The 3rd test is days away and a lot of cricket has been attended including the Women’s World Cup Final , but I must finish off my Trent Bridge experience.
Day 3 saw Faf du Plessis and his South Africa put themselves in an unassailable position, that meant pretty much a full day of watching them bat. The day started with Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla at the crease with the score on 75 for 1, a lead that equalled England’s first innings of 205.
The wicket seemed to be one that was favouring the batsmen and Elgar reached a very fine 80 before he was caught by Anderson from the bowling of Ben Stokes. The morning had been flat as far as England were concerned, Quinton de Kock came to the wicket and was sent packing after facing 4 balls with just a single run to his name. Anderson had sent a ball down and de Kock had edged it to Jonny Bairstow. South Africa were 154 for 3 , giving them a lead of 284.
The 2 quick wickets had lifted both England and the crowd; Faf du Plessis had joined Amla at the crease. Du Plessis had lead the way as far as captaincy was concerned in that match and he set about giving a batting display to thrill any cricket lover.
Amla was working his way to a century and I for one was hoping he’d get there, but Liam Dawson, a spinner he possibly wasn’t likely to take seriously took his wicket for the 2nd time in the series. LBW and he was gone for 87.
While that was a good wicket for Dawson I wasn’t alone in wonderful why the man who’d taken 10 wickets at Lords was being ignored as far as bowling was concerned. An ironic cheer went up when Moeen was finally given the ball.
The diminutive Temba Bavuma who is very handy with the bat became Moeen’s first victim in this innings, he had 15 to his name when he was caught by Root. South Africa were 254 for 5, that lead was building and sat at 384, with 2 days of the match remaining it was clear du Plessis was looking to put the game totally out of reach of the hosts.
Vernon Philander had shown himself to be a good batsman and he joined his captain. Du Plessis is like Amla a delight to watch and he reached 63 before Stokes trapped him LBW. Would he call his team mate in with him? That was a no, they were 275 for 6 and would build to 343 for 9, a lead of 473.
Philander made 42 and Moeen took a further 3 wickets, giving him figures of 4 for 78 from the 16 overs he bowled, making the delay in using him even more of a mystery. On the whole the England seamers struggled, Mark Wood fell over several times which was a concern and from 77 overs between them only Anderson and Stokes took 2 wickets apiece.
The declaration left England’s openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings with an awkward 4 overs to face. Cook was given out LBW on the 2nd ball of his innings, he went for a review immediately and was proven right seeing the decision overturned.
I was very tempted to stay for Day 4 but decided to stick with my arrangements meaning I didn’t witness first hand yet another England collapse! They were bowled out for a paltry (for want of a ruder word) 133. Cook contributed 42 of those runs and Moeen 27. South Africa won by a clear 340 runs – A thrashing by anyone’s standards!
I have 2 more test matches to attend, I’m hoping England remember how to use that piece of willow in a test match setting!