CRICKET

Cook pun­ishes de­pleted S Africa in first Test

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Alas­tair Cook’s un­beaten fifty strength­ened Eng­land’s grip on the first Test at Lord’s af­ter South Africa had to toil in the field with­out Ver­non Philander yes­ter­day. Eng­land were 119 for one in their second in­nings at stumps on the third day, a lead of 216 runs in this open­ing match of a four-Test se­ries. For­mer cap­tain Cook was 59 not out, af­ter more than three hours of typ­i­cally painstak­ing ef­fort, with fel­low left­hander Gary Bal­lance un­beaten on 22.

Ex­pe­ri­enced pace­man Philander did not bowl a sin­gle one of the 51 overs the Proteas sent down yeste­day, af­ter go­ing for an X-ray on a hand in­jury suf­fered when he was hit by James An­der­son while mak­ing 52 in South Africa’s first in­nings 361 ear­lier in the day.

It was a wor­ry­ing ab­sence for the Proteas given they are al­ready with­out Kag­iso Rabada, an­other mem­ber of their pace at­tack, for next week’s second Test at Trent Bridge af­ter he was banned for ver­bally abus­ing Eng­land all-rounder Ben Stokes on Thurs­day’s first day at Lord’s.

South Africa, with Dean El­gar lead­ing the side for the first time in the ab­sence of Faf du Plessis on pa­ter­nity leave, wasted their two re­views in the first 80 overs on Cook. Both times they chal­lenged what seemed, even with the naked eye, sound not out de­ci­sions by um­pires Paul Reif­fel and S Ravi in re­sponse to lbw ap­peals. But Cook was still on his tea score of 31 when partly un­sighted wicket-keeper Quin­ton de Kock missed a stump­ing chance off lef­t­arm spin­ner Ke­shav Ma­haraj.

Keaton Jen­nings, born in South Africa but Eng­land qual­i­fied through his mother and res­i­dence, helped Cook put on 80 for the first wicket. But he fell for 33 when, try­ing to cut a Morne Morkel ball that was too close to him, he was caught be­hind by de Kock-who played in the same XI as Jen­nings when they were both pupils at Jo­han­nes­burg’s King Ed­ward VII school. Jen­nings’s exit brought in Bal­lance, un­der pres­sure in what was now his third chance at Test cricket and out for just 20 in the first in­nings. Cook’s three on an­other sun­drenched day at Lord’s saw him to a 127ball fifty in­clud­ing eight fours of which a cover-drive off Ma­haraj was the pick.

DASHING DE KOCK

South Africa re­sumed on 214 for fivestill 244 runs be­hind Eng­land’s first in­nings 458 which fea­tured Joe Root’s 190 in his first Test as Eng­land cap­tain as well as fifties from Moeen Ali (87), Stu­art Broad (57 not out) and Stokes (56).

Temba Bavuma was 48 not out and night­watch­man Rabada un­beaten on nine. Both Rabada (27) and Bavuma (59) fell to spin­ners Liam Daw­son and Ali re­spec­tively. But af­ter Root took the new ball, de Kock twice struck fast-medium bowler Broad for three suc­ces­sive fours-the best a whipped drive through mid-on from a ball pitch­ing out­side off stump. It was a typ­i­cally dashing dis­play by the left-han­der, who com­pleted the second-fastest Test fifty at Lord’s in a mere 36 balls, in­clud­ing 10 bound­aries. But his next ball proved his last, de Kock slic­ing James An­der­son to square cover where Stokes took an ex­cel­lent low catch.

Philander made a fine fifty of his own be­fore he was last man out slog­ging at off­spin­ner Ali, who fin­ished with fine fig­ures of four for 59 in 20 overs af­ter he com­pleted both halves of the Test ‘dou­ble’ of 2,000 runs and 100 wick­ets on Thurs­day.

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