England vs South Africa: 3rd Test, Day Four

With England leading by 250 runs overnight and two whole days left to play, there were only two questions people were asking about the day’s play: “When will England declare?” and “How many wickets will South Africa have lost by the end of the day?”. The answer to the first question was a lot later than a lot of people would like, especially for Australian former leg spinners employed by Sky. England were clearly in no rush to build up their lead, slowly accumulating runs through the day.

Jennings was the first wicket to fall, having added 14 more runs to his overnight total before edging a short ball from Rabada to gully. This brought out Joe Root, who together with Westley batted carefully through to the lunch break. Today’s innings from Westley showed great promise for people looking for a successor to Jonathan Trott at 3 for England. In a position where many pundits and fans would have wanted their batsmen to score quickly to leave more time to bowl out South Africa, Westley scored his 31 runs today at a glacial strike rate of 30. In an innings where he was the top scorer in England’s top 6 and in a game which his team is likely to win with at least a session to spare, Westley will likely be attacked for being too slow. You can’t get more like Trott than that.

After Lunch, England tried to increase the pace with mixed results. Westley added another 9 runs before being stumped after misreading a spinner from Maharaj, quickly followed by Root hitting a slog sweep straight to the man on the boundary and Malan being given out LBW on review after an inswinger from Morris. This has probably been a debut to forget for Dawid Malan, only scoring 11 runs and both dismissals being to similar full inswinging balls which he couldn’t get forward to. Between the three debutants, Malan seems the most vulnerable for being dropped in the next Test.

In a now familiar story England’s lower order outshone the specialist batsmen, scoring big runs and quickly. Stokes, Bairstow, Moeen, and Roland-Jones scored a combined 125 runs in the session from only 119 balls. When Bairstow lost his wicket for 63 just before Tea, England declared with a lead of 491.

With such a massive target, South Africa’s only hope was to bat out the evening session. Those hopes were given an early blow by Stuart Broad, who bowled Heino Kuhn in just the sixth over. Hashim Amla followed soon after, edging a delivery from Toby Roland-Jones to slip. In a remarkable statistical feat, Roland-Jones has dismissed Amla in all 3 international innings he has ever bowled, both innings of this game and an ODI before the Champions Trophy. Bunny doesn’t even begin to describe it.

In the very next over, Stokes took another two wickets from two balls. De Kock was bowled by a quick full ball, whilst du Plessis was given out LBW after not playing a shot for the second time in this game. Elgar and Bavuma negotiated the remaining 21 overs in the day without major incident, leaving England with six wickets to take tomorrow or South Africa with an incredibly unlikely 375 runs to score.

As always, comments on the game (or almost anything else) are welcome below.


63 thoughts on “England vs South Africa: 3rd Test, Day Four

  1. Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Jul 30, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    This maybe sounds churlish but I do feel the topsy-turvy nature of this series is undermined by the comprehensiveness of victory in each game. As with recent Ashes series, the games are somewhat akin to F1 with all the drama coming in the opening bends before an order and procession of victory is pretty well set.

    What we know about England – an excellent set of seamers for seam-friendly conditions and depth of batting, but no closer to a team that can compete in Asia or Oz.

    I am intrigued to see if Tom Westley can join the likes of Trott (and long before him Broad) as mature county batsmen who step up effectively to the international game. Otherwise, the skill of our new batsmen will be to still be standing when the Windies hit town when some easier runs could book a trip down South this winter. I expect Malan to be given until the 1st Windies Test at least even though I find his section one of dubious origins. Jennings didn’t take enough advantage of his good fortune yesterday and I expect yet another debutant to join the team for the fourth Test. At this point we will find out if the non-selection of Stoneman was an aberration of if he has in some way incurred the displease of the selectors.

    Well played Roland-Jones. Whatever can be said about the conditions his all-round game is suggestive of a confident and assured manner.

    No real chance of unexpected thrills tomorrow I’m afraid. A little dull then but plenty to admire in this England performance despite the obvious caveats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Jul 30, 2017 / 9:35 pm

      One amusing part of Roland-Jones’ “all-round” game is that his all-round figures are currently world class. Specifically, if you subtract his bowling average (12.83) from his batting average (48.00) you get an average difference of 35.16. To put that in context, Stokes’ is -0.01, Woakes’ is 0.21, Kallis’ is 22.71 and Sobers’ is 23.74.

