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South Africa seize control

15 July 2017 National Sport

South Africa seized a precious 205-run lead over England as 15 wickets fell on day two of the second Test, at gloomy Trent Bridge.

The Proteas, 1-0 down in the series, bundled England out for just 205 in their first-innings despite a free-flowing 78 from captain Joe Root.

Dean Elgar (38no) and Hashim Amla (23no) then steered the tourists to 75-1 in their second innings – James Anderson (1-13) improving his stellar record at the ground by removing Heino Kuhn (eight).

Seamer Anderson (5-72) was the star of the first hour of the day as he took 4-4 in 16 balls to claim his seventh five-for at Trent Bridge – the Proteas crumbling from their overnight 309-6 to 335 all out in their first innings.

Anderson struck with just his fifth delivery of the day after England had convinced the umpires a ball change was necessary as Vernon Philander (54) poked a back-of-a-length ball to Liam Dawson, breaking his stubborn seventh-wicket stand of 74 with Chris Morris.

The 34-year-old followed up with a second successive wicket maiden by finding Keshav Maharaj’s edge – the 700th Test wicket taken by Anderson and Broad in partnership.

It was swiftly followed by another as Morris got a leading edge back to the bowler and the innings was over when Morne Morkel (2-45) flashed outside off-stump.

With conditions still perfect for seam bowling, South Africa made light work of removing England’s openers – Alastair Cook caught behind off Philander (2-48) off a thin inside edge and Keaton Jennings edging the very next delivery, from Morkel, behind as it straightened on him.

At 3-2, Root relieved some of the tension with three off his first ball and reeled off three boundaries in one Philander over, including a perfectly-balanced cover drive.

Back-to-back Gary Ballance (27) boundaries off Morkel earned England 20 runs in two overs and as the Proteas attack struggled to control the movement, the fifty stand came up in 47 balls with 10 fours.

Root reached his half-century in the final over before lunch, getting there off just 40 balls thanks to nine fours, and improved his scoring rate to over a run-a-ball on the resumption despite testing spells from Philander and Morkel.

Philander bowled Ballance via an inside edge with his first ball of the afternoon session and had Jonny Bairstow (45) struggling around off-stump but it was his strike partner Morkel who claimed the key wicket of Root, caught behind on the drive.

Ben Stokes faced only nine balls before he was starved of the strike for five overs and lasted just three more balls as Maharaj (3-21) snuck one through the gate, De Kock taking a tough catch at the second attempt.

Moeen Ali avoided Stokes’ fate by hitting his first ball through midwicket for four but had barely settled at the crease before Bairstow was bowled by a perfect off-spinner from Maharaj.

The innings ended swiftly as Morris (3-38) picked up three of the last four wickets to fall, including Ali on the drive and Broad lbw first ball, to put South Africa firmly in the box-seat.

England had 22 overs before stumps to make significant in-roads into South Africa’s second innings and although Root snaffled a low chance at slip to send Kuhn on his way, Elgar and Amla pressed home the tourists’ advantage.

Live coverage of the first Test between England and South Africa continues on Sky Sports 2 and in Ultra HD on Sky Q from 10am on Sunday.

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