South African batsmen make merry to take control
Pretoria: South Africa’s top four batsmen all made half- centuries as New Zealand’s decision to bowl first failed to pay off on the first day of the series- deciding second Test at SuperSport Park on Saturday.
South Africa were 283/ 3 at the end of a day when New Zealand were on the wrong end of no fewer than five leg before wicket decisions, while seam bowler Doug Bracewell limped off late in the day with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Stephen Cook ( 56) and Quinton de Kock ( 82) gave South Africa a strong start with an opening partnership of 133. Hashim Amla and JP Duminy followed up with innings of 58 and 67 not out respectively.
Cook, Amla and Duminy all survived close calls by the umpires.
New Zealand unsuccessfully called for a review when Cook was given not out against Trent Boult by umpire Paul Reiffel when he was on one. Replays showed he got a faint inside edge.
Umpire Ian Gould was then involved in four decisions, giving Amla and Duminy out but seeing both overturned on review, while New Zealand failed to call for reviews when Cook and Duminy were given not out, with replays showing the ball hitting the stumps convincingly on both occasions.
The brightest batting came in the morning when Cook and De Kock took South Africa to 100 for no wicket.
It was South Africa’s first Test century opening partnership since December 2013, while it was indicative of the difficulty of batting first on the often- lively pitches in South Africa that it was the first time since March 2009 that any team had reached three figures without losing a wicket before lunch on the first day of a Test in the country, when Simon Katich and the late Phillip Hughes did it for Australia in Durban.
De Kock, the South African wicketkeeper, was moved up to open the batting, which he does regularly in limited- overs internationals, after Dean Elgar sprained an ankle during fielding practice on Friday. Stiaan van Zyl came into the side and was expected to bat at number seven. Brief scores: Colombo: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has taken a jibe at Australia captain Steve Smith, saying he would not have left his team in the middle of a series like his Aussie counterpart.
Smith went back after the second ODI against the Lankans, with chief selector Rod Marsh and head coach Darren Lehmann asking him to take a break.
“They have their own playermanagement system,” Mathews said on the eve of the third ODI on Saturday. “But honestly, if it was me, I wouldn’t have because it is a tough tour and you need the captain alongside the playing 11,” he added.
West Indies’ Evin Lewis ( 100) and India’s KL Rahul ( 110*) notched up brilliant centuries in the first T20 International in Fort Lauderdale, USA, on Saturday South Africa’s Quinton de Kock drives during his knock of 82 against New Zealand in Pretoria...