The Cricketer
Owen Riley Owen Riley


Allrounders shine for England

Yesterday was about a young captain showing the planet what it means to handle pressure, absorb it, harness it, and produce a magnificent response.

This morning was about two fine cricketers laughing in the face of age-old questions of their years and queries over the ability of their limbs to keep on manoeuvring.

Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson produced a highly-entertaining 45-run stand at the back of England’s innings. Broad crunched Morne Morkel for back-to-back sixes to reach his first Test fifty since 2013. Jimmy wasted no time in following his bowling partner’s lead, the Burnley Lara coming down the crease and hitting Kagiso Rabada over midwicket for six more, only his third six in Test cricket.

It looked liked it would be Morne’s morning when he brought Joe Root’s epic to an end with a beauty of a nut, ending the England captain’s innings with just six runs added to his overnight total. He followed up pinning Liam Dawson lbw two balls later.

Moeen and Broad added 46 before Kagiso Rabada found a groove. The paceman located a gap between Moeen’s bat and pad to clatter off stump, Mark Wood was comprehensively out leg before two deliveries after. 

That was when Jimmy and Stuart met, swinging and joking their way to 458 all out.

Once their stand-up routine with the bat came to an end, it was back to more familiar sights. Broad bounding in from the Nursery End, Jimmy gliding in from the Pavilion.

Broad would have Heino Kuhn caught at slip early doors (he would return before the day was out to remove JP Duminy cheaply) before South Africa settled with Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla at the crease.

And then there’s this Moeen chap. Some view him as a player England are lucky to have, a gem at No.7. Others argue that he does not excel enough in either discipline - averaging 35 with the bat, 42 with the ball - to warrant a place in the Test team.

Moeen reached 2,000 Test runs and 100 Test wickets on day two

Yesterday there was some dissent on the Twitter - ever the leveller - for yesterday’s report praising Moeen’s batting.

As if he had read the word’s himself, Moeen sent the sixth delivery of the day through the covers. An early riposte.

If you can’t take pleasure in the Moeen cover drive, then there’s really no hope for you.

He would take Philander for consecutive fours, the first rocking back, muscled through midwicket, the second a delicate clip to reach 2,000 Test runs. 

Later in the piece Moeen would take his 99th and 100th Test wickets - becoming the second-quickest (38 Tests) to reach 2,000 runs and 100 wickets for England. Only Tony Greig (37 Tests) is ahead of Moeen.

The first would break a 72-run stand between Amla and Elgar. Amla going back to a turning delivery which had him trapped. The next removed stand-in captain Elgar, who had passed fifty and had been barnacled at the crease for 118 deliveries.

Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn impressed for a stand of 99, before the latter fell late in the day, Anderson rewarded in his 12th and final over.

Bavuma is an eminently loveable cricketer. He was faced with an unenviable task today. England with plenty on the board, Ben Stokes in his ear, Anderson and Broad kicking and throwing balls at him, like a bunch of jocks picking on the small kid whose backpack is too big for him.

His only Test hundred came at Cape Town against England where the Durham allrounder’s verbals were in full flow after producing his own batting bizarre. Temba was 102 not out at Newlands and his defences are yet to be breached at Lord’s. England are ahead but Bavuma’s wicket will be crucial with Quinton de Kock yet to be unleashed.

 Day two highlights...