BIG blast at the Bull­ring!

Bugs, beer, bound­aries and but­terfin­gers as 13 wick­ets fall in Wan­der­ers show-stop­per

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - STU­ART HESS stu­[email protected]

DAY 2 OF 5:


SATUR­DAY at a Bull­ring Test: The sun shone brightly, the beer flowed freely and the cricket was rivet­ing from first ball to last.

In the Cen­te­nary Stand at the Wan­der­ers, “Markram’s Min­ions” showed ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the Proteas young opener and in the Unity Stand, the ever pop­u­lar Gwijo Squad led sup­port­ers in song.

In the af­ter­noon bugs caused havoc for um­pires, bowlers, field­ers and batsmen, 10 overs were lost in the day as a re­sult. No one was com­plain­ing.

In the ex­tra half an hour af­ter the sched­uled close Quin­ton De Kock was still clip­ping, driv­ing and cut­ting bound­aries. There was no short­age of en­ter­tain­ment, both on and off the field.

The match has moved quickly, as it usu­ally does at the Bull­ring. But even by this ven­er­a­ble ground’s stan­dards yes­ter­day was rapid; 303 runs scored, 13 wick­ets fell, six catches dropped and thou­sands of litres of beer sold.

By the end, the Proteas led by 212 runs, a res­o­lute Hashim Amla hold­ing down the fort on 42; a more ef­fer­ves­cent ef­fort from De Kock will see him re­sume to­day on 34 hav­ing faced 35 balls.

The only thing that shouldn’t be rapid is the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of this pitch. It is very far from what was seen here last year when the last Test against In­dia was halted be­cause the um­pires were con­cerned for the safety of the batsmen.

How­ever, the bounce on day two was very in­con­sis­tent for a day two pitch. Some kept low, oth­ers spat off a length.

Babar Azam copped a hor­ri­ble blow on the left side of his chest first ball from Duanne Olivier, from one that jumped off the sur­face. That is Olivier’s way of course – a bruis­ing thumper of pitches in this series, he’s scared the Pak­istani batsmen and with one in­nings left in this series he al­ready has 21 wick­ets – a record for a three-match series be­tween the two coun­tries.

He led the turn­around in the morn­ing af­ter the hor­ri­ble field­ing had let off night­watch­man Mo­ham­mad Abbas and Imam ul-Haq on two oc­ca­sions each. That duo and Asad Shafiq were dis­missed in the hour be­fore lunch.

Also in that hour Babar launched an­other stun­ning as­sault against Dale Steyn. Af­ter lunch Sar­fraz went on the as­sault against ev­ery­one. Pak­istan were mak­ing rapid in­roads.

But once Sar­fraz was out, to a re­ally pa­thetic shot given how he’d played be­fore, the in­nings folded.

Olivier had his third five-for of the series and South Africa a lead of 77 runs.

There was no let-up when the Proteas started their sec­ond in­nings.

Dean El­gar was out in the fifth over, Pak­istan used up all their re­views by the 14th over, Markram spanked some lovely shots, but edged an outswinger from Abbas to Sar­fraz and by the end of the 15th over, the hosts were 45/4.

The Unity Stand were in full voice, gar­ner­ing a smile from Kag­iso Rabada seated in the front row of the SA dress­ing room.

Pak­istan’s quicks were putting in some hearty ef­forts; Hasan Ali seek­ing to find re­lief from the bugs, bowled in his shades, Amla drove him for a pair of fours to il­lus­trate his dis­dain for such ap­par­ent in­for­mal­ity.

Sar­fraz brought on Shadab Khan, he ripped a leg-break that nudged the out­side edge of Bavuma’s bat giv­ing the Pak­istan cap­tain a record break­ing eighth catch in the match.

Amla stood firm, De Kock drove, clipped and cut. The songs kept be­ing sung. Roll on to­day.


SOUTH Africa’s Hashim Amla at the Wan­der­ers yes­ter­day.|

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