England vs. South Africa, 4th Test, Day 1

The game started as most games seem to nowadays for England; with many people having no idea which players would be selected. Bayliss had again expressed his belief that England didn’t need to play 8 batsmen, which seemed to suggest Dawson or Finn would be coming in to replace Dawid Malan. Malan’s performance certainly didn’t fill watchers with confidence in the last game, but then again neither did Dawson. It eventually became apparent that despite the coach’s musings, England would announce an unchanged team. The same was not true of South Africa, who were forced to replace bowlers Philander and Morris with allrounders Olivier and de Bruyn due to injury.

In a shock to many, it was dry and the game started on time. In Manchester. England won the toss, which given the rest of the series virtually guarantees that they will win, but apparently they still had to play a game of cricket first and so they elected to bat. Keaton Jennings fell quickly after edging a delivery from Olivier to the keeper for 17. It feels like this might be the last game for Jennings if he can’t make a score in the next innings, particularly if Trevor Bayliss can see Mark Stoneman play in the next week or two.

Westley came in to partner Cook, and the pair made slow and steady (emphasis on slow) progress to the lunch break and beyond.  The partnership came to a sudden end when Cook got a thin edge on a straight ball from Maharaj after playing a loose drive to a wide ball. As people who read below the line on the preview post will already know, this means that Cook now has 49 innings against South Africa and Australia since his last century.

Three overs later, Westley lost his wicket after hanging his bat well outside the line to a short and wide delivery from Rabada. This meant the fluent Root was joined by Dawid Malan, another batsman playing for a place in the next series. Malan seemed to be in better shape than in the previous game, or perhaps the conditions being less conducive to swing helped him somewhat. Either way, it was an improved but still unconvincing second game with a few loose shots and near-misses before he eventually fell edging a wide drive to second slip just before Tea.

Root and Stokes piled on the runs fairly quickly, but not without some risk. Root in particular was lucky to survive an edge which South African wicketkeeper de Kock watched go past. Fortunately for the tourists, Root only added another 12 runs as he fell for 52 runs to an LBW appeal. Root unsuccessfully appealed the decision, which suggests his judgment of such things is just as poor in front of the stumps as it is behind them. This put England in the familiar situation of having lost their last specialist batsmen for less than 200 runs, relying on their lower order to build an imposing total. Stokes and Bairstow obliged, putting on another 65 runs before Rabada bowled Stokes in the penultimate over of the day. Toby Roland-Jones came in ahead of Moeen Ali as nightwatchman but amusingly didn’t face a ball, leaving England on 260/6 at the end of the day.

All of which leaves the game fairly evenly poised going into the second day. A quick collapse tomorrow and South Africa will be well ahead, if England’s tail can add another 100 runs or more then they will be happy. Either way, perhaps there will finally be a closely contested game in this series. Comments as always welcomed below.


42 thoughts on “England vs. South Africa, 4th Test, Day 1

  1. Elaine Simpson Long Aug 5, 2017 / 5:35 am

    As Sir Geoffrey would have said It was a game of good old fashioned crickeeet and Ii thorougly enjoyed it. Watched all day and found it totally engrossing. The SA bowlers did really well and really Morkel should have had six wickets by now with so many of his deliveries missing by a whisker. I watched the T20 bash in the evening. Wgat a contrast but I will asmit to enjoying it as I made my supper and washed up in between sixes.


    • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Aug 5, 2017 / 7:17 am

      Agreed, 3-4 more days of this balance between bat and ball and we could be in for a scintillating finale. I suspect, however, that England will get 30-50 too many for South Africa and our seamers will be too good for them. We’ll see…


      • Miami Dad's Six Aug 5, 2017 / 9:08 am

        Morkel would be frightening if he hit the stumps more. His Flintoffian length stops him getting wickets.


  2. BoredInAustria Aug 5, 2017 / 5:39 am

    I think the Proteas might have taken 260/6 on Friday morning. It will depend what Morkel and Rabada can do in the morning session. The SA batting has left a bit to be desired for, we shall see if the QdK experiment continues.

