Stuart Broad has Proteas in tatters, England smelling Test series victory
An inspired five-wicket spell of Test fast bowling by Stuart Broad, under cloud cover that offered generous seam movement, left South Africa in heaps of trouble at 71/8 on the third day of the third Test at the Wanderers on Saturday.
TEA: SA 71/8 (29 ovs). du Plessis 12*, Viljoen 1. Lead by 61 runs. #SAvENG— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) January 16, 2016
The Proteas lead England by just 61 runs.
Broad single-handedly and single-mindedly dismantled the South African top four, making a mockery of the batsmen on whom the Proteas are meant to rely most. His vicious 10-over spell brought him five prized wickets at the cost of just 14 runs.
After safely negotiating their way to lunch at 16 for no loss, the Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl partnership was torn apart by Broad almost immediately after the resumption of play.
Elgar, the more natural of the two openers, departed first when Broad got him to fiddle with a ball that pitched back of a length on his off stump and was caught behind by Jonny Bairstow for 15.
Predictably, Van Zyl didn’t last long either. After a couple of near-misses, Broad gave Van Zyl a delivery he couldn’t refuse and he edged it to Ben Stokes at gully for 11.
Broad, and the England fast bowlers, smelt blood.
Hashim Amla and stand-in captain AB de Villiers came together at the crease but there was little of their usual sturdiness.
Broad was swinging it miles each way and James Anderson must have felt like he was missing out on a slice of the pie.
Broad soon had De Villiers’s inside edge with the Proteas hobbling at 30/3, their lead a paltry 20 runs.
It took a stunning take at short leg by James Taylor, off Broad’s bowling again, to remove Amla, who played a customary leg glance for which he would have expected runs and not to be dismissed.
Then 31/4 became 35/5 when Temba Bavuma chopped Broad on for a duck. The dynamo was trying to get out of the way of a strangulation delivery but left a trailing bat and the ball crashed into the furniture.
Broad’s masterpiece was complete but England weren’t done yet.
Steven Finn was brought, rather belatedly, into the attack for the first time and with his second ball he had Dane Vilas caught by Taylor at short leg for eight.
By then the Proteas scoreboard looked bleak.
Stokes also took the ball and continued where Broad left off. He cleaned up Chris Morris with a peach of a delivery that would have had any batsman in the world in trouble.
Morris departed for one run, with the score on 46/7.
Kagiso Rabada fought to 16 – the top score of the South Africa batters at tea – before Stokes got him to edge behind.
England, who were 1-0 up in the four-match series going to Johannesburg, looked in a hurry to wrap up the series, with the Centurion test to spare.
Earlier, Rabada had reached his maiden test five-wicket haul when he claimed the wickets of Joe Root, Broad and Jonny Bairstow to restrict England to 323 all out in their first innings.
But with eight wickets in the second session, England took firm control of the third test.