England dropped another emotional comeback as South Africa take charge of the first Test


Anyone who has watched any of the first four English Tests of the summer has learned not to forget them. They showed an incredible ability to get around difficult points.

In their fifth test of the summer, the first against South Africa, they are in for another of those tough times. Thanks to a formidable partnership at the seventh wicket of 72 from the unlikely pair of Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj, South Africa are at 289 for seven against England’s 165.

England were very grateful for Maharaj’s wicket, consciously speeding up, in the penultimate innings of the day. Stranger things have happened than their victory from this position in the summer of 2022, but they are back in miracle territory.

That their position is even so good is due to an emotional comeback in the last session, which was only partially verified by the seventh wicket stand.

It was triggered by Jack Leach but led by Ben Stokes, who battled through the pain to find a five out of two spell for 14. He picked up the excellent Sarel Erwee with a brutal short ball and then Rassie van der Dussen with a skillful fuller. Ball.

This last session kind of covered three modest sessions before that. The first, in extremely sticky conditions on Wednesday, saw them drop to 116 in six against South Africa’s excellent attack.

The second morning they added 49 which with a long line was not a disaster. That they didn’t get more was because Ollie Pope was only able to add 12 to his 61 overnight before playing against Kagiso Rabada, who finished with a formidable five-iron. Pope was looking to speed up the scoring, and had already been let go. With no one else over the age of 20, England were hugely grateful for their young No. 3.

There were cameos from the ever-entertaining Stuart Broad and Jack Leach, but England never got far without Pope. Leach was thrown by Jansen, while Rabada picked up the rest to secure a spot on the honors roll.

With the ball and little to defend, England got off to a sloppy start. South African fly-half Dean Elgar and Erwee shared 85 runs either side of lunch, with few alarms and plenty of limits, especially from the captain’s bat.

Later in the day there were notable wickets for James Anderson, with his first since his 40th birthday (no English tailor has done this since Les Jackson in 1961), and Stuart Broad, who has now 100 at Lord’s.

But, after five weeks without cricket, both men were a bit rusty. Anderson was quicker in his work and gave fly-half more headaches. His wicket finally came, just as England were getting desperate, and it was not as he would have imagined; Elgar watched in disbelief as he played on, off the pad, batting and just about everything else. Anderson didn’t care.

South Africa did what England never could and always found a partnership. Keegan Peterson stayed with Erwee for a stand of 53 points, before edging out Matt Potts – loose until then – at the third slip. Afterwards, Aiden Markram took South Africa to tea in a 32-person grandstand.

With his first ball of the evening session, Leach had Markram behind him to put England on their way. He found the turn, a little buying from the box and played with good control.

Stokes, feeling the moment, took on the burden of bowling despite his sore knee and found a snorter to bounce Erwee, the easiest catch of a smart day on guard for Ben Foakes.

Stokes pinned van der Dussen, then Broad had Kyle Verreyne – beating from a position lower than carded – caught behind. Jansen and Maharaj started slow, but started fast, with 16 strikes on a Stokes. Maharaj took one too many risks and was caught in the middle of the wicket to give Stokes a third. A good morning is necessary for this game to remain within their reach.

standard Sport

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