    How does OT normally behave on day 2? – Boycs said early on it will be good for batting, but it seemed very tricky. Looks as if there can be rain in the next days, and certainly overcast.

    I am also interested what you thought of the Bairstow catch that was reversed – both crickbuzz and bbc seemed to think it was tight.


    • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Aug 5, 2017 / 7:26 am

      Not sure we can generalise about typical day two conditions given the scarcity of OT matches since they relaid the square. I think the last game was a rain-interrupted one in 2014. For what it’s worth this didn’t strike me as a situation where a pitch will flatten and conditions will become benign, and I think 320 will be a decent score. Root may well have been in the position to put the game almost beyond the Saffers but played a very loose shot I thought.

      Re the catch I do think it looked suspect and I think the right decision was probably arrived at. However, I continue to be frustrated at the use of this technology for a line decision when the flaws of the technology for this purpose were exposed so long ago.


      • BoredInAustria Aug 5, 2017 / 10:02 am

        Thank you
        Agree that the technology is iffy and the umpires should trust their call on this.

        A question on the protocol – was it a ENG review – or a umpire request for the 3rd ump. On crickbuzz they said Bairstow did not want to walk.


        • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Aug 5, 2017 / 3:40 pm

          I only partially saw it but I think this is the sequence. He was not given out until the umpire consulted with square leg. Belatedly he was given out and they waited for the umpire-instigated review. What’s not clear to me is whether the umpire called for the review before deciding on an on-field call of out. I suspect they did. Bit messy and a fair bit of good natured banter while the players were waiting.


  3. Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Aug 5, 2017 / 7:30 am

    I appreciate this comes over as a little OCD but I like scorecards where every score is in double figures and this is still on. Extras has some work to do though, the single no-ball and no wides testimony maybe to the Saffer bowling discipline yesterday.


  4. d'Arthez Aug 5, 2017 / 8:34 am

    Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka are having a fight on their hands not to lose 18 wickets on day 3 of the second Test against India. They shipped 9 in the first 2 hours and 10 minutes of that day – and were forced to follow on, a mere 439 runs behind …

    Ultra competitive cricket that. So what is left is to destroy cricket in New Zealand and South Africa, and the ECB, BCCI and CA are laughing all the way to the bank. The ECB and BCCI have been busy with CSA, while CA are providing the honours with regards to destroying cricket in New Zealand. Well done guys.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tom Aug 5, 2017 / 11:24 am

    Cricinfo has really pissed me off now by inserting a video between the summary of the batsmen and bowlers and the commentary, so can’t see both at the same time. However, I’ve been trying to listen to the TMS online commentary on the BBC site:


    I’m connected to the UK via a VPN, so in theory, this should work (it has for the last three tests), but the links to the live TMS commentary are inactive on that page. Are people in the UK having the same problem? Is there a direct link to the TMS radio commentary online? I’m trying to figure out if this is a problem I have rather than the BBC’s.

    Sorry for the bother.


    • dlpthomas Aug 5, 2017 / 11:32 am

      It’s working for me using Tunnel Bear from Sydney


      • Tom Aug 5, 2017 / 11:40 am

        Thanks. I’m not sure what the problem is. I get the same thing switching browsers as well (chrome and firefox) and rebooting doesn’t help. Anyway, well batted Bairstow (I think), what a shame to get out on 99 for the tenth wicket. It looked as if it was a fine knock but a little difficult to tell as I’m feeling a little detached here…


        • Sophie Aug 5, 2017 / 12:34 pm

          Does this not work?


          • Sophie Aug 5, 2017 / 12:35 pm

            Sorry about the picture!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Tom Aug 5, 2017 / 12:57 pm

            Yes, that works! I don’t even have to use the VPN connection. Thank you so much, Sophie!


          • Sophie Aug 5, 2017 / 1:12 pm

            There’s a link on the BBC site that says TMS overseas.


          • Tom Aug 5, 2017 / 1:28 pm

            Sophie – I saw that link but it didn’t work for me, just said I wasn’t allowed to watch. Of course, that was when I was connected via the VPN, so the site thought I was in the UK. A big Duh! on my part.