      Am I saying that Toby Roland-Jones is a better allrounder than Kallis or Sobers ever were? No. The facts are saying that.


      • thelegglance Jul 30, 2017 / 9:45 pm

        Funnily enough I was thinking today about the nature of all rounders when having a discussion about Stokes. All the all rounders considered ‘great’ had one extremely strong discipline and one adequate one (someone will be along to tell me I’m wrong). So Sobers and Kallis were truly outstanding batsmen who were ok bowlers for example. Hadlee an amazing bowler and a competent batsman.

        The thing with Stokes is that he’s actually a reasonably balanced all rounder. His batting is decent, so is his bowling. Neither at this stage is exceptional. So he is more of an all rounder in the truest sense, where his two disciplines are relatively equal.



        • LordCanisLupus Jul 30, 2017 / 9:54 pm

          Would Stokes be picked for one of the disciplines on its merits? You’d have to say if it were one it would be his batting.

          They always thought that about Freddie. But it was never true. He would not be picked as a batsman alone. But as a bowler? Definitely. Even taking the Ashes 2005 into consideration. That’s how big a gamble we took then.


          • thelegglance Jul 30, 2017 / 9:56 pm

            Yes, exactly a fair question. That’s why I say a balanced all rounder. Each discipline on its own in his case probably isn’t quite good enough but combine them and he definitely is.


          • LordCanisLupus Jul 30, 2017 / 9:58 pm

            They claimed on TV that Stokes is our 3rd best batsman. In 2005 Ian Bell was our 7th best!

            Don’t tell me this era is better. Just don’t (Not you TLG).

            Liked by 1 person

          • dannycricket Jul 30, 2017 / 10:02 pm

            Yeah. Woakes and perhaps Moeen get selected for their bowling, Stokes isn’t quite there with either discipline, I feel. If you were picking a specialist batsman at number 6, you’d look for someone with better technique. If you were looking for a 4th fast bowler, you’d probably want something with more variation from what they already have.

            That said, it seems like he’s still improving in both batting and bowling so he could potentially reach the point where he actually surpasses his hype in the near future.


          • LordCanisLupus Jul 30, 2017 / 10:09 pm

            I think if Stokes picked up an injury that would allow him to bat but not bowl he’d be picked. The converse can’t really apply I know but batsmen that can make 250 plus in tests (it was a freak) aren’t coming along for us right now. People are clutching at Westley right now because he didn’t fall on his arse.

            Moeen is a curious one. Really curious. Woakes is a bowler. Who can bat.


          • thelegglance Jul 30, 2017 / 10:13 pm

            Woakes’ first class batting average of 36.28 isn’t so far off one or two others in the batting spots…


          • nonoxcol Jul 31, 2017 / 8:55 am

            As I always like to point out, Flintoff between the SA Test where he broke his bat and the SL game where he bowled himself lame averaged 41 with the bat and 28 with the ball, including two of his three five-fors and four of his five centuries. His averages in the 2005 Ashes were 40 and 27 respectively.

            So I regard him as a genuinely world-class all-rounder for almost exactly half his career (38 of 79 Tests), and entirely worthy of batting at six in that period. And anyone who says he was all about 2005 and nothing else should be among the first against the wall when the revolution comes.


  2. quebecer Jul 31, 2017 / 2:37 am

    Westley is having a lot of fun right now storming the castle, and I certainly hope he succeeds and becomes what we hope against hopeful. But…oh, I dunno. Aussie bowlers i particular have had a fair bit of practice dealing with leg side bullies like Trott and Pietersen (aw come on, he was a bit), and have worked that out. I can’t help thinking Westley isn’t as good as Trott, let alone KP.

    I also hope Malan sticks, I really do. But… oh I dunno. The question I have is, batting at #5, is he really better than Hales? Both have talent, yes, but Hales? He’s extraordinary. You don’t set the records he has and not be. When have we EVER had a player capable of doing what he has? Given we’re talking records, clearly never.

