Plucky England keep Proteas at bay
Nick Compton and James Taylor struck half-centuries to help England to 179-4 at stumps on the rain-affected first day of the first test against South Africa at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban yesterday.
Compton was unbeaten on 63 off 179 balls with four fours, while Taylor was dismissed shortly before the close of play for 70 off 137 deliveries with nine fours and a six.
Dale Steyn was South Africa’s best bowler on the day, as he reached stumps with 3-29 off 15.1 overs.
Compton and Taylor did well to drag England back into the game after the visitors had been reduced to 49-3.
Taylor and Compton added 125 runs for the fourth wicket off 45.2 overs after South Africa had won the toss and asked England to bat under overcast skies.
Morning rain had meant that the start of the game was delayed by 30 minutes, but only 6.1 overs were possible before the heavens opened once again to force an early lunch.
The fit-again Steyn started well and received his just rewards when Alastair Cook (0) prodded at a delivery that saw him leaving the pitch, with Dean Elgar completing a regulation catch as the visitors slipped to 3-1.
Steyn also found the outside edge of Compton’s bat during his impressive new-ball spell, but the ball landed just short of Stiaan van Zyl at first slip.
Steyn continued his good form after lunch when he had Alex Hales (10) caught behind by keeper AB de Villiers after the batsman wafted at a delivery that swung away from him.
Joe Root and Compton then dug in for a stubborn third-wicket stand of 37 off 11.2 overs.
Root played a few delightful strokes on his way to 24 off 37 balls with two fours and a six, but the introduction of offspinner Dane Piedt proved to be Root’s undoing.
Piedt struck with his first ball when he turned a delivery sharply into the right-handed batsman to trap him LBW to reduce the visitors to 49-3.
Compton and Taylor then set about blunting South Africa’s attack, with both registering their second test half-centuries.
Taylor was the more attacking of the pair and he raised his 50 off 87 balls, while the patient Compton needed 145 deliveries to reach the landmark.
Steyn finally ended the stand when he squared Taylor up and induced a false shot.
This saw the right-handed batsman edge the ball through to De Villiers.
GOTCHA! Proteas bowler Dale Steyn celebrates after dismissing England batsman James Taylor for 70 runs during day one of the first test between South Africa and England in Durban yesterday, but it was the visitors who took honours on the day