            The usual links on the BBC live page still don’t work though, they’re inactive whenever I hover my mouse over them, whether I’m connected to the UK or not and even MS edge won’t work, something I rarely go to. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll figure things out. BTW, any chance you could fix Cricinfo as well? 😉

            Thank you again for your help, it’s truly appreciated.


            Liked by 1 person

  6. Mark Aug 5, 2017 / 11:50 am

    I have both sympathy and no sympathy for Bairstow there. My sympathy is that before technology he would never have been given out LBW for that shout. His front foot was a long way down, and it was marginally inside/outside the line. In the old days he would have got the benefit of the doubt.

    Today umpires give more of those decsions because they have seen ball tracking says the ball would hit the stumps on more of those close calls. You may say that shows that umpires were too cautious in the old days. Which if ball tracking is accurate they obviously we’re.

    On the other hand why play a across the line sweep shot which is full of danger. Anderson was almost out the over before playing a reverse sweep. Play with the full face of the bat. With today’s technology the sweep shot is much more likely to be a wicket if you miss.

    Anyway, never mind, and there is a case to be made that Bairstow has been England’s best batsman of the last couple of years.


    • Benny Aug 5, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      I had a little difference of opinion with a VIP blogger recently about Bairstow being best. All down to Bairstow’s performances impressing me more than Root’s. I reckon Root has more talent but feel that he is capable of giving us more.

      Definitely believe England don’t make full use of Bairstow’s ability – wouldn’t bat him lower than 5. If this is too tough for a keeper, get another keeper and I don’t mean Buttler.

      Re the lbw, the batsmen have a big plank of wood in their hands and if they don’t use it to stop straight balls hitting the wicket, I have no sympathy. Yes, I think as a bowler.


  7. LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    I love scores of 99.

    Jonny is the 85th man to be dismissed for 99 in test matches. Add to that 6 not outs and we are in to the 90s for the 99s.

    To me the gold standard for 99s is Shane Warne’s. I am wondering if I have ever laughed more at a cricketing event.

    Never seen one in the flesh in tests. Seen Freddie make one in an ODI.


    Saw Scott Newman make one in a county game – I think it was his first CC match. Padded up and was given LBW.

    There is a certain class in 99s. KP has one. Ian Bell has a 199 for heaven’s sake. Al hasn’t.

    Any 99 memories for you lot?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) Aug 5, 2017 / 3:44 pm

      Do you know if Atherton is the only one to a) have done it twice and b) been run out on 99 in a Test?


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2017 / 3:50 pm

        A fair few have done it twice. This century Misbah has three scores of 99, including a not out.

        MS Dhoni is the last I can remember being run out on 99, against England at Nagpur.


          • LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2017 / 4:15 pm

            Third wicketkeeper to be dismissed on 99. Dhoni and McCullum the others.

            First test 99 at Old Trafford.

            Athers the only one to do it twice in England.

            13th 99 (out) in England. 6 at Lord’s, 3 at Trent Bridge, 2 at Headingley, 1 at The Oval, 1 at OT.

            First in England for 15 years. Sourav Ganguly at TB. 2002. 2 of the 13 took place in one test (Lord’s 1993 – Athers and M Waugh).


    • Mark Aug 5, 2017 / 4:34 pm

      Imagine if a batsman got 99 every innings he batted, and never got a 100. He would have a Bradman average or higher.

      Now the media would have a problem. If he was Cook it would be fine. If it was Ian Bell they would complain about his conversion rate.


    • Ian Aug 5, 2017 / 6:04 pm

      Seen three in the last year at the Rosebowl. Gareth Berg (Ran out of partners) and Rilee Roussow (run out going for the 2nd to get to 100) and last season Michael Richardson for Durham. In that one Chris Rushworth just had to see out one ball and swiped at it wildly leaving Richardson stranded.


  8. d'Arthez Aug 5, 2017 / 3:37 pm

    South Africa throwing away another game. Congrats England.


    • d'Arthez Aug 5, 2017 / 4:21 pm

      CSA learned the lessons well.

