England headed out for what they hoped would be the final day of the series needing ten wickets to win the series 3-1. For South Africa life was somewhat more complicated as they were looking to smash every 4th innings record in the history of the game.
England fans could probably sympathise with the hope that the hosts top order provided in the first half of the day for their fans as each member of the top four managed to bat at least an hour. Malan who had looked to go into his bunker in the first innings was now looking to unveil a few more scoring shots, and his partner Elgar who throughout had looked in better touch then his numbers suggest was also looking solid.
Both however were dismissed by England before lunch due to Woakes and of course Stokes. In the afternoon tempers began to be a little strained as Broad, du Plessis and Buttler were all caught up in a minor incident which I’m sure the demerit police squad will want to look at. To be honest it all looked like a storm in a tea cup but never the less the bar has been set so low for demerit points.
Van der Dussen and du Plessis were starting to look like they would help their team bat the day and force a fifth one. Du Plessis possibly playing in his last test or as captain looked determined to finish the series on a high until Stokes got one to nip back and trim the bails.
Der Dussen who had come out with a much more positive attitude had played really nicely to get himself into the nineties. Whenever Root had turned to himself or Denly for a bit of part-time spin der Dussen had smacked them out of the attack and looked incredibly comfortable doing it.
On 98 however a full ball from Mark Wood seemed to hold in the pitch slightly and Der Dussen chipped one in the air to be caught by an ecstatic Stuart Broad. The rest of the day was like the sinking of the Titanic for South Africa as only de Kock really hung around to try and salvage something.
Broad got in on the act to expose the tail with a couple of wickets including an absolute brute of a delivery to Bavuma who did well to get a glove on it. After that England’s tail sweeper Mark Wood finished things off as he finished with four wickets to go with his five from the first innings.
Since the first match at Centurion England had been clinical and ruthless, things that in the past you wouldn’t have associated with them. Root post-match talked about how they needed to continue to post big first innings scores and drive the match from there as they have in the last two test matches.
Ben Stoke obviously collected man of the series and Wood man of the match and England will hope he has turned a corner in terms of fitness. His pace in the last two matches was frightening as he broke the 90mph barrier for fun, watch out Australia.
England will rightly celebrate a job expertly will done but will be mindful that the big prize in test match cricket is now under two years away. We could be in for a grandstand Ashes series if both teams continue to grow over that two year period as there’s a feeling of unfinished business after the recent summer. Hopefully Cricket Australia looked at these pitches in South Africa in order to produce an exciting Ashes series.
South Africa 2nd Innings
|P J Malan||c Stokes b Woakes||22||51||3||0|
|D Elgar||c & b Stokes||24||73||4||0|
|H E van der Dussen||c Broad b Wood||98||138||15||2|
|F du Plessis||b Stokes||35||92||5||0|
|Q de Kock||c Woakes b Wood||39||42||6||1|
|T Bavuma||c Buttler b Broad||27||29||6||0|
|D Pretorius||c Curran b Broad||2||8||0||0|
|V D Philander||c Buttler b Wood||10||11||2||0|
|A Nortje||c Buttler b Wood||4||10||0||0|
|B E Hendricks||Run Out Sibley||4||9||0||0|
|Extras||4b 2lb 0 3w||9|
|Total||for 10||274||77.1 overs|
|S C J Broad||10||1||26||2|
|S M Curran||11||2||38||0|
|M A Wood||16||3||54||4|
|C R Woakes||14||3||47||1|
|B A Stokes||16||4||47||2|
|J E Root||7||1||37||0|
|J L Denly||3||0||19||0|
England win by 191 runs
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