End draws nigh for SA as wickets tumble

07 August 2017 - 15:39 By Telford Vice
Morne Morkel during the South African Proteas training and press conference at PPC Newlands. File photo.
Morne Morkel during the South African Proteas training and press conference at PPC Newlands. File photo.
Image: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images

The sun made a rare appearance in Manchester on Monday‚ but the mood was funereal in the fourth test between England and South Africa at Old Trafford.

At least‚ it was among the South Africans — who were 40/3 at lunch on the fourth day in search of the 380 they need to win the match and earn a share of the series.

England are bowling and fielding like victors in waiting‚ a spring in their every step‚ a snap in their throws‚ a buzz of excitement at their looming success.

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 nine 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 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.

Temba Bavuma would have to spend long hours with Hashim Amla if South Africa were to survive for much longer‚ but what became the last ball before lunch was ruled‚ with technology’s help‚ to have grazed Bavuma’s outside edge and earned a wicket‚ caught behind‚ for Toby Roland-Jones.

That left Amla alone at the crease on 11. He has batted for 68 minutes and faced 40 balls‚ and he will need a lot more where those came from.