England on top despite Pieter Malan half-century

Picture Courtesy: Hindustan Times

Dom Sibley maiden Test century and Ben Stokes led England to a strong position on the 4th day of the 2nd Test match played at Newlands, Cape Town on Monday.

Starting on the overnight score of 218 for 4, Ben Stokes attacked the South Africa bowling line up with aggressive strokes off pacers and Keshav Maharaj. South Africa took the 2nd new ball in the 85th over. Stokes reached his fifty off just 34 balls while Sibley looked solid and reached his maiden Test century off 269 balls. In attempt to hit a big shot, the all-rounder was dismissed for 72 off 47 balls. Sibley and Stokes added 92 runs for the 5th wicket. Soon after Ollie Pope fell cheaply. Jos Buttler came to the crease and played with positive intent taking on South Africa bowlers with a quickfire 23 off 18 balls. Buttler and Sibley added 41 runs for the 7th wicket. England went into lunch break at 375 for 7.

After the lunch break, Sam Curran was dismissed for 13 off 17 balls. Stuart Broad and Sibley played few overs before Joe Root declared their innings on 391 for 8, setting South Africa a massive target of 438 runs to win.

In reply to 438 runs, Dean Elgar and Pieter Malan looked solid with his defensive technique. Dom Bess was introduced early into the attack. Before the tea break, Joe Denly was bought into the attack and troubled Elgar. South Africa ended the 2nd session at 46 for 0.

In the 3rd session, Joe Denly again troubled Elgar with good deliveries. Denly got a breakthrough for England getting the wicket of Elgar. Elgar was given out and decided to review it. On review the umpire decision stood as it out. Elgar and Malan added 71 runs for the opening wicket. Hamza came to the crease and looked solid.

Malan impressed with his technique to reach his maiden half-century off 144 balls. Just before the close of play, James Anderson got the wicket of Hamza for 18. Hamza and Malan added 52 runs for the 2nd wicket. The nightwatchmen Keshav Maharaj survived few moments. South Africa ended the 4th day on 126 for 2.

It promises to be an exciting day of cricket on the 5th day. England are the favourites to win the Test match, but Malan and the other experienced players would be looking to show the grit and courage to save and go into third Test with 1-0 lead.

England 269 in 91.5 overs ( Ollie Pope 61*, Ben Stokes 47, Kagiso Rabada 3/68, Vernon Philander 2/46) and 391 for 8 in 111 overs ( Dom Sibley 133, Ben Stokes 72, Joe Root 61, Anrich Nortje 3/61, Rabada 2/69) lead South Africa 223 in 89 overs  (Dean Elgar 88, Van der Dussen 68, James Anderson 5/40, Stuart Broad 2/36) and 126 for 2 in 56 overs ( Pieter Malan 63*, Elgar 34, James Anderson 1/18, Joe Denly 1/26)

South Africa require 312 runs to win with 8 wickets in hand.




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