South Africa hit back on day two of the first Investec Test Match at The Kia Oval, leaving the match fascinatingly poised going into the third day tomorrow.
An excellent bowling display first up from the Proteas, led by a revitalised Dale Steyn, put South Africa right back in the match. Despite this, England fought back after a half century from Matt Prior had led them to 385 all out before Graeme Smith and Hasim Amla led a strong response from the tourists.
South Africa made a perfect start as Alastair Cook (115) was bowled by Dale Steyn in just the third over of the morning with the 27 year old Essex batsman departing to a standing ovation from the crowd after a fabulous innings yesterday. Ravi Bopara (0) soon followed in Steyn’s next over as he was caught behind by de Villiers.
The South Africans bowled brilliantly in the first hour of play, with pace and accuracy soon leading to the key wicket of Ian Bell (13) who was bowled by Jacques Kallis, leaving England on 284-6. The quality of the South African bowling meant the English batsmen just couldn’t gain any momentum and struggled to score.
The wicket of Bell brought Matt Prior to the crease and he played a valuable innings for his side, partnering first with Tim Bresnan to take the score past the 300 mark. The Sussex man played fluidly, and was typically strong on the off side although he did ride his luck on occasions.
Bresnan (6) was then dismissed by Tahir as he picked up his only wicket bowling the right handed Yorkshire player.
That brought Stuart Broad (16) to the crease and he supported Prior well before Philander picked up his first wicket by pegging back his off stump. Prior (60), was then caught behind from Morkel’s bowling before he then picked up the wicket of James Anderson (2), again caught behind by de Villiers taking his fifth catch and proving to be a very able replacement for the injured Mark Boucher.
The South African openers were hoping for a good start, but James Anderson thought otherwise as he trapped Alvaro Peterson (0) LBW in just the third over, however the experience of Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla led the Proteas to 16-1 before the rain started to fall and the umpires took the players off
After play resumed at 6pm the English bowling attack didn’t trouble either Smith or Amla apart from one tough slip catch that went down from captain Strauss off the bowling of Bopara. At the end of play Smith ended 37* with Amla 47* and South Africa 86-1.
It was another intriguing and fluctuating day of Test Match cricket at the Kia Oval and sets the match up brilliantly for the next three days.
Report by James PriceTweet