      Be competitive in India (in their 2010 tour, South Africa were just 10 balls away from winning the series)? You won’t get more Tests for another 5 years, and when you do, the pitches are indistinguishable from rural roads in the Himalayas. I think the Nagpur curator is still lost somewhere out there (in the Himalayas that is). Oh, and your 2013, and 2017 tours will get cut short as well. One time, because Srini did not like Lorgat, the other time, because Sri Lanka have to be rewarded for endless organisational ineptitude and incompetence. Because at least they don’t put up a good fight. (Hell, Sri Lanka needed a third umpire’s assistance to win a Test against Zimbabwe).

      Be competitive in England? You barely get three Tests after 4 years, and when you compete well, you are not to be seen for another 5 years (but somehow there was a gap to slot in 10 Ashes Tests). Starve them of funding, and see where that leads to.

      One of the reasons AB is not on display is staring all and sundry in the face here (and anyone who thinks that de Bruyn is better than AB is deluded). Because he’ll be magically fit / raring to go once India come to town (if they do) – fun fact: AB gets paid more for 3 IPL games than for a season of international cricket.
      Not that the powers that be care. Or that the MSM can even be bothered to connect the dots. Anyone who honestly thinks that Olivier is a better bowler than Kyle Abbott is, frankly deluded. Yet international cricket is structured in such a way, that Abbott is paid not to represent his country.

      And I am supposed to believe in the integrity of the sport? When the governing body’s sole mission is to screw over those without financial muscle?

      Think about the integrity of the game, ACSU (not that they’ll care. They have still not even started on an investigation into the corruption of the sport that Dave Richardson himself admitted to – but I guess organized corruption is legal).

      The sport is done. And with that, I’ll retire from following cricket. It was nice interacting with you all. But it is impossible for me to sustain interest in the sport, when it has been destroyed by the governing bodies involved.


  9. pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 5, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    A couple of quick wickets post tea from Anderson and the game is now hugely in Englands favour. Bavuma and Du Plessis out trying to leave the ball and getting castled. With the latter being lbw twice at the Oval without playing a shot I guess this is testament to England bowling a really challenging line rather than “bowling dry”. It has been discussed on Sky and is probably going to be the difference in the final outcome with England highly likely to take a substantial first innings lead.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 5, 2017 / 4:02 pm

      Good meeting you last night, sir.

      This is following a pretty typical path for tests in England. Put 300+ on the board, and it seems tricky for teams to get on top chasing that. I just don’t think the South African batting is all that at the moment.


      • BoredInAustria Aug 5, 2017 / 4:21 pm

        But I am sure AB is fighting…

        Liked by 1 person

          • BoredInAustria Aug 5, 2017 / 4:27 pm

            # ProteaFire!!!
            I am sure he can tell you all about that.


          • Mark Aug 5, 2017 / 4:29 pm

            If I was a SA fan I would tell him to STFU, get off Twitter and go and do something useful.

            If he doesn’t want to play test cricket then go fishing or play golf, but don’t sit on Twitter humiliating yourself.

            Liked by 2 people

          • d'Arthez Aug 5, 2017 / 4:32 pm

            He’ll be playing Tests soon enough, if India actually do tour South Africa …


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Aug 5, 2017 / 5:00 pm

        Great to meet you too squire as well as Sean and TLG. I have to admit that I was suffering a bit this morning as the evening drinking session that took on a couple of pubs after the game left me feeling a bit tender. I was far closer to feeling like a t20 chav/bogan in that I really didn’t get to watch that much of the Surrey innings at all!

        Oh SA’s batting has a few holes in it all right. Amla is clearly on the wane, the absence of AB as mentioned and a glaring lack of an opening partner for Elgar meaning that they are very prone to collapses.


        • Sean B Aug 5, 2017 / 6:11 pm

          I think we all felt a little tender this morning! Good to see you again squire.


  10. Mark Aug 5, 2017 / 4:31 pm

    By the way….

    in light of all these SA wickets that are out with no shot played……..remember our ex captain thinks this is as good a standard of test cricket has ever been. Yes seriously.


  11. Mark Aug 5, 2017 / 4:36 pm

    Ha ha ha That was a batsman walking for an LBW.

    In other news…….Oh shit, the football season has started…


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