Sunday, 5 December 2021

Ballance, Root counterattack for England


NOTTINGHAM: James Anderson made clinical use of a good bowling morning at Trent Bridge to collect a five-wicket haul as England took the last four South Africa wickets in only 6.2 overs for the addition of only 26 runs.

Anderson demolished the tail in a spell of 4 for 4 in only 20 deliveries to finish with 5 for 72, taking five in an innings for the 22nd time in his Test career.

England had carped about the second new ball on the previous evening, and they managed to negotiate an immediate change on the second morning. The skies were grey, the floodlights were on and Anderson had a spring in his step, his 34 years falling off him with every delivery.

Anderson was only five balls into his work, hardly time to get the lungs motoring, when Vernon Philander became his first victim. Philander had made a contented half-century on the first evening, but he had not added to his overnight 54 when he popped a catch into the covers off a leading edge as he fell to a back-of-a-length delivery.

Keshav Maharaj followed without scoring in Anderson’s next over, outwitted by the inswinger/outswinger routine, his edge inviting Joe Root to hold a flamboyant catch at second slip.

While Stuart Broad persisted on his home ground without success, Anderson gained further reward in each of his next two overs. Chris Morris was South Africa’s best hope of a late-order retort, but he was defeated by extra bounce and pushed back a gentle catch which Anderson grabbed at the second attempt.

That left Morne Morkel: another outswinger, a thin edge and a simple catch for Jonny Bairstow.

Anderson had ensured that England were not unduly detained. But South Africa now had use of perfect bowling conditions and they braced themselves for an awkward period before the skies cleared, according to the forecast, later in the day.

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