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Moeen, Broad press England advantage

July 7th, 2017 | by admin
Moeen, Broad press England advantage
England
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South Africa 214 for 5 (Bavuma 48*, Rabada 9*) trail England 458 (Root 190, Moeen 87) by 244 runs

England’s efforts to turn a strong position in the first Test into a decisive one were led by rousing all-round contributions from Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali on a sweltering day of hard-fought cricket at Lord’s. South Africa’s manful resistance came chiefly via a half-century from the captain, Dean Elgar, as well as an unbeaten 48 from Temba Bavuma but they still trailed by almost 250 runs at the close.

Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn, in only his second Test, hauled South Africa away from peril after they had been reduced to 104 for 4 shortly after tea, Broad and Moeen sharing the wickets between them, but James Anderson broke the 99-run fifth-wicket stand as the shadows lengthened. Joe Root, whose maiden innings as Test captain had been ended on 190, spent his first day in the field shuffling a six-man attack to good effect; there was further slog in store but his bowlers could enjoy the afterglow of satisfaction having reacquainted themselves with the demands of Test cricket.

After a frantic morning session in which England lost their last five wickets while adding 101 to their overnight total – Broad and Moeen scoring 83 of them – the pace slackened in the heat of the afternoon. Elgar followed his England counterpart in leading the way with the bat but Broad and Moeen winkled out a wicket apiece during the middle session.

Moeen had missed out on his first Lord’s hundred but passed 2000 Test runs during his innings of 87. He then broke the game open with the dismissals of Hashim Amla and Elgar either side of tea, reaching 100 Test wickets in the process – and becoming the fifth-fastest to the twin landmark in history.

Broad’s morning beano with the bat saw him record a first Test fifty in four years and he then claimed a wicket in his opening over after lunch. Heino Kuhn, making his debut at the age of 33, could do little about a textbook delivery that swung a touch and left him off the seam before taking the edge on its way to Alastair Cook at first slip. Moeen then trapped Amla lbw, playing back to a ball that spun in to hit him in line with off stump, to end a 72-run stand with Elgar.

Elgar had described his own game as nuggety before the Test – despite professing not to know what it meant – but he provided a workable definition with an innings of 54 that begin shortly before lunch and was ended in the second over after tea when he squeezed an inside-edge to bat-pad. Moeen may have come into the match regarded as England’s second spinner but he was first to make his presence felt on a pitch that was already betraying puffs of dust.

With Spidercam, on its UK Test debut, hovering above the ground, Moeen had begun to weave a web. England might have thought they had spied a route to victory, though Liam Dawson was less successful in his role as holding spinner. Elgar attacked him early on, forcing him out of the attack after four overs for 29, although an exploratory second spell later in the day was marginally more successful.

When JP Duminy fell to Broad, pinned by a ball that veered into him late, South Africa had lost 3 for 22 and looked to be wilting but de Bruyn, playing in this Test as cover for Faf du Plessis, and Bavuma slowly wrested the initiative back. Bavuma, who became the first black South African to score a Test hundred during England’s visit in 2015-16, was quietly impressive during a chanceless innings.

His partner enjoyed a little more fortune, seeing Moeen spin a ball behind his legs but over the stumps on 2 and surviving a review against Mark Wood on 31, when the ball was shown to be only clipping leg stump. But as de Bruyn approached what would have been a maiden Test fifty, Anderson produced a curving delivery with the old ball that drew a thin edge to send him on his way.

England’s innings of 458 appeared a solid enough foundation for Root on his captaincy debut. Only once has a team lost a Lord’s Test after passing 400 in the first innings and Percy Chapman’s England team of 1930 had the excuse of Don Bradman being in the opposition. It took a pair of ticklish stands featuring Broad to get them there, however, as South Africa surged back into contention with the second new ball.

Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada both struck twice in three balls, either side of Moeen and Broad adding 46 for the eighth wicket. Broad then combined with Anderson for an even livelier partnership of 45 in less than five overs to further check South Africa’s momentum. Morkel was hooked into the Grand Stand from consecutive balls as Broad raised a 45-ball fifty, while Anderson did the same to Rabada, much to the enjoyment of another capacity crowd.

Having batted for most of the first day, Root did not last long second time around, drawn into pushing at a delivery of perfect length from Morkel, which seamed a fraction to take the outside edge. Dawson was then struck in front second ball and, although he reviewed the lbw decision straight away, ball-tracking showed it to be clipping the leg bail.

Broad could also have been given out lbw on 4, but South Africa chose not to review, and he later saw Amla fail to hold a difficult slip catch off the top edge. Unperturbed, he summoned the elan he was once known for as a lower-order batsman, pulling and driving with abandon on the way to his highest score since the second-innings 65 that (controversially) helped to dig England out of trouble at Trent Bridge during the 2013 Ashes.

England careened past 400 as Broad flashed and dashed with all the control of a man trying to bat on a skateboard. At the other end, Moeen looked to be continuing unflappably towards a hundred but Rabada beat an expansive drive with a delivery that moved in appreciably to clip off stump, leaving him 13 short of getting his name on the honours board.

Rabada’s day, however, and South Africa’s as a whole, would be marred at the close of play, when he was served with a suspension for next week’s second Test after picking up his fourth ICC demerit point, following an altercation with Ben Stokes on the opening day.

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