|Ground:||Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood|
|Scorecard:||England v South Africa|
|Event:||South Africa in England 2012|
DateLine: 16th August 2012
England v South Africa, 3rd Test, 1st day
In association with Investec.
In this vitally important final Investec Test match for England, which they need to win in order to retain their No.1 position in world Test rankings, the first day went much in their favour. It was the first time in the series that South Africa found batting hard going for the most part of the day particularly in the first session in which they lost four wickets. They fared better between lunch and tea when England could claim only one wicket and then in the last session with JP Duminy, having scored 61, the top score, and sharing a stand of 72 with Vernon Philander, for the seventh wicket, the highest stand of the innings, enabled South Africa to reach 262 for seven.
The fall of wickets began from the ninth over with just 22 on the scoreboard. The umpire had turned down England's appeal against Graeme Smith for a catch behind but the review was successful. In pushing forward, the bottom of Smith's bat had grazed the ground but looking at the replay there seemed a slight edge. After two half centuries in the second Test and a century in the first, Smith went for 14 and having claimed the wicket, Anderson was rested with only nine runs coming off his five overs.
The tourists progressed to 49 before England struck a double blow. Steve Finn, in the nineteenth over, had Alviro Petersen caught behind. It was a short ball which the batsman, on 22, edged for a leg side catch. Two balls later Finn produced the ball of the day to dismiss Hashim Amla, who on 13, went forward to a ball which came in sharply beating him between bat and pad to hit top of off stump. His first wicket fell on the total of 49 and the next a run later.
South Africa's strong batting line-up was making no head way against a fine pace attack and the position got worse shortly before lunch when Finn struck again with the wicket of Jacques Kallis. It was, however, a controversial dismissal. Kallis had been given not out but England had it reviewed successfully. The ball did seem to touch the batsmanís glove but his hand was not on the bat at the time. Kallis was clearly unhappy by the third umpire's decision and South Africa were reduced to 54 for four in 20.3 overs after having decided to bat first.
A stand of 51 between AB de Villiers and Jacques Rudolph revived the innings a little until just over an hour after lunch when Anderson claimed his second wicket dismissing de Villiers. Of his 27 runs, 24 had come from boundaries, all six struck off Finn. The bowler, having conceded 22 runs from seven overs before the break was hit for 26 from five overs after lunch with de Villier playing fluent strokes until he edged to second slip.
The sixth wicket stand of 58 between Rudolph and Duminy brought further recovery but it wasn't to last for long. Graeme Swann, back in the team after being omitted from the previous Test, broke the partnership of the last pair of specialist batsmen. After a patient 42, scored over two and a half hours, Rudolph was bowled, playing-on to a ball which he tried to work to leg but edged it on to his middle stump.
Duminy found a very useful partner in Philander who batted with great application and soon went past his modest previous highest Test score of 29. He hit Broad for two boundaries in an over, a square drive past point and four balls later a powerful drive to mid-off which took him to 36. Duminy had kept picking up runs steadily and in between the two fours struck by his partner he ran three to third man to reach his fourth Test half century from 124 balls. With that stroke he also brought up the fifty of the stand. The over had cost Broad twelve runs.
It was the second new ball, taken as soon as it became due that got the breakthrough for England. Anderson, with the third ball, had Duminy on 61, from 158 balls, gave Matt Prior his fourth catch of the innings. It was a ball that he should have left alone but on chasing it he got a thin edge. He had, however, guided South Africa with an innings lasting two and three quarter hours towards a reasonable total which at one point they seemed unlikely to achieve. Philander remained unbeaten on 46 from 32 balls and batting with him was Dale Steyn on 21.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Andy Jalil)