 637-2 declared (189 Overs, 3.37 rpo)
G Smith 131 (273) J Anderson 1-116
H Amla 311* (529) T Bresnan 1-140
J Kallis 182* (326)
England 2nd innings 240 all out (96.5 Overs, 2.47 rpo)
I Bell 55 (220) D Steyn 5-56
M Prior 40 (86) I Tahir 3-63
File Photograph Copyright: Ross Websdale
- 25/07/2012 11:27 - Kallis rises to second in ICC Test batting rankings and reclaims top position as an all-rounder
- 25/07/2012 09:35 - Chanderpaul up-beat as he prepares for 143rd Test match
- 24/07/2012 09:31 - â€œWindies going all out to win Test Seriesâ€, says Sammy