    Is anyone with me on this? Hales is the most talented batsman of his generation. I know he didn’t succeed in his first go in test cricket, and he certainly didn’t quite have what it took to deal with that Pakistani new ball attack opening the innings. But batting at #5 now? Is he really worse than any other option? How is this not even a consideration? It takes all the pressure off him, allows him to show the work he actually did manage to do on his red ball technique, puts him in a situation to succeed, and given we don’t exactly have an excess of batting talent, means we don’t assign one of our best to the test scrap heap.

    Just saying.

    I think it is only me, isn’t it?


    • Ian Jul 31, 2017 / 5:50 am

      No it’s not just you, I think Hales should get another go in the team at 5. As you say a record breaker in ODI’s. It doesn’t necessarily translate to test runs but there is more chance that it will than putting in another newcomer.

      If he had been up for touring Bangladesh (No problem with him not) then he might still have been in the side.


    • dannycricket Jul 31, 2017 / 6:08 am

      Not me, I’m afraid. I think he could do the job at 5, but I prefer not to pick players for all 3 formats if at all possible. It causes fatigue, more time in the care of England’s medical staff increases the chances of injury, and this leads to shorter playing careers.


      • "IronBalls" McGinty Jul 31, 2017 / 7:43 am

        Hales will never be forgiven for Bangladesh. Comma lied through his teeth, there HAD to be a sacrificial goat!!


      • SimonH Jul 31, 2017 / 8:12 am

        “I prefer not to pick players for all 3 formats if at all possible”.

        It’s a major issue with bowlers – TRJ only got his (overdue) chance because Woakes, Wood and Ball who’d they been picking in all formats are all injured.

        It’s hard to think of many batsman who’ve suffered physical injury because of playing all formats although it could be argued that for players like Tres and Trott it contributed to their international careers being cut short.

        I wouldn’t give up on Hales but the trouble with batting him at No.5 is the more pressing needs of the team are at Nos. 2 and 3.


        • LordCanisLupus Jul 31, 2017 / 8:16 am

          No batsmen suffering? You must be forgetting poor little AB. He’s so tired it hurts.


          • BoredInAustria Jul 31, 2017 / 8:55 am

            but he is “fighting” through the pain…


        • dannycricket Jul 31, 2017 / 4:10 pm

          Yeah, there’s two factors to it. Mental fatigue, which obviously seemed to be a factor in Trott and Trescothick leaving the England team. I think it also has had an impact on other batsmen though. Cook’s Test average was 40.88 in the period he was ODI captain, and 48.36 in the rest of his career. If a player doesn’t get time at home to relax and recharge then they will burn out.

          On the other hand there’s the physical toll. Obviously batsmen are less prone to injury than bowlers, as a rule. What happens with players in all three formats is that they are rushed back from injury or play through niggles which grow worse over time. Root has back issues, I believe. KP’s knee was shot when he was dropped. All this is obviously made worse by England’s medical team and coaches (particularly current Lions coaches) who insist key players continue playing through injury in largely meaningless games.


    • Rooto Jul 31, 2017 / 8:42 am

      I’m with you, q. I can’t believe there are more people calling for Roy (the less successful ODI opener) to get a chance than for Hales.


  3. SimonH Jul 31, 2017 / 8:18 am

    In the unlikely event of SA holding out today, I think I’m right in saying they’d be only the second team to survive a full last day going into it with four wickets down.

    Most people here will remember the first time. Some bloke who only did it when the pressure was off and when others had paved the way held out for 270 balls on that day.


      • SimonH Jul 31, 2017 / 9:21 am

        Who were the others? Auckland 2013 is the one I mean, of course.

        I’m sure I remember at the time of Headingley 2014, it was said that no team has survived with more than four wickets down (because England went into that last day with five down).

        It’s one of those stats that’s Statsguru doesn’t help with (unless I’ve missed the way of finding it there).


        • thelegglance Jul 31, 2017 / 9:22 am

          I’m struggling too. But the reports on Auckland all refer to it being the third time it had happened.


          • LordCanisLupus Jul 31, 2017 / 11:28 am

            This thread intrigued me.

            There are six parts. Interesting point of view. Not sure India v England has had much going for it with the exception of 2012. Problem with tests with England playing it’s feast or famine. Either win big or lose big.


