Lord’s almighty, what a pasting

10 July 2017 - 06:54
Hashim Amla.
Image: REUTERS Hashim Amla.

It all looked so different at lunch at Lord’s yesterday when South Africa had bowled themselves, it seemed, to an unlikely victory over England in the first Test. But that prospect receded with alarming haste as the afternoon wore on, and it was the home side that drew first blood. And how that blood gushed.

England dismissed South Africa, who chased 331, for 119 in 36.4 overs to win by 211 runs with a day and 14 overs to spare. Off-spinner Moeen Ali, who scored 87 and took 4/59 in the first innings, claimed 6/53 to complete a career-best match haul of 10/112. South Africa lost at Lord’s for the first time in the seven Tests they have played there since June 1960 — 57 years ago.

Their bowlers did all they could to pull the game out of the fire but their batsmen have pressing questions to answer before the second Test begins at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on Friday. In particular the Test future of JP Duminy, who has failed to reach 50 in 10 of his last 12 innings, is in serious doubt. That problem has a straightforward solution in the return of Faf du Plessis from paternity leave.

The omission of Kagiso Rabada, who has been banned for the second Test for disciplinary reasons, is also surmountable with Chris Morris and Duanne Olivier in South Africa’s squad. But what South Africa are going to do about the rest of their under-performing batting lineup is difficult to fathom, even considering that 19 wickets fell yesterday on a pitch that was increasingly receptive to spin. England resumed their second innings on 119/1 and batted on for 11.1 overs of the second session, ending with 233.

Keshav Maharaj had 4/84, with Morné Morkel and Rabada splitting six wickets. Dean Elgar and Debutant Heino Kuhn were separated after seven overs of South Africa’s second innings when Anderson had Kuhn caught for nine.

Thirteen balls later Elgar was on his way for two when Moeen took a hard-hit return catch. Duminy pulled meatily at Wood and was well held by Moeen at short midwicket for two. Reduced to 25/3 at tea, South Africa lost their remaining seven wickets for 94 runs. Bavuma’s 21 was their top score.