Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
14 Jul 2017
8:00 pm

Proteas’ strategy works as all-rounders save their bacon

Heinz Schenk

Vernon Philander and Chris Morris show guts and skill after South Africa threatened to waste a good start in the 2nd Test against England.

Vernon Philander proved his worth again with a vital fifty. Photo: Anthony Devlin/AFP.

The Proteas’ decision to pick two all-rounders for the second Test against England in Nottingham bore fruit on Friday.

It’s not a guarantee they’ll strengthen the batting when both of them are more known for their bowling but Vernon Philander and Chris Morris certainly did their jobs on this occasion.

Coming together with South Africa on a wobbly 235/6, the pair added an unbeaten 73 for the seventh wicket.

It means the Proteas go into the second day on a far more comfortable 309/6.

Following up on his fifty at Lord’s, Philander once again batted fluently, striking nine fours in a fine, unbeaten 54 off 76.

He was definitely the aggressor as Morris – with his reputation as a big-hitter – showing remarkable restraint in ending on 23 off 68.

But the key on Saturday will be to build and not consider their stand as simply bonus runs.

This partnership needs to take the Proteas past 350 at least.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat under cloudy skies, South Africa actually gave themselves a good platform.

Dean Elgar went early to a rash drive but a battling Heino Kuhn (34) and Hashim Amla took the shine off the new ball.

Kuhn never really looked in control against the impressive Stuart Broad (3/47) yet he did hit some crisp boundaries too.

The Proteas dominated the second session after Quinton de Kock was promoted to No 4.

The gifted wicketkeeper-batter struck eight fours in a counterattacking 68 off 81 and took pressure off Amla, who was allowed to go along at his own pace.

It was hugely disappointing when De Kock edged Broad the first ball after tea.

Amla, who survived a few anxious moments outside his off-stump, looked set for a century before he hooked a ball to deep square leg on 78.

Du Plessis (19) was unlucky to be caught done the leg side and Temba Bavuma, who hit four fours in his 20, withdrew his bat too late to be caught behind.

It then seemed the Proteas would fall for another mediocre score but the all-rounders went arguably beyond the call of duty.

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