Ex­cel­lent half­tons as SA tighten screws on Eng­land

The Witness - - SPORT -

THE three most se­nior South African bats­men, Hashim Amla, Dean El­gar and Faf du Plessis, reg­is­tered ex­cel­lent half­cen­turies in con­trast­ing style yes­ter­day as the tourists tight­ened the screws on Eng­land and stretched the over­all lead to a com­pre­hen­sive 473 on the third day of the sec­ond Test at Trent Bridge.

South Africa smashed 343 for nine be­fore Du Plessis de­clared the in­nings closed and gave the South African pace at­tack a four­over spell in which to tar­get the weary Eng­land open­ers.

Keaton Jen­nings sur­vived the fate­ful fin­ger of um­pire Paul Reif­fel when a DRS­re­fer­ral showed that the ball from Morné Morkel would have cleared his mid­dle stump when on 0 and the de­ci­sion was over­turned.

Alis­tair Cook and Jen­nings sur­vived a test­ing spell as their tech­nique and tem­per­a­ment were scru­ti­nised by both Morkel and Ver­non Phi­lan­der.

Both moved the ball ap­pre­cia­bly and launched at least three vo­cif­er­ous ap­peals. Only height saved the Eng­land bats­men.

Eng­land limped to 1 with­out loss at the close yes­ter­day. Ear­lier, Amla un­der­lined his cre­den­tials as a world­class bats­man with a classy 87.

Amla did not fall into the trap of at­tempt­ing am­bi­tious hook shots off the pace quar­tet, and han­dled the short stuff pro­duced by Ben Stokes and Stu­art Broad very well.

El­gar played the dual role of ac­cu­mu­la­tor and bound­ary basher with dis­tinc­tion. The left­handed opener struck 80 off 136 with 12 fours be­fore a poor choice of shot de­nied him what would have been a well­de­served ton.

Du Plessis was an ex­pert judge of when to de­fend and when to at­tack.

He played su­perbly, slam­ming 63 off 128 balls with nine fours be­fore Stokes trapped him in front with a de­liv­ery that went through at an­kle height. His late square drives and his driv­ing past ex­tra cover were pure eye candy.

Ver­non Phi­lan­der un­leashed his bat on the bowl­ing at­tack when South Africa wanted quick runs to de­clare be­fore the close. He ham­mered an en­ter­tain­ing 42 off 75 balls that saw three fours and two suc­ces­sive sixes. — Su­per­Sport.

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