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Cricket | South Africa

Hashim Amla © Getty Images

SA in control after declaration

The three most senior South African batsmen, Hashim Amla, Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis, registered excellent half-centuries in contrasting style on Sunday as the tourists tightened the screws on England and stretched the overall lead to a comprehensive 473 on the third day of the second test at Trent Bridge.

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South Africa smashed 343 for nine before Du Plessis declared the innings closed and gave the South African pace attack a four-over spell in which to target the weary England openers.

Keaton Jennings survived the fateful finger of umpire Paul Reiffel when a DRS-referral showed that the ball from Morne Morkel would have cleared his middle stump when on 0 and the decision was overturned.

Alistair Cook and Jennings survived a testing spell as their technique and temperament were scrutinised by both Morkel and Vernon Philander.

Both moved the ball appreciably and launched at least three vociferous appeals. Only height saved the England batsmen.

England limped to 1 without loss at the close on Sunday.

Earlier, Amla underlined his credentials as a world-class batsman with a classy 87. Elgar was composed and aggressive in compiling 80.

"I have a big smile on my face but there is a long road to go," Elgar told Sky Sports.

"Our message after Lord's was that we hadn't become bad players overnight and that we should clear our minds and put those bad thoughts to bed," added Elgar.

"We have a lot of character and we wanted to show it."

Du Plessis’s classy 63 contained several attractive shots and the placement of his offensive strokes were five-star.

Philander hammered an entertaining 42 off 75 balls. It included three fours and two successive sixes, exemplifying his improved ability with the blade.

The defiant and gritty Amla and Elgar added 135 runs in 36.2 overs for the second wicket to put South Africa in charge.

Amla and Du Plessis added another 62 for the fourth wicket to put the Proteas in the ascendancy.

Elgar was dropped on 26 in the gully when James Anderson could not hold onto a very difficult diving chance.


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Amla was let off the hook on 25 when England failed to review a nick to the wicketkeeper off Stuart Broad. In fact, there was no audible appeal, which was odd indeed.

Elgar played the dual role of accumulator and boundary basher with distinction. The left-handed opener struck 80 off 136 with 12 fours before a poor choice of shot denied him what would have been a well-deserved ton.

Amla started off slightly slower, but took the fight to the spinner, Liam Dawson. He looked on course to his 27th test century before he was trapped in front by an arm ball from Dawson for 87, having faced 180 balls.

He hammered 14 fours and a six.

Amla did not fall into the trap of attempting ambitious hook shots off the pace quartet, and handled the short stuff produced by Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad very well.

He displayed the full array of his attacking repertoire, especially after completing his half century.

Du Plessis was an expert judge of when to defend and when to attack.

He played superbly, slamming 63 off 128 balls with nine fours before Stokes trapped him in front with a delivery that went through at ankle height. His late square drives and his driving past extra cover were pure eye candy.

The pick of the attack was a toss-up between James Anderson and Stokes. Anderson removed Quinton de Kock with a peach of a delivery for one and finished with 2-45 in 20 overs.

Stokes captured 2-34 in 20 overs.

Stokes produced a fiery spell after lunch and immediately the run-rate dropped significantly.

He made the initial breakthrough when Elgar attempted to pull a delivery on off-stump and was caught at square-leg by Anderson.

The latter immediately removed De Kock for one, caught behind off an excellent late out-swinger.

But Du Plessis and Amla produced a vigil – completing their 50-run partnership off 135 balls to re-establish control.

Temba Bavuma and Chris Morris gifted their wickets to the offspinner, Moeen Ali. Bavuma could not get to the pitch of the ball in his attempt to clear mid-off on 15. Morris attempted a slog-sweep as he endeavoured to score quick runs to set up the declaration.

Vernon Philander unleashed his fury on the bowling attack when South Africa went in pursuit of quick runs and a declaration before the close. His 42 off 75 balls included two successive sixes off Ali.

He was caught in the same over and Du Plessis declared the innings closed.

The offspinner finished with 4-78 in 16 overs, but Stokes, with 2-34 and Anderson, with 2-45 in 20 overs, deserve greater applause for their efforts. Ali took the wickets when South Africa was already entrenched and started playing high-risk attacking shots in the late afternoon session.

Report Day 1
Report Day 2

ENGLAND: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Gary Ballance, Joe Root (capt), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, James Anderson

SOUTH AFRICA: Dean Elgar, Heino Kuhn, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (capt), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Chris Morris, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Duanne Olivier


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