Morne Morkel‚ Keshav Maharaj lead SA’s fightback

09 July 2017 - 14:30
By Telford Vice‚ Lord’S‚ London
Morne Morkel celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Gary Ballance.
Image: Reuters/Peter Cziborra Morne Morkel celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Gary Ballance.

Morne Morkel and Keshav Maharaj spearheaded South Africa’s continued fightback in the first Test against England at Lord’s on Sunday.

Morkel took two wickets for one run in the space of 10 balls in the midst of a seven-over spell of 2/12 on the fourth morning.

Maharaj also claimed two of his wickets for one run‚ and in five deliveries‚ in a spell of eight overs in which he took 3/31.

Kagiso Rabada kept the pressure on and claimed 2/11 in his five overs.

All of which saw England shamble to lunch on 182/8 in their second innings for a significant lead of 279.

But the seven wickets they lost for 63 in the session told of South Africa’s aggressive defiance.

Alastair Cook and Gary Ballance resumed for England and took their second-wicket stand to 59 before Morkel had a driving Cook smartly caught in the covers by Temba Bavuma for 69.

Morkel removed Ballance in his next over‚ caught behind for 34‚ and seven balls later Keshav Maharaj bowled Joe Root — who scored 190 in the first innings — off the edge of his bat for five.

A slide of four wickets for 10 runs in 39 balls was complete when Rabada trapped Ben Stokes in front for a single.

Rabada earned the ire of the match referee for swearing at Stokes in the first innings.

This time‚ as Stokes passed him on his way back to the pavilion‚ Rabada stayed silent and rubbed a hand over his head.

During the South Africans’ celebration for the fall of the wicket‚ captain Dean Elgar put his hand over Rabada’s mouth in a mock attempt to keep him quiet. Rabada then held a finger to his own lips.

England would have been 159/6 had Vernon Philander at deep cover held a catch offered by Jonny Bairstow off Maharaj.

The spilled chance might have been caused by the hand injury that prevented Philander from bowling on Saturday‚ but he gestured skywards after the ball fell to earth — perhaps an indication that he had been distracted.

Play was momentarily interrupted on Saturday when the spidercam‚ the television camera suspended on cables above the ground‚ caught the attention of the batsmen.

The last three wickets of the session fell for two runs and were separated by 11 balls.

Maharaj bowled Moeen Ali for seven with a delivery that pitched outside the left-hander’s off stump and turned sharply to hit the outside of leg.

Rabada condemned Dawson to a pair for the match by bowling him with a full toss that left middle stump lying metres away from the wicket.

Stuart Broad‚ who hammered an unbeaten 57 off 47 balls in the first innings‚ was gone first ball when another wickedly turning delivery from Maharaj took the edge and was superbly caught by Theunis de Bruyn at short leg.

Morkel lunched on figures of 3/37 and Maharaj took 3/65.