3 January 2016

South Africa: Proteas On the Ropes At Tea

England faced just 13 overs after lunch on day two of the second Test against the Proteas at Newlands, but that was enough time for them to add another 116 runs to declare on a massive 629/6.

At tea South Africa were 24/1 in reply - 605 runs behind.

The damage had been done in a wicketless opening session for the hosts, when Ben Stokes smashed his way to a double century while a positive Jonny Bairstow went largely unnoticed at the other end.

But after lunch the onslaught from both English batsmen got even worse, and the beating was so ruthless that it became difficult to watch from a South African perspective.

As former Proteas spinner Pat Symcox tweeted, if this was a boxing match it would have been stopped.

Bairstow and Stokes cruised, taking their partnership to 300, and then 350 in the blink of an eye. By the time they were done they had amassed 399 runs together off just 347 balls.

Stokes' 258 off 198 balls was the fastest 250 in the history of Test cricket, the highest score by an England No 6, his 11 sixes were the most by an England batsman in an innings and his partnership with Bairstow was the highest sixth-wicket stand in English history.

But, more importantly, Stokes and Bairstow batted South Africa out of the game.

South Africa's troubles were perhaps summed up best in the 125th over.

Bairstow, teeing off by this stage, hit Chris Morris straight to Morne Morkel at long-off.

But the lanky Proteas seamer dropped a sitter - the ball going straight through him and into the boundary rope for four.

Nothing was going South Africa's way, and the group of English support directly behind Morkel made sure he knew it.

The Proteas would get their breakthrough in the next over in quite bizarre fashion.

Stokes had lined up Kagiso Rabada, but a rare mishit saw the ball lobbed skywards towards AB de Villiers at mid-on.

De Villiers, usually so reliable, clanged the chance but then threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end where Stokes had given up.

England declared at the end of that over, and the Proteas were temporarily out of their misery.

Made to bat for about 40 minutes before tea, South Africa ensured that their woes would continue with bat in hand as Stiaan van Zyl pushed the ball into the off-side, set of for a single and was then sent back by Dean Elgar to be run out for 4.

Elgar (8*) was then given out LBW off Moeen Ali, but a review revealed an inside edge had saved him.

Hashim Amla was 10* at the other end.

Source: Sport24

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