Home Sport Cricket Proteas learn harsh lessons as England take lead on day two

Proteas learn harsh lessons as England take lead on day two

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The Proteas were taught a harsh lesson about Test cricket in the final session of play, where they let slip an advantage that may prove costly in the outcome of the match.

Tammy Beaumont and Emma Lamb of England bump fists during play on day two of their Test match against South Africa at Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, on Tuesday
Tammy Beaumont and Emma Lamb of England bump fists during play on day two of their Test match against South Africa at Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, on Tuesday. Picture: Kieran McManus, Shutterstock, BackpagePix

Johannesburg – The Proteas were made to learn a harsh lesson about Test cricket in the final session of play, where they let slip an advantage that may prove costly in the outcome of the match.

In the build-up to the once-off match in Taunton, head coach Hilton Moreeng had talked about heeding the lessons from South Africa’s last Test, eight years ago in India, where he cited one session as proving costly.

It’s too early to say if that is the case again, but what is certain is that any chances of winning were significantly damaged by the record breaking sixth wicket partnership between Nat Sciver and debutante Alice Davidson-Richards.

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The bulk of that 207-run stand came after tea when Suné Luus attempted to rush through the overs in order to get her hands on the second new ball by bowling her leg-spin along with Nonkululeko Mlaba’s left-arm spin.

The English pair played superbly, timing their aggressive charge perfectly as they sensed the tourists losing focus. Sciver finished with 119 not out, her innings the perfect balance between watchfulness initially, when South Africa was on top, and attacking intent in that final session.

Davidson was swept along throughout, having lent good support early when the home team was wobbling, to become just the second English player to register a century on debut in women’s Tests.

Unfortunately she fell to the penultimate ball of the day when she was caught at backward point for 107, to give Tumi Sekhukhune her first Test wicket. England lead by 44 runs.

Over the course of the first two sessions, South Africa had fought hard, learned from their own mistakes with the new ball, and made up for what could have been a catastrophic error before lunch when they let slip an opportunity offered by England’s captain Heather Knight.

The Proteas weren’t as proficient with the new ball as England’s seamers had been on the first day, and Shabnim Ismail’s absence was felt in that first hour as Tammy Beaumont, and another of the home team’s debutantes Emma Lamb, shared an opening partnership of 65.

The South Africans struggled to find a consistent length, with the fuller ball, which swung, proving tricky for the batters in overcast conditions. The situation wasn’t helped by Marizanne Kapp, the heroine from the first day, having to leave the field before lunch to get treatment from the physio as she battled to recover from her exertions on the opening day.

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Nevermind though, because Anneke Bosch bowled an impressive spell, picking up both openers; trapping Beaumont in front with a very full delivery that swung back late into the right hander, and then delivering a peach to knock over Lamb’s off-stump.

Kapp, after getting treatment, had an intriguing battle with Knight leading up to lunch and forced a mistake out of the England captain, that saw Knight edge the ball towards first slip. However Luus, was distracted by wicket-keeper Sinalo Jaftha diving in front of her and spilled a simple opportunity.

Normally Knight, who scored an unbeaten 168 against Australia earlier this year, would have made the opposition pay, but she was run out first ball after the break, after responding to Sciver’s call for a quick single. Tumi Sekhukhune did well to get the ball back to Jaftha, who dived to break the stumps.

Bosch, one of nine debutantes in the Proteas side, picked up her third wicket when she had Sophie Dunkley caught by Andrie Steyn at slip, after which Mlaba, bowled Amy Jones with a beauty. That left England at 121/5, and the Proteas were understandably delighted.

Then the match changed after tea. Luus and Mlaba rushed through 18 overs, trying to get to the second new ball as quickly as possible, and Sciver, who until then was playing much more sedately than what she is known for, opened her shoulders.

Alongside her Davidson-Richards grew in confidence and in the period leading up to the second new ball they added 70 runs.

The English pair, high on confidence smashed the new ball, against an understandably tired looking Proteas attack. It was a harsh lesson for a South African side, for whom Test cricket is a foreign format.

SCORECARD

Day 2 of 4

South Africa 284

England 328/6

England lead by 44 runs

@shockerhess

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