Defeat looms for SA after Moeen raid

07 August 2017 - 18:49 By Telford Vice
Moeen Ali.
Moeen Ali.

For all but the last 29 balls of the 36 overs bowled after lunch at Old Trafford on Monday‚ South Africa had reasons to be not quite cheerful but not entirely despondent.

But the veneer of security was undone by Moeen Ali and defeat in the fourth test against England — and the series — loomed larger than ever when the visitors went to tea on 182/6 in search of a rapidly receding target of 380.

Before those fateful deliveries were bowled South Africa were 163/3: still a long way from victory but significantly better off than the 40/3 they had been at lunch.

Faf du Plessis had joined Hashim Amla‚ and stability came along for the ride. With it came a century stand.

But‚ with the partnership worth 123‚ Amla was trapped in front for 83 by Moeen.

In his next over Moeen induced a rash drive from Quinton de Kock that was caught at first slip.

Theunis de Bruyn‚ static in the crease‚ edged the last ball of the over to second slip to complete a rain by Moeen that saw him take 3/5 in the space of 11 deliveries. He took tea with figures of 3/25.

Du Plessis was still there on 60 with Keshav Maharaj three not out‚ but the end is surely near.

South Africa needed 17 balls of the day’s play to end England’s second innings‚ which resumed on 224/8‚ at 243.

Morne Morkel claimed both wickets‚ Stuart Broad caught at point and James Anderson at short leg‚ to finish with 4/41.

But even in that shard of light there was gloom: the last time South Africa did not bowl on a day in the series was the first day of the second test at Trent Bridge.

A shower of rain delayed the start of South Africa’s second innings long enough to knock four overs off the minimum of 191 they were originally set to face.

It took England 22 balls to open the first crack in the visitors’ defence: Broad found Dean Elgar’s edge and the catch flew to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

The struggling Heino Kuhn‚ his left hamstring heavily strapped and his movement restricted‚ had insult added to his injury when England’s review after Anderson’s appeal for his wicket — for caught behind — was unsuccessful.

“I don’t want to be disrespectful‚ but England have wasted a review‚” Michael Vaughan said on Test Match Special.

“I mean‚ it’s Heino Kuhn.”

Four overs later Kuhn proved Vaughan’s point when he steered Anderson to first slip.

What became the last ball before lunch was ruled‚ with technology’s help‚ to have grazed Temba Bavuma’s outside edge and earned a wicket‚ caught behind‚ for Toby Roland-Jones.