          • SimonH Jul 31, 2017 / 10:57 am


            I should’ve have thought of those!


          • nonoxcol Jul 31, 2017 / 11:54 am


            You know that’s the palfreyman from Guardian BTL, don’t you? Not sure he’s ever knowingly questioned the cricket establishment, other than on issues of class and race.


  4. nonoxcol Jul 31, 2017 / 10:19 am

    From the Guardian OBO preamble today:

    “In such context, it’s perhaps no surprise that Test cricket is currently exceedingly strange, Test cricket in England equally so. Of the last six series played in the green and average, there have been two drawn matches, with the margins in those remaining as follows: 95 runs, 266 runs, an innings and 54 runs, an innings and 244 runs, 124 runs, 199 runs, 169 runs, 405 runs, 8 wickets, innings and 78 runs, innings and 46 runs, innings and 88 runs, 9 wickets, 75 runs, 330 runs, 141 runs, 10 wickets, 211 runs, 340 runs. Frankly, it’s getting – it’s got – ridiculous, and does not speak well of the players involved.”

    Where BOC leads, others follow two years later!


  5. Miami Dad's Six Jul 31, 2017 / 10:20 am

    I’m not usually a fan of piddling about with a batting order, but I cant help but think South Africa have de Kock a place too high now. Just because he keeps, really. I think Bairstow is great, better than a few above him, but wouldnt want him higher than maybe 6.


    • thelegglance Jul 31, 2017 / 10:49 am

      That’s because the commentators who know zilch about wicketkeeping have no idea how hard it is mentally. De Kock kept for 103 overs in the first innings, was fully padded up to bat after 8 overs and in after 10. Then he kept for another 80 overs, and was fully padded up and ready to go in after just 5 overs, and in after 15.

      Now call me radical, but I have this weird idea giving the bloke a rest at some point might be an idea to get the best out of his batting.


      • Mark Jul 31, 2017 / 11:45 am

        The irony being that we now pick wicketkeepers primarily for their batting. The specialist wicketkeeper who is just an average batsman is now discarded for a front line batsman who can turn himself into a passable keeper.

        Then we wonder why they are mentally knackered when they come out to bat. I don’t see how a test match wicketkeeper on a regular basis can bat in the top 5.


        • thelegglance Jul 31, 2017 / 11:51 am

          That’s the bit that frustrates me when they bang on about it. De Kock is clearly good enough as a batsman to bat top four, but not on a regular basis when he’s keeping wicket. It’s hardly a coincidence that he’s done well at 6 or 7, he’s had the chance to rest. AB De Villiers is the only one I’ve seen manage to maintain standards in the top order for a while (the exception that proves the rule), but without looking it up I seem to recall it went into decline eventually.


      • BoredInAustria Jul 31, 2017 / 12:17 pm

        I have a new theory thats the reason Root kept on batting – to tire QdK…


      • AB Jul 31, 2017 / 1:16 pm

        I’ve never understood this – surely the higher up you bat, the longer the rest you get between being dismissed and having to go out and keep wicket again?

        If you really want to maximise the rest your wicket keeper gets, surely he should open the batting whenever you bat first?


        • thelegglance Jul 31, 2017 / 1:24 pm

          No, that’s the wrong way around. It’s about the rest you need after concentrating on every single ball of an entire innings keeping wicket before you have to go out and bat. It’s mentally extremely tiring. Sure, if you bat first you could go out and open, but that would mean changing the batting order depending on whether you bat first or second, and no one is going to do that.


  6. SimonH Jul 31, 2017 / 10:58 am

    So, that point of impact was in line, was it?



    • thelegglance Jul 31, 2017 / 11:01 am

      Didn’t look like it, did it? Not sure how behind the line that particular camera is. But the assessment is more generous to the bowler than it used to be – same with the impact on the stumps.


      • SimonH Jul 31, 2017 / 11:45 am

        It’s possible the camera isn’t exactly in line – but with the naked eye, it didn’t look ‘umpire’s call’, let alone ‘in line’. It was given ‘not out’ so ‘umpire’s call’ wouldn’t have been enough.

