England have beaten South Africa by 241 in the first test match in Durban. South Africa were simply swept away by a complete performance from the England setup. Both sides played in complete Contrast to each other, as there were only few contributors to a low confidence South Africa performance.
The game was very much in the balance, even after England were 89 runs ahead in the first innings, until Tea on the fourth day.
England’s very much under pressure players, who were looking to prove a point, and justify their selection, delivered. Players such as Nick Compton, James Taylor, Jonny Bairstow and Steven Finn all contributed, especially when England’s most recognised batsman in Alistair Cook and Joe Root didn’t contribute as much as they had in the last year.
South Africans batsman looked out of their depth, but also had to face some very good bowling spells from the England attack, where Stuart Broad, Steven Finn and Moeen Ali all put pressure on the South African line-up, where many of the batsman struggle to contribute considerable figures in both of their innings.
Moeen Ali deservedly picked up the man of the match award, in which he faced stiff competition from many other England players. Moeen took combined figures of 7-144 in the test, some very good return for what many critics called an ‘ordinary spinner’, especially as England have struggled to replace Graeme Swann since his retirement. Ali hals matured really well in his role, and adapts well to the role that his skipper wants him to play.
England debutant Alex Hales did not produce in the first test, and has not given any sign of being a long-term opening batting replacement. Nick Compton has opened in the past for England, and that could also give England the option of playing Gary Balance or Jos Buttler, to add to their strong line up.
South Africa have announced that Quinton de Kock and Chris Morris have been added to the squad for the second test. Most likely de Kock will come in for van Zyl and take the gloves, to relieve the pressure off of AB de Villiers. There will most likely only be one change for England in the sense that Jimmy Anderson will return for Chris wakes, who played well, was just unlucky not to pick up more than one wicket. With only a two-day turn around until the next test in Cape Town, meaning South Africa don’t have long to prepare and sort out their mess. England will look to pile the pressure on South Africa by using their momentum.
The first day was very even. South Africa took early, and the key wickets of Alistair Cook and Joe Root.
James Taylor and Nick Compton battled hard, and produced on a rain affected day. The second day remained even too, England again lost some wickets, but Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad got England to a total of 303. England then took early wickets too, those of van Zyl and Hashim Amla, as Stuart Broad produced a magnificent spell.
Then Elgar and de Villiers, produced a large partnership until Broad got de Villiers, which was the gateway to a South African collapse. Elgar batted through and made 118* to put South Africa within 89 by the time they were bowled out. England opening woes continued, but Compton Root, Taylor and Bairstow all batted well to set South Africa a target of 416 to win the test.
Dane Piedt took a five fer, but it ended up being all too much for South Africa to do. After getting off to a flyer in their second innings chase, courtesy of van Zyl, they had a sniff. It was taken away when Ben stokes had van Zyl bowled.
When de Villiers was let off by a missed stumping chance, it was looking like it would cost England, but he was caught LBW by Moeen, which then sparked another batting collapse, which meant that England would win the game by a safe margin.
South Africa have to be up against it come New years day, but who will get off to a better 2016?
The Proteas, or the Lions?