|Scorecard:||South Africa v England|
|Player:||SCJ Broad, GP Swann, IR Bell|
|Event:||England in South Africa 2009/10|
DateLine: 29th December 2009
England literally carried the momentum that they got from the previous drawn Test as they put their foot on the neck of South Africa refusing to take it off. The South African side waited for things to happen with the ball and rarely they looked the side which conquered the hostile Australia last year. The bowling lacked venom and when their turn came to bat the English bowling duo of Swann and Broad tore into the batting line-up leaving the hosts with the hope that the weather would come to their rescue.
When the second Test between England and South Africa commenced two English players were under immense pressure from the media and from the former players. While Alastair Cook's position in the team was for time being safe as he was the only specialist opener in the squad Ian Bell's position in the batting line-up was discussed fervently. But yesterday Cook displayed enough grit and determination to score his tenth Test century and also put England in a position of strength and today it was left for Bell to try and consolidate that position.
Bell had the company of Prior who is a very busy player as the latter played the role of the enforcer in the 112 run partnership which came in just 32 overs. Prior had during the Ashes played the role of the enforcer beautifully as he used to push the scoring rate just when it stagnated and today he did just that as he injected some urgency into the innings. Bell simply fed on Prior's aggression as he too began to play some gorgeous shots on both sides of the wicket. Prior got to his fifty in 77 balls when he swept Harris over midwicket for a huge six. Harris's leg-stump offerings slowed him for a time, but the plucky keeper-batsmen found ways to counter the bowling.
Finally Duminy tempted Prior (60, 81 balls, 6x4, 1x6) into a booming drive that he under-edged onto his off stump but England's lead was already 134. Bell sedately moved to 98 and Smith sensing his nervousness brought in the field and got Harris to bowl. Bell accepted the challenge as he sauntered down the track to lift Harris over mid-on and no sooner had the ball cleared the in-field that Bell let out a cry of relief holding both his arms aloft. Bell and Stuart Broad mustered only 36 runs from 91 balls, but immediately after lunch both the batsmen began to open up. Broad signalled the onslaught by smashing Harris for six over midwicket in an over that went for 15 runs. Broad (20, 59 balls, 1x6, 1x4) was subsequently caught at slip for 20 to give Duminy his third wicket of the innings, but Swann tore into a toiling Ntini. Swann (22, 14 balls, 1x6, 2x4) finally chipped a leading edge to Prince, as Steyn found some lively swing with the third new ball. Steyn's swing also accounted for Bell (141, 227 balls, 1x6, 10x4)in his very next over, as he toe-ended a cut to the keeper, and Strauss finally declared with a lead of 232.
South Africa had to face a rejuvenated English attack and it did not help the fact that the visitors were ultra-aggressive.For nine overs Smith and Prince negotiated the English pacers - Anderson and Onions - without any degree of discomfort but the introduction of Swann into the attack in the tenth over changed the complexion of the game. Prince (16, 28 balls, 1x4) playing for the spin which wasn't there hung his bat out only for the ball to take the inside edge and fly to Bell at silly point who took an instinctive catch to gift Swann his fiftieth Test wicket of 2009. Amla (6, 13 balls, 1x4) trying to unsettle Swann tried to be aggressive against the off spinner only to get cleaned up by a big spinning off-spinner as South Africa headed to tea at 37 fo2.
The situation worsened for the hosts after tea as Kallis did a la Bell. Bell's dismissal in the first innings of the Centurion Test evoked laughter as he shouldered his arms to a straight one from Harris while Kallis misjudged a off-cutter from Broad. Broad for a change opted for a fuller length and bowled a perfectly pitched off-cutter to which Kallis (3, 4 balls) shouldered his arms and to the horror of the batsman found his off stump detonated. South Africa slipped to 40 for 3 and it became 44 for 4 when AB de Villiers (2, 15 balls) shouldered his arms to an inswinger from Broad. The on-field umpire ruled de Villiers out to which after a short consultation with his captain the batsman challenged. The third umpire did not take long as he agreed with the on-field umpire as de Villiers walked back. The next man in Duminy did not last long as he failed to get his bat out of the way as he dragged the ball back onto his stumps for a duck.
Boucher survived the hat-trick ball but Smith (22, 56 balls, 2x4) was trapped leg before by Swann's straighter ball. Smith out of desperation challenged the umpire's ruling but it was evident even to the naked eye that Smith was a goner. Boucher (20, 41 balls, 3x4) and Morkel (7, 34 balls, 1x4) survived some anxious moments before the umpires offered the light to the batsmen who accepted it without any hesitation.