        Warner copped one very similar when Australia were in India.


        • thelegglance Jul 31, 2017 / 11:48 am

          That’s right, but it’s not just the umpire’s call measurement that’s changed – less of the ball needs to be in line for it to be considered in line. I agree, it didn’t look close, but it’s also possible with him on the move when it hit the pad it’s something of an optical illusion. Hawkeye is never wrong after all…


        • d'Arthez Jul 31, 2017 / 12:53 pm

          Again, Hawkeye and associated software is not in the public domain. Who is to say the home broadcaster cannot insist on slightly more generous appraisal from the software? And we have seen many broadcaster induced “bloopers” with DRS already.

          There is so much corruption in international cricket this would be the least surprising bit.


  7. thelegglance Jul 31, 2017 / 11:18 am

    8 wickets on debut has been achieved by England bowlers of recent vintage like Dominic Cork, Nick Cook, Peter Such (wonder how many times he threw his hands in the air?) and Neil Mallender.

    The English record is held by Fred Martin with 12. Which is just about possible to match. More recently, John Lever with 10 is more likely.



  8. thelegglance Jul 31, 2017 / 11:23 am

    Incidentally, Fred Martin who took his 12-102 on debut followed it up with 2-39 in his next match (not exactly dreadful) and never played again, retiring with a Test bowling average of 10.07.

    Maybe not the right kind of character or something…


  9. thelegglance Jul 31, 2017 / 11:59 am

    Cricinfo staff continue to rebel:

    ‘Btw, what are cricinfo going to write for the umpire reviews remaining after October? England 2 (1 successful, 1 umpire’s call, 0 unsuccessful) etc.? A bit long-winded.” Sheesh, Nida, I dunno… We’re still trying to make the current (new) scorecard usable look nice!’


    • Mark Jul 31, 2017 / 12:17 pm

      It always happens. The IT department or the hired consultants that are brought in always promise the earth and then fail to deliver. Management then find themselves with more expense to put the problems right.


      • Benny Jul 31, 2017 / 1:27 pm

        Not always but too often. Thing is it’s a specialist subject – not just another compartment of IT or marketing. The BBC website was excellent several years back and they had an excellent website manager.

        There’s a discipline called Usability Testing. You build your website beautifully, then grab some unsuspecting people off the street, sit them down at a screen with no help and watch them try and use it. Then you discover all the things you got wrong and fix them. Or you should!

        I’ve always been amazed that many websites have been presented to the chap in charge and he/she has said “I like it. Let’s go live”. Same with a lot of the commercials on TV.

        Sorry if I’ve bored. I’m kind of lost for words with this test series. Seems to be cricket’s version of roulette.


        • AB Jul 31, 2017 / 3:23 pm

          I thought people were moaning about cricinfo from a front page aesthetic/usability point of view. Buts its actually non-functional. I tried to open a couple of old scorecards and the page just comes up completely blank.


  10. rpoultz Jul 31, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    This may be just my eyes but has anyone else noticed Bairstow consistently celebrating in batsmens faces when standing up to the stumps after a dismissal. Sure he did today with Morris and clearly did last year with Pakistan.


    • Benny Jul 31, 2017 / 1:31 pm

      Heard a comment by Nasser yesterday saying that Root didn’t trust Bairstow’s opinion on whether to review because he’s too excitable. Not sure how much I trust Nasser’s telepathy but maybe Bairstow needs to mature a little.


      • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Jul 31, 2017 / 2:40 pm

        Whatever’s going on the process looks a bit slap-dash compare to the quickly contrived trio of bowler, skipper and keeper. TV can deceive but it looks too much like it consist of Root walking down the wicket with a quizzical look on his face while team-mates shout opinions at him.

        I didn’t realise until today that Hussain is left-handed.


    • Rooto Jul 31, 2017 / 1:47 pm

      Had me going on the drive back home. Beautifully constructed, as the ‘victim’ wasn’t mentioned until nearly 10 minutes in.


  11. d'Arthez Jul 31, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    4 golden ducks in the innings. Excellent effort SA. Next time, try to bat.


    • BoredInAustria Jul 31, 2017 / 3:12 pm

      I think there is a strong case to bring back Duminy….:)


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