I’m on catch up again with piles of photos to share and the final test of the summer due to start this week.  That means I have two test matches to account for before I set off for Lords on Thursday.  With that in mind I’m going down the highlights with lots of photos route.

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I booked the Sale Travelodge for this test, I figured I’d be able to walk to the Metro rather than mess about with driving and car parks, I arrived to find the hotel was out on a limb.  Not quite what I’d planned, but it was actually a walk to Dane Road a metro stop which is only 2 stops from Old Trafford, so perfect as it turned out!

The forecast had been a bit iffy for Old Trafford, but it turned out Ok in the end for my 3 days and was in fact positively warm at times!  I arrived in good time to find myself in a decent seat, under the Point in the Grand Stand, I was sat amongst cricket lovers so wasn’t disturbed all day which was perfect.

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Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat, England were unchanged from their victory t The Oval, South Africa were without Vernon Philander with a back injury and Chris Morris, Theunis de Bruyn and Duanne Olivier were back in the team. 

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This felt like the last chance saloon for Keaton Jennings and he wasn’t able to make the most of it, he was out for 17 caught behind by De Kick from the bowling of Rabada. That of course wasn’t a highlight and I’m meant to be sticking to them!

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We had a nearly, but not quite highlight as it looked like England might make 100 with only one wicket down!  But, no, it wasn’t to be! Alastair Cook was out for 46 and Tom Westley 29 with the score on 92 – England went from 91 for 1 to 92 for 3.  Those first 3 wickets all fell to catches by Quinton de Kock.

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At least Joe Root wasn’t coming in with the score under 50, which was it’s own small miracle.  The captain and Dawid Malan put on 50 before Malan was out, he’d only made 18 of those runs.  Root looked in fine form and reached 50, his 11th consecutive game with that landmark.

Old Trafford was the setting for Root’s 254 against Pakistan last summer but he didn’t convert his 50 this time round, as Olivier caught him LBW on 52.

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The highlight of the day from the viewpoint of an England fan was Ben Stokes innings, he’d scored a century at The Oval and carried on where he left off, with a dynamic, exciting innings.

Stokes and Rabada had been having something of a battle during the series and this was no different, Stokes hit Rabada for two 4’s in the final over of the day, Rabada responded with one of his unplayable balls; a yorker which landed at the base of the stumps, Stokes’ innings was over he’d made 58 and England finished the day on 252 for 6.

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