England thrash South Africa to take winter Test series lead
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 30, 2015
England’s winter Tour of South Africa got off to the perfect start, as they thrashed their hosts by 241 runs to win the first of a four-Test series in Durban.
South African slump at stumps continues
The visitors bowled the hosting Proteas out for 214 and 174, while making more than 300 per innings (303 and 326) when in to bat.
South Africa’s not-so-secret bowling weapon Dale Steyn struggled with a shoulder problem from the second day onwards, having recently returned from a layoff, but still took 4-70 in the first England innings. Morne Morkel followed suit with a four-wicket haul of his own.
Steyn left Cape Cobras teammate Dale Piedt to do the most damage when their opponents batted for a second time. Expensive bowling figures of 5-153 from him, with touring wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow smashing 79 off just 76 balls, put this game beyond the Proteas, however.
Bowling variety plays part in England victory
Man of the match Moeen Ali used his spinning to good effect here, taking seven wickets across the two South African innings, with 3-47 and 4-69.
It was the pace of Stuart Broad who did most damage when the hosts were first at the crease, though, boasting a terrific return of 4-25. Steven Finn’s figures of 4-42 also helped put the Proteas to the sword when returning to bat.
Other key England performers in Durban – where they have a tremendous record – included Nick Compton (85 and 49 runs), James Taylor (70 and 42), and Joe Root (73 in second innings).
Proteas peril follows on from Indian ignominy
South Africa’s sizable loss shows how confidence has been hit, especially among the top order, by their capitulation in the previous series against India. Opener Dean Elgar comes out of this Test with some credit, though, having put together an unbeaten 118 in the first innings.
AB de Villiers underwhelmed with the gloves, and twice fell short of half-centuries when batting, so wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock’s call-up hints a reshuffle for the second Test and less responsibility for the One Day International captain.
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) December 30, 2015
Proteas Test skipper Hashim Amla is under real pressure, scoring just 19 runs across two innings, but the home team have also drafted in cover for Steyn in Chris Morris. Replacing arguably the best bowler in the world will be no mean feat.
Anderson back in attack for touring Test series favourites?
Leading wicket-taker James Anderson should come back into contention for the second Test in Cape Town for Trevor Bayliss’ tourists, which starts on January 2nd 2016.
In reaction to this mammoth victory, Coral have slashed the price on England winning the South Africa series from 11/5 to odds-on at 8/15. The Proteas are out to 4/1, while a draw is now a 7/2 chance.