Having written Day 2 up and managed to not save, I’m going to make this more Phlog than Blog as we’re in full flow with the series against the West Indies
Highlights of the Day:
Alastair Cook got close to his century having played a patient innings, he made 88 from 200 balls before being caught LBW by Morne Morkel, I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so disappointed as he left the field, he fully deserved his place on the honours board but it wasn’t to be this time.
England were 183 for 5 when Cook was out, a long way from a good place. Ben Stokes however came to the rescue and played an almost perfect innings, he made 112 runs, reaching his century with a huge 6, one of 3 in the over, they were a sight to behold! Stokes had run out of batting partners and clearly felt Jimmy Anderson wasn’t a certainty to stay. However Stokes was the last wicket to fall as he went for another bog hit that didn’t quite make it, the returning Rabada was under the ball and that was the end of England’s innings at 353 All Out.
A much better display than the one so highly criticised at Trent Bridge, it would now be up to the bowlers. A mention of the fact that again Vernon Philander was unwell and too little part in the day, he ended up in hospital over night in fact.
Highlights of the South Africa innings – as far as the batting is concerned there was just the one – Temba Bavuma. The day ended with South Africa on 126 for 8 with England debutant Toby Roland-Jones responsible for 4 of the 8 wickets, something of a good start!
With Philander unavailable to bat England only needed to take 9 wickets but thanks to Bavuma who finished on 52 and a dogged display from Morkel, they’d have to go again on Day 3.
Highlights of the Day:
South Africa resumed their innings with Bavuma and Morkel, and reached 161 before Morkel was out, Jimmy Anderson taking his third wicket. The good news for both South Africa and Roland-Jones was that Philander was back!
The whole ground, well, every England fan was hoping Roland-Jones would get his 5th wicket and Bavuma, after a great innings obliged, with a knick to Jonny Bairstow giving the new man figures of 5 for 57, a new hero was found! South Africa finished their innings on 175 All Out, trailing by 178 runs.
The weather was to be the real winner on Day 3, having had a great 1st innings Cook was to leave the fray early as he was bowled by Morkel for 7. It was important for both Keaton Jennings and Tom Westley to make their mark in this test and they were both going along well when the rain came and England finished the shortened day on 74 for 1 a lead of 252.
Highlights of the Day
The questions at the start of Day 4 was, how long would England bat and would the rain stay away? I presume Joe Root knew the answer to the first and hoped the weather forecasters knew the answer to the second.
We had a full day of cricket and as an Essex Member it was a real highlight to see Tom Westley take the applause when he reached his 50, Jennings just missed out with 48 and Westley only added a further 9.
Joe Root reached 50 on his way to his 10th in consecutive test matches, but the top scorer for England was Jonny Bairstow with an entertaining 63 form 58 balls, his was the last wicket to fall and England had made 313 for 8 setting South Africa of 492 to win.
Trouble started early on for South Africa as they found themselves on 52 for 4, with only Dean Elgar making a stand amongst the top 5 batsmen
I had a ticket for Day 5, but the wedding of my good friend Maria meant I wasn’t able to be there, I confess I kept tabs on things during the day.
Dean Elgar did himself proud scoring 136, I for one was hoping he’d reach his century, he’d bowled against England, hurting his fingers and had been hit on the hand a couple of times too, it was a gritty innings full of charachter.
But, it wasn’t enough, he couldn’t carry his team on his own and they were all out for 252, meaning England had bounced back after a woeful display at Trent Bridge and won this game by 239 runs. Toby Roland-Jones took a further 3 wickets giving him 8 on his debut, it was a joy to watch him play and succeed.
I’m revisiting this as I edit my photos from Old Trafford, I’d totally forgotten Moeen Ali’s part in this test match! He took four South African wickets in their second innings, including a hat-trick spread across 2 overs! He’s become such a key player for this England team.