Ben Stokes Strikes Hard to Send South Africa on Back Foot in Second Test in Cape Town

January 04 12:24 2016

benNew Delhi, Monday, January 4 – What a better start for England in South Africa Game 2 of the 4-match Test series at Newlands in Cape Town on January 2! The confidence level of the travelers was already high in the contest as they thrashed Proteas by a huge margin in the opening Test, which held at Kingsmead in Durban late last year. 241-run win on the opponents put England in a strong position.

Despite losing all 10 wicket at 303 runs, the guests managed to stop South Africa at a total of 214 runs. Batting wasn’t good enough in second innings as well given that England’s innings ended after putting 326 runs on the scoreboard. But none knew the host will be all out at 174 runs, helping the rivals to enjoy a remarkable success in unfamiliar pitch conditions.

Every team likes to be strong in its den. South Africa were eyeing a solid start in the second Test but England poured buckets of water on their dream by totaling 629 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in 125.5 overs. After losing Alastair Cook when he was batting at 27 runs, which included four 4s, many thought South Africa will get the most out of the breakthrough that was provided by Kagiso Rabada. However, nothing happened so fast in favor of Proteas, who had to wait for nearly 27 overs to get another wicket. Alex Hales had to go back to the pavilion after Morne Morkel delivered a good ball, which was further caught by AB de Villiers after getting a good cut from the batsman’s bat. The right-handed opener played an important knock of 60 runs off 140 balls, together with 10 boundaries.

Rabada was once again the man to get one more wicket in the form of Nick Compton, who fell five runs short to pocket a fifty. 5 fours and 1 six were highlights of his play. Dismissal of James Taylor on a delivery by Kagiso Rabada in 55.3 over put England in pressure to a certain extent but that did not last for long. After losing Taylor on a naught, England’s innings was stabilized by Joe Root who scored 50 runs before giving a catch to Quinton de Kock in Chris Morris’ over. He sent the ball into the fences five times in order to increase the rate of earning runs. The real heroic was yet to be presented by Ben Stokes. The 24-year-old left-handed batsman was simply outstanding in all aspects.

The way he played his game caught the eyes. 30 boundaries and  11 sixes were hit by the young players to pocket England’s fastest double ton. 258 runs were scored in just 198 balls. Jonny Bairstow, the wicketkeeper-batsman played a beautiful knock of 150 runs in 191 balls (4 x 18 and 6 x 2). Proteas bowling attack strove for wicket after these two batsmen held the fort. Stokes was run out by AB de Villiers in 125.3 overs but by this time humongous score was put by English men. Moeen Ali was unbeaten at a zero.     Kagiso Rabada was the leading wicket taker for his team. Other South African bowlers Morne Morkel and Chris Morris had their hands in one dismissal each. Dane Piedt, Stiaan van Zyl and Dean Elgar bowled 25, 10 and 4 overs, respectively, but did not get any success. 39 extras were given by SA bowlers. 14 sixes and 72 boundaries were adequate to tell how sharp was England’s approach to completely demolish attack of the opponents.

While batting, South African cricket team totaled 141 runs post losing two wickets in form of opening duo Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl. Nick Compton’s perfect throw made the 28-year-old van Zyl go back to the dressing room after contribution of four runs, which came through a boundary, in the team’s total score. Ben Stokes proved his skipper’s confidence right when asked to bowl. He dismissed Dean Elgar at a score of 44 in 71 balls ( 4 x 6 and 6 x 1). Compton was quick in taking a good catch. Before the end of game on Day 2, South Africa managed to lose no more wickets further. Hashim Amla, the South African captain, will resume batting tomorrow at 64 runs and de Villiers at 25 runs. Their early dismissals will be on the top of priority for England as they being capable enough to change the game and entire statistics with wonderful play in home conditions.

England captain would wish James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali, Steven Finn and Joe Root to get wickets as early as possible. All eyes will be on Ben Stokes way of bowling too given that he was the first to get a wicket for Proteas. For England fans, it is thrilling to notice England giving a good treatment to deliveries by South African bowlers in different overs. Play of Day 3 will be crucial in several senses as the visiting squad would wish to end Proteas innings and utilize the lead in the best way possible. Pressure is definitely on the host as back to back defeats will leave them with no option but to either level the series by winning the remaining matches, which are to be played at New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg and SuperSport Park in Centurion, or lose it in case England win any of the two.

Things can be turned in favor by bouncing back with a bang in this game but how far does South African cricketers go will be exciting to observe. After a complete whitewash at the hands of India in Test format in spite of good show in rest two formats on the tour of India in last quarter of 2015, South Africa must be keen to display some incredible show in ongoing Test. With some incredible performances by England batsmen, the task is tough but not impossible. Crowd support for home side was good earlier and expected to be the same in the remaining days. Proteas are probable to put best foot forward not to disappoint fans who turn up in the stadium to watch a match, leaving behind other important chores of the day.

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