• Second Test, day three: South Africa 339 & 343-9dec; England 205 & 1-0
• England require record run chase to win Test at Trent Bridge
We know the equation now. And we think we know the outcome. England need 474 runs to win and they have two days and 10 wickets in hand to do it. The highest target they have ever chased successfully in a Test match is 332 and that was in Melbourne in 1928.
Hence there is not much cause for optimism in the England camp except that a victory for them is more likely than a drawn game since there is so much time left and the weather seems set fair. Moreover modern players seldom dwell too much on ancient history and even if they do the appropriate response is that “records are there to be broken”.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/16/england-south-africa-second-test-day-three-match-report
• Second Test, day 2: South Africa 339 & 75-1; England 205;
• Joe Root scores 78 but England tail collapses
This Test is racing along like a runaway train and Faf du Plessis is in the driving seat. The South Africa captain, a tough, phlegmatic man, had to endure his team losing their last four wickets inside the first 40 minutes and then witness England’s batsmen jauntily head for lunch on 85 for two, despite the loss of both openers with only three runs on the board. Yet by the end of another extraordinary, entertaining day of Test cricket Du Plessis’ side led by 205 runs with nine wickets in hand. After two days South Africa hold all the best cards.
Du Plessis handled his attack deftly during England’s remarkably brief innings. At one point Joe Root was batting so sublimely that South Africa’s total of 335 seemed inadequate but once the England captain departed after striking a majestic 78 from 76 balls the innings imploded with Du Plessis pulling the metaphorical strings as cleverly as Messrs Fluck and Law a couple of decades ago.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/15/faf-du-plessis-captaincy-inspires-south-africa-take-charge-england
• Second Test: South Africa 309-6
• Stuart Broad takes three wickets
Joe Root wanted his England side to be stretched and the South Africans duly obliged on a dreamy day at Trent Bridge. Here was Test cricket as we crave it with the game ebbing and flowing tantalisingly at the most soothing venue in the country outside of St John’s Wood. By the close South Africa were 309 for six.
They might have made more if the partnership of 113 between Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock that decorated the afternoon session had continued after tea. They might have been in dire straits at 235 for six but Vernon Philander, with stout assistance from Chris Morris, stayed firm and strong in the evening sunshine. For England Stuart Broad took three wickets on one of his favourite grounds and offered the greatest threat. The game is alive and alluring because no one is quite sure who is winning it.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/14/england-south-africa-second-test-day-one-match-report