Bavuma keeps it together as South Africa fight back
There isn’t a lot of Temba Bavuma in the physical sense, but there’s plenty more than that to the man who dug in for South Africa at Lord’s on Friday.
The visitors were 214/5 at stumps after two days of the first test. That’s 244 runs away from England’s first innings of 458, but South Africa would have been far further from parity without Bavuma’s sturdy batting.
He will retake his guard on Saturday already more than two-and-a-half hours into his innings. How many he will add to that number is almost as important to South Africa’s cause as he many more runs he will score.
On Friday, Bavuma made 48, and he made them patiently and diligently.
The only other South Africans who batted with that attitude were Dean Elgar, who scored 54 off 118 balls, and Theunis de Bruyn, who compiled 48 off 85.
Hashim Amla helped Elgar add 72 runs for the second wicket in a stand that endured for 80 minutes, and Bavuma and De Bruyn batted for two hours to put on 99 for the fifth.
But Heino Kuhn’s debut innings ended after he had faced 14 balls when he edged Stuart Broad and was caught at first slip for one.
Amla’s innings was starting to take shape when he misread the first ball bowled to him by off-spinner Moeen Ali and was trapped in front for 29.
Moeen struck again to have Elgar caught at short leg with a delivery that drifted into the left-hander through the air before pitching.
JP Duminy lasted 38 balls for his 15 before he was trapped in front by Broad.
Then De Bruyn’s patience ran out with a flap at James Anderson and a catch behind the wicket.
Kagiso Rabada, who came in as nightwatchman when De Bruyn was dismissed in the third over before the close.
Ill-disciplined bowling allowed England to strengthen their grip on the game after they resumed on 357/5 with Joe Root 16 runs away from becoming the first man to score a double century on his England captaincy debut.
But Root edged the 13th ball of the day, a rising delivery from Morne Morkel, and was caught behind for 190 to end a stand of 177 he shared with Moeen.
Root batted for more than six hours, faced 234 balls, hit 27 fours and a six — and he would have been dismissed for five, 16 or 149 on Thursday had South Africa taken their catches or not bowled no-balls.
Two balls after Root went, Morkel trapped Liam Dawson in front and England were 367/7.
South Africa would have hoped the end of the innings was in sight, but England would add another 91 runs.
Too many of them were smote from deliveries that were pitched too wide and too short, particularly by Morkel and Rabada.
Rabada bowled Moeen for 87 with a fine inswinger, and two balls later he had Mark Wood leg-before.
Again, South Africa would have sensed impending relief from their time in the field.
But instead of homing in on the stumps they fed Broad’s thirst for quick runs with a barrage of flaccid short-pitched deliveries.
Broad took full advantage, hammering his unbeaten 57 off 47 balls.
Even No. 11 Anderson got into the act, charging down the pitch to Rabada and hammering a six over midwicket.
Morkel had Anderson caught behind to end the innings and finish with 4/115, while Rabada took 3/123.
Vernon Philander, who bowled only four of the 18.3 overs South Africa sent down on Friday, claimed 3/67.