The fourth day of the first Test between England and South Africa was not supposed to be the last day given the way England had ended the day 3 in full dominance. The day started with England effectively 216 for the loss of one wicket. But the hosts lost their nine wickets for paltry sum of 114 runs, including 63 for 7 wickets in the first session. Things went even worse for the visitors as the Proteas were bowled out for 119, handing England 211 runs victory. Here is a review of how things panned out.
Alistair Cook and Gary Ballance started the day cautiously, building on the hard work from the previous day. Both went scratch less in the first hour until Cook was caught in the covers playing a relatively loose drive by Temba Bavuma. Ballance followed the ex-skipper to the dressing room soon – with Morne Morkal ending his obdurate effort.
The wickets of Cook and Ballance started a collapse that ran through the hosts. None of the following batsmen except for Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood were able to reach the double figures. Bairstow stayed till the end to ensure his side had enough on the board. The pace attack of Morkal and Rabada was duly complimented by Keshav Maharaj in the absence of Vernon Philander. Although the comeback from the Proteas was something special, but the movement in the pitch had made it evident that fourth innings was never going to be easy. But by the end of the innings, the hosts had enough to be confident on a pitch that offered something extra for both the spinners and seamers.
21 wickets had fallen in the first three days of the Test match, while the fourth day ended up witnessing 19. With a fit seam attack complimented by in-form Moeen Ali, this was never going to an easy task for the visitors. And then came another collapse. Though this time there was no one to stop the demise of the South Africans. Only Bavuma was able to cross the 20 run mark in a total of 119.
While Moeen Ali had chipped in with 4 important wickets in the first innings, the Worcestershire off-spinner was unplayable in the fourth-day afternoon, spinning six South African batsmen to the pavilion. Ali finished with the figures 10/112. Moeen is the first England spinner to have 10-wicket haul at Lord’s in 42 years since Derek Underwood vs Pakistan in 1974. He is also the first on to take 10 wickets and score 50 runs in the same Test since Sir Ian Botham vs India in 1980.
The writer tweets @khaledumair