There were talks about it yesterday itself: England were in a very unhealthy position going into the final day of the first Test match against visitors South Africa. They had just crossed the 100-run mark and were 4 wickets down already. They had to make 151 runs to pass the Proteas’ total of 637 and get more to survive, which looked highly unlikely. There was one ‘partnership-of-hope’ today that could have lasted long, but it didn’t. South Africa came, played and conquered the #1 ranked Test side, with style..
The scoresSouth Africa 637 for 2 wkts dec.
England 385 allout & 240 allout.
Full scorecard : 1st test, 2012.
As the day started, England had one thing in mind: try to last it out. The good news was that Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara were at the crease – a duo that is not easily shaken. They just had to stand their ground and knock the ball around, but just after 6 overs into the day, Bopara succumbed to the immense pressure created by Dale Steyn. A thick inside-edge onto the wickets and he was gone.
When Matt Prior came on to play, he impressively gained composure from the first ball itself. Along with Ian Bell, a Test specialist, Prior started a good partnership – something the English needed more than anything at the moment, but an 86 run partnership is all they could manage. Prior fell to Tahir and Bell’s wicket was taken by the man of the hour Dale Steyn. Bell managed to get a slow and steady half century before he got out.
That was pretty much the end of the line for the hosts as they were bowled out for 240. South Africa had won by an innings and 12 runs.
Throughout the match, almost every single player from South Africa stood out, giving the English one hell of a tough time. There were the batsmen – Captain Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, and most of all, Hashim Amla, who became the first Protea to get into the 300-run elite group. His knock of an unbelievable 311 not out catapulted the team into a sure-shot victory, but not without the help of the bowlers. Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir cleaned out the English batsmen with ease.
Alsatair Cook was the only English batsman to put up some kind of fight. Everyone else though, had a poor Test match. The batsmen were struggling on their home ground against a team who had almost no practice there, and the bowlers just couldn’t break through the Protea barrier. There will be a long discussion between everyone on the side before the next match starts.
England have been left stunned and left speechless by this brilliant performance. With their #1 spot hanging in the balance, they’ll have to seriously step it up. But then again, that hectic cricket schedule might be finally getting to them. You never know.
Highest score by a South African
in test cricket is now owned by Hashim Amla. Previously, AB de Villiers' 278 was the best, beating Graeme Smith's 277 which was made in and against England.
Hundred in hundreth test match
Graeme Smith became the first South African batsman to score century in his 100th test match. Mick Cowdrey and Alec Stewart of England, Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq of Pakistan, Gorden Greenidge of West Indies are other batsmen to do so. Ricky Ponting of Australia made century in each innings of his 100th test!
England at home
This was South Africa's first win at the Oval. Also, it was England's first defeat at home venue in almost 2 years. England were last beaten by a visiting side back in August 2010 by Pakistan at the same venue. Since then, they won 8 tests and drew 3 others.
Double century partnerships back to back
Hashim Amla first put on 259 with Graeme Smith and then 377 with Jacques Kallis. This makes it first time ever that a team put on back to back double century partnerships, against anyone.