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Friday, June 2, 2023

Sarel Erwee’s Half-century and Kagiso Rabada’s 5 Wicket Haul Help South Africa Gain a Solid Lead

South Africa 289 for 7 (Jansen 41*, Rabada 3*) lead England 165 (Pope 73, Rabada 5-52, Nortje 3-63) by 124 runs

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Russell Chattaraj
Russell Chattaraj
Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

UNITED KINGDOM: Ben Stokes put on a typically ‘talismanic’ performance as the home team tried to Baz-brawl their way back into contention. Still, South Africa found contributions from all sides and maintained the lead on day two at Lord’s, confounding England’s hype in the lead-up to this Test.

South Africa’s innings

At Lord’s on day two, Sarel Erwee’s placid fifty-six guided South Africa’s response as the visiting team approached parity at tea. A pair of solid stands involving Erwee ensured South Africa would not easily give up their advantage. Kagiso Rabada’s five-wicket haul earlier in the day had kept England firmly in check.

Sarel Erwee after scoring his fifty. Photo Credit: Twitter
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However, Stokes managed a comeback during the evening session, claiming three of the five wickets that fell and once more grabbing the initiative by showing off his physical prowess. After Rassie van der Dussen was pinned in front and a fierce bouncer knocked out Erwee, England struggled when Stokes returned to end the day by breaking a 72-run partnership for the seventh wicket.

Prior to the late counterpunch from Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj, South Africa had gone from 160 for 2 to 210 for 6, only 45 runs in front. Maharaj was caught hooking at Stokes, but Jansen displayed his all-round prowess with a barrage of boundaries as the Lord’s shadows became longer.

Marco Jansen scored a quickfire 41* on Day 2. Photo Credit: Twitter
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After the tea break, Jack Leach’s first ball found Aiden Markram’s outside edge, sparking England’s comeback. Erwee, who had maintained his composure throughout the day, was the target of a head-hunting bouncer who he was able to only glove through to the keeper. Stokes then entered the game for a spell of short-pitched bowling, a strategy England has used with increasing regularity.

Van der Dussen was dismissed by the threat of the short ball when a fuller delivery trapped him on the crease, and a review revealed that the ball would have crashed into his leg stump. Stuart Broad picked Kyle Verreyne’s outside edge a few overs later to earn his 100th dismissal at Lord’s.

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South Africa began their innings with a level of discipline that was consistent with skipper Dean Elgar’s chosen approach in response to an England total that appeared meagre even when considered in the context of being asked to bat in the most challenging circumstances of the match, thus far. However, their scoring rate of 3.75 per over was considerably higher than England’s much more nimble batting effort. 

Elgar is a figure who has little patience for frivolity as a hitter, and his 85-run opening stand with Erwee had a businesslike air to it. Before lunch, the pair began stifling England’s new-ball attack; later, during the afternoon session, they became more expensive. 

As early morning clouds gave way to glorious brightness, their progress was so at ease that it was unexpected when Elgar’s demise occurred just before the half-century mark due to poor luck.

James Anderson’s second innings had started with an unplayable delivery on off-stump that had Elgar stumbling around in the dark. 

The breakthrough for England, however, came from a considerably less dangerous line of attack as Elgar tried to work away a leg-side delivery that deflected off his thigh pad, went into his upper arm, and then spun back to bowl him behind his legs.

Erwee carried on calmly despite losing his skipper and opening partner, plucking up drives and whips through midwicket to reach his second Test fifty-plus score. Most dramatically, Ben Stokes attempted to pull off a run-out as Stuart Broad sent the ball wide of the stumps at the non-striker’s end as Keegan Petersen searched for a single that wasn’t there and had to be sent back.

Petersen was much less at ease as he nearly survived Anderson’s period, but he managed to record South Africa’s second consecutive fifty stands before being dismissed by Matthew Potts to flash an edge to the cordon. Aiden Markram eased into his first Test innings at No. 4 with three crisp fours as Stokes belatedly turned to Jack Leach’s left-arm spin as the interval drew near. Anderson came back and again started with an impeccable line to draw a false shot from Erwee.

England’s tail collapse

The anticipation from seeing England this summer was that they would try to “Bazball” their way out of difficulties on the second morning. Still, South Africa was mostly immune to any lower-order resistance. With three of the final four wickets, Rabada took the initiative in helping England’s first innings be successfully dismissed for 165.

Rabada increased his reputation as one of the most incisive fast bowlers of all time following a seven-over session that saw England dismissed inside the first hour, earning him his 12th five-for in Test matches and a spot on the Lord’s honours board. After England was put in favourable conditions on Wednesday, the fast bowlers quickly followed Elgar’s instructions. Marco Jansen picked up the other wicket that fell.

Another 31 runs were managed by the tail, with Broad swinging Anrich Nortje through the covers before misfiring a slower ball from Rabada to point. After replacing Nortje, Leach hit two boundaries in Jansen’s first over. However, he later played all around a full-length ball to lose off stump, and Anderson was pinned lbw on the first ball as Rabada put an end to England’s innings.

Day 2 Score: South Africa 289 for 7 (Jansen 41*, Rabada 3*) lead England 165 (Pope 73, Rabada 5-52, Nortje 3-63) by 124 runs

Also Read: Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada Places South Africa in Command at Lords


  • Russell Chattaraj

    Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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