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South Africa vs England, 4th Test Match, Day 1

Consistent rain that had started the previous evening meant the entire first session was washed out without even giving time to the toss. Eventually after lunch the clouds began to clear and Joe Root won the toss and hesitantly batted first. Johannesburg traditionally has been a favourable ground for the bowlers so with that in mind both teams had dropped their front line spinners’ and gone for an all out pace attack.   

The two young England openers who had been impressive so far in the series got England off to a rollicking start and by tea they had brought up England’s first century opening stand since Chennai 2016. Crawley was incredibly positive and brought up his first half century as he capitalised on some very meek South African bowling.

The opening two hours of play had pretty much totally gone against everything I’d put in the preview post yesterday. Archer wasn’t playing which meant we weren’t going to see him charge in nor was the wicket looking particularly spicy.

Probably after a Mark Boucher team talk the South Africans did come out after lunch with a bit more fire and quickly picked up the wicket of Sibley for 44. A slight technical floor in Sibley’s game might just be starting to show as once again he was caught on the leg side poking at one.

Things started to look somewhat different to how they had been before lunch as Philander playing in his last match got one to hold its line and Crawley edged it to slip. Denly having been dropped twice wasn’t so lucky third time round and Stokes played at a wide one to leave England four down.

Thankfully the master and his apprentice in Root and Pope guided England home whilst in the process scoring England’s 500,000 test run. The pair took advantage of a fairly spread field which allowed them to rotate strike frequently.

With about half an hour to go test cricket began its shooting itself in the foot routine as they went off for bad light despite four of the biggest flood light known to man beaming away on the pitch. Sometimes I wonder if cricket really wants spectators in its stands.

The winner of tomorrow will probably win the game as it’s in a pretty similar position to day two at Port Elizabeth with England four down. That day the overnight batsmen in Stokes and Pope took the game away by scoring centuries and England will hope for a repeat tomorrow.

England 1st Innings

BatsmanRunsBalls4s6s
Z Crawleyc van der Dussen b Philander66112110
D P Sibleyc de Kock b Hendricks449370
J L Denlyc van der Dussen b Paterson273540
J E Root254120
B A Stokesc van der Dussen b Nortje21000
O J D Pope223730
Extras1lb 0 3w 2nb6 
Totalfor 419254.2 overs
BowlerOMRW
V D Philander130371
B E Hendricks132431
A Nortje110531
D Paterson132391
D Pretorius41190

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