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South Africa v England, 2nd Test, Day One: Stokes' fifty gives England upper hand

Davis James
454   //    02 Jan 2016, 21:06 IST
Ben Stokes Test cricket
Ben Stokes scored his 6th Test fifty to lift England out of a troublesome situation

A Dale Steyn-less South African side took on England in the second Test at Newlands, Cape Town. The Proteas would have hoped to get off to a good start to the Test. However, the day was dominated by a quality batting display by the English batsmen.

This is the fourth Test in the last six Tests that Steyn has missed for South Africa. 20-year-old Kagiso Rabada was brought in place of the injured Steyn while Test debutant, Chris Morris came in place of another injured bowler, Kyle Abbott.

All-rounder, JP Duminy was dropped to make way for wicketkeeper-batsman, Quinton de Kock. For England, the return of bowling spearhead, James Anderson would have buoyed the spirits in the English camp further.

England won the toss and elected to bat first and got off to a good start with the opening pair of captain, Alastair Cook and Alex Hales putting 55 runs for the first wicket. Cook failed to build on his start again as he was caught brilliantly in the slips by Morris off the bowling of Rabada.

Hales silenced his critics with a well-made half-century, scoring 60 runs off 140 balls and was also involved in another good partnership of 74 runs with Nick Compton. After Hales’ dismissal, England's most consistent batsman, Joe Root came to the crease.

Rabada gave the Proteas a lift with two wickets in two balls to reduce England to 167/4 after dismissing Compton and James Taylor. However, the delight was short-lived for South Africa as Root and Ben Stokes another partnership of 50-plus runs before debutant Morris got his first Test wicket in the form of Root.

That was the last wicket that the Proteas would get as Stokes and Jonny Bairstow were involved in an unbeaten 94-run partnership to give England the upper hand at the end of the first day.

Stokes and Bairstow scored at a brisk pace as their partnership came just under 5 runs an over, with most of the runs coming after the second new ball was taken. Hashim Amla's tactic of not bringing on their best bowler, Morne Morkel right after the new ball was taken is something that will have bemused many of the fans.

Morris, who bowled the first over after the new ball was taken, gave away 17 runs as Stokes hit him for four boundaries to bring up his sixth Test fifty.

England will be hoping that Stokes and Bairstow can continue batting with positive intent and help the visitors put up a good score in the first innings. On the other hand, South African bowlers, barring Rabada, were clueless as to how to handle the English batsmen.


England Batting, 1st Innings: 317/5, 87 overs

Alastair Cook27 (49)
Alex Hales60 (140)
Nick Compton45 (105)
Joe Root50 (79)
James Taylor0 (1)
Ben Stokes74* (93)
Jonny Bairstow39* (59)

South Africa Bowling, 1st Innings:

Morne Morkel18511
Chris Morris22991
Kagiso Rabada19743
Dane Piedt21630
Stiaan van Zyl5120
Dean Elgar270
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