England humbled in 'embarrassing' Test drama against South Africa

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
England, pictured here in the first cricket Test against South Africa.
England are behind the eight-ball in the first cricket Test against South Africa. Image: Getty

England are staring down the barrel of a big defeat in the first Test against South Africa after being bowled out for 165 in their first innings at Lord's.

A fiery spell from Ben Stokes dragged England back into the Test late on Thursday but South Africa remain the happier side after reaching 7-289 at the close of the second day.

Stokes removed Sarel Erwee for 73 and the dangerous Rassie van der Dussen for 19 just as the game was drifting away from the home side.

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But South Africa still took a 124-run lead into stumps on Thursday after taking the attack to the wilting home bowlers late in the day.

All-rounder Marco Jansen (41 not out) was promoted to number six in the batting order and didn't disappoint, putting on 72 for the seventh wicket with Keshav Maharaj (41) to re-establish the visitors' dominant position.

South Africa began well in their reply to the home team's modest total of 165 as they put on 85 for the first wicket before skipper Dean Elgar was bowled unluckily by James Anderson for 47 when the ball ricocheted off his arm and on to the stumps.

Keegan Petersen (24) and Aiden Markram (16) both lost their wickets before the tourists passed England's total, but Stokes (3-48) soon struck a double blow.

He removed Erwee with a brute of a bouncer the left-hander could only fend off, the ball looping to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, before trapping Van der Dussen lbw.

Stuart Broad became just the second bowler after Anderson (117) to take 100 wickets at Lord's when he had Kyle Verreynne (11) caught by Foakes.

England resumed at 6-116 earlier in the day but were bowled out before lunch, adding just 49 runs for the loss of the last four wickets.

Kagiso Rabada took 5-52 and was the pick of a four-pronged pace attack, who all troubled the home batsmen with their pace and aggression.

Rabada removed top-scorer Ollie Pope (73) early on as the latter dragged the ball onto his leg stump having added 12 to his overnight score, before Broad (15) was caught by Elgar at point.

Rabada picked up his fifth wicket when he trapped Anderson lbw for a duck.

Kagiso Rabada, pictured here celebrating after taking his fifth wicket against England.
Kagiso Rabada celebrates after taking his fifth wicket against England. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

England facing big task to win first Test

Ominously for England, the hosts have won only two of their last 25 Tests in which they have scored under 200 when batting first.

Despite the big lead for South Africa, Broad believes his side are still a chance.

“Anything above 150 on day four and five, you’ve got a chance if you bowl great and create pressure,” he said.

“We feel like tomorrow is a must-win day and we can come back and attack it.

“We’ve got a genuine feeling like we’re still in this game. I know South Africa are 120-odd ahead, but there’s no doubt it was pretty good batting conditions, particularly when the ball got softer, so that’s something we’ll want to take forward.

“When you get bowled out relatively cheaply in the first innings, you have got to make it a first versus fourth innings game. We’ve got to try and get enough ahead that we can try and defend on day four and five on a relatively dry pitch.

“The game is set up really nicely. Obviously we’re going to have to have a couple of great days, but we’ve proved this summer that anything can happen, so we feel really positive in the changing room that we’ve got ourselves back in the game.”

with agencies

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