Sunday, 5 December 2021

Philander leads South Africa rout of England

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NOTTINGHAM: Vernon Philander led a fine all-round bowling effort as South Africa thrashed England by 340 runs in the second Test at Trent Bridge on Monday.

Victory saw the Proteas level the four-match series at 1-1 after they themselves had been well beaten by 211 runs in the first Test at Lord’s. England, set a mammoth 474 runs for victory, collapsed to 133 all out 40 minutes before tea on the fourth day.

Man-of-the-match Philander took three wickets for 24 runs in 10 overs, including an early double strike. That gave him five wickets in total in a match where he also made scores of 54 and 42 with the bat.

No England batsman made a fifty in a second innings where former captain Alastair Cook’s 42 was the top score.

The most made by any side to win in the fourth innings of a Test is the West Indies’ 418 for seven against Australia at St John’s in 2003.

But the more immediate task for England on Monday was to see if they could at least keep South Africa in the field. They failed miserably, the hosts bowled out in 44.2 overs despite South Africa being without Kagiso Rabada after the fast bowler was suspended for swearing at England’s Ben Stokes at Lord’s.

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Philander removed left-handers Keaton Jennings (three) and Gary Ballance (four) during a burst of two for eight in 19 balls.

Recalled all-rounder Chris Morris followed up with two for two in 20 balls to dismiss England captain Joe Root (eight) and Cook. At lunch, England had slumped to 79 for four, with Jonny Bairstow 12 not out and Ben Stokes five not out.

Only last year, the pair shared a stunning partnership of 399 against South Africa at Cape Town, with Stokes making 258 and Bairstow an unbeaten 150.

But their stand on Monday was worth just 12 when Bairstow (16) advanced down the pitch to left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj only to drag an intended drive straight to Morris at mid-on. It was an extraordinary shot given England’s dire position.

“I can’t believe I have seen that,” said angry former England captain Michael Vaughan, commentating on BBC Radio’s Test Match Special.

“All you need to do is dangle the carrot and they’ll go for it. Dumb batting! What is he thinking? Even if it goes for four or six… that’s not the point now. It’s about batting time.”

Moeen Ali hit six fours in his 27 before he too made a present of his wicket to Maharaj, sweeping the spinner straight to square leg.

Stokes at least gutsed it out for more than an hour while making 18 before he was caught and bowled off a low checked drive by Philander. England lost their last three wickets on 133, paceman Duanne Olivier — only playing because Rabada was banned — ending the match when he dismissed tailenders Mark Wood and James Anderson with successive deliveries.

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England resumed with Cook and fellow left-handed opener Jennings both nought not out after surviving four overs late on Sunday.  Philander, renowned for his ability to move the ball at a lively fast-medium pace, had a wicket with just his fifth ball on Monday.

South Africa-born Jennings was undone by an excellent delivery that nipped back to uproot his off stump. Ballance, in his third stint of Test cricket and under huge pressure for his place, was then lbw to Philander on review.

England were 28 for two, with Root once more coming in after a top-order slump. Root had made 190 in his first innings as England captain at Lord’s and top-scored with 78 in their meagre first innings 205 this match.

But he fell cheaply on Monday, Morris producing an excellent yorker to knock over the Yorkshireman’s off-stump. Cook, however, struck four fours in eight balls off Olivier. But his near two-hour innings ended when he was beaten for pace by a well-directed Morris bouncer and gloved down the legside, where wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock held a fine catch.

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