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Ken Borland


England struggling for their lives

Posted on July 24, 2012 by Ken

England were struggling for their lives as they staggered to stumps on 102 for four on the fourth day of the first Test against South Africa at the Oval in London on Sunday.

35th over – A rare long-hop from Imran Tahir and Ravi Bopara whips it through midwicket for four.

28th over – Dale Steyn tries the short ball against Bopara but it doesn’t really get up and is hooked well for four to fine leg.

27th over – WICKET – Tahir has really worked Andrew Strauss over with some wonderful bowling in this over – exploding the ball out of the rough, turning it both ways – and eventually the England captain cracks, trying to sweep and can only top-edge a dolly to backward square-leg. Strauss leaves for a gutsy 27 off 80 balls.

18th over – WICKET – Wonderful bowling by Morne Morkel! After all the fire and brimstone directed at Pietersen, the tall fast bowler just holds back (Hawkeye reckons 6km/h slower than the previous ball) a full, straight delivery. Pietersen is slow in coming forward and plays all around the ball to be bowled middle stump for 16.

16th over – England’s fifty is up as Pietersen plays the hook shot well again, nicely controlled and he gets over the ball well to get four more runs off Morkel. The next ball is again short, but this time lifting sharply outside off stump, Pietersen, on 14, fends at the ball and edges wide of second slip; Jacques Kallis dives, gets both hands to the ball but can’t hang on to a tough chance. Kallis, the slip fielding maestro, will nevertheless be bitterly disappointed he didn’t take that.

15th over – Not a very auspicious start to Tahir’s crucial spell as his first ball is a low full toss which Strauss drives straight down the ground for four.

14th over – Morkel digs the ball in short to Pietersen, but is hooked emphatically through midwicket for four. Three balls later, Pietersen top-edges another hook shot over the wicketkeeper for four.

11th over – WICKET – Jonathan Trott is caught behind for 10 as he just pushes at a good delivery from Steyn that nips away. That’s seven catches in the Test for wicketkeeper AB de Villiers, just two off equalling Mark Boucher’s record against England in Leeds in 2008.

9th over – A bit of width from Dale Steyn and Trott chops the ball through the covers for four.

5th over – With the crowd erupting into applause for Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France, Steyn angles into Strauss’s pads and is glanced away to fine leg for four.

3rd over – Morkel jags a delivery back into Trott, striking him on the pads. The South Africans roar out an lbw appeal, but it’s high and probably missing leg and a good decision not to review. A good decision too nby the umpire! Asad Rauf and Steve Davis have been excellent in this test.

2nd over – Vernon Philander strikes with his second ball and what a great delivery it was! WICKET – Cook is reaching to defend a perfect-length delivery that just nips away from him, finding the edge and wicketkeeper AB de Villiers takes a good catch going away to his left. An absolutely key man out for a duck – Cook is England’s Hashim Amla and if anyone was going to bat for a day-and-a-half, it was him.

Afternoon session

Hashim Amla’s historic triple century was up as South Africa hammered England for 637 for two by tea on the fourth day of the first test at the Oval in London on Sunday.

187th over – Jacques Kallis now slams Ravi Bopara through the covers for four to take the partnership to 365 – the highest for the third wicket by any team against England.

185th over – Kallis has just engulfed Amla in two big bear hugs and now he belts Bopara over mid-on with an imperious short-arm pull for four. Amla, on 305, smashes the last ball of the over on the up, back towards the bowler, who sticks out his right hand but cannot hang on to a stinging, very difficult chance.

184th over – Amla has done it! The first test triple century for South Africa! Amla drives Tim Bresnan on the up and with enough timing to clear the man leaping at extra cover, for his 35th four. Amla has been at the crease for 768 minutes and faced 515 balls. A truly great innings and fitting that it has come in a match between two top nations at one of the major venues in world cricket.

182nd over – Oooh, what a shot by Kallis as he steps outside off stump and powers Bresnan over wide mid-on with a thumping pull/drive. The bowler is speechless … and looks thoroughly fed up.

181st over – Kallis launches a slog-sweep off Graeme Swann high and handsome for six over cow-corner!

179th over – Kallis reaches 150 for the 14th time in tests as he clips Swann away on the leg side for a single. He has batted for nearly six-and-a-half hours and faced 299 balls, hitting 20 fours.

176th over – Amla claims the highest test score for South Africa with one of his trademark shots, punching Bresnan off his pads, just wide of mid-on for his 33rd boundary. Amla’s 281 not out has taken him 726 minutes and he’s faced 480 deliveries. A great, great innings that has demoralised the number one ranked team in the world.

175th over – Kallis ends Swann’s first over back with a powerful sweep for four, bringing up the 300 partnership with Amla off 527 balls.

173rd over – A flashing square-cut for four by Amla off Jimmy Anderson takes him to 270 not out.

167th over – Wow, a phenomenal shot by Amla as a good-length ball from Anderson is punched over wide mid-on by a brilliant lofted on-drive for four. And that takes Amla to a career-best score, beating his superb 253 not out against India in Nagpur in 2010.

166th over – Stuart Broad shares the third new ball with Anderson after lunch but his first over is a disaster. The blondie floats up three 125km/h wide half-volleys which are nonchalantly dispatched through the covers for a trio of boundaries by Kallis.

Morning session

Hashim Amla, with his career-best in sight, and Jacques Kallis with his 43rd century, carried South Africa to 514 for two at lunch on the fourth day of the first Test against England at the Oval on Sunday.

163rd over – Two fours in the Graeme Swann over take Amla to a memorable, magnificent 250, in just over 11 hours, off 445 balls, with 29 fours. Amla cuts the off-spinner to third man for four and then receives a full toss, finding the gap in the covers with his off-drive.

162nd over – Kallis lashes Ravi Bopara through the covers for four, bringing up the 500 and 2000 runs for the great all-rounder against England.

156th over – Medium-pacer Bopara comes on but Amla skips down the pitch and then square-drives beautifully for four.

155th over – Amla comes down the pitch and viciously slog-sweeps Swann high over midwicket for a one-bounce four.

154th over – Kallis reaches his 43rd Test century – only Sachin Tendulkar has more in the history of the game – as he nudges Tim Bresnan between the slips and gully, down to the third man boundary for his 13th four. Kallis, who points to his eye during his celebration to dedicate his innings to Mark Boucher, has been at the crease for just over four-and-a-half hours and has faced 227 balls. It’s his first hundred in England since the 1998 tour! The shot also brings up the 200 partnership with Amla and it is the first time in their 924 Tests that England have ever conceded back-to-back double-century partnerships after Graeme Smith and Amla put on 259 for the second wicket. The next ball is an attempted slower-ball bouncer from Bresnan, but Kallis hammers it emphatically over midwicket for four more.

153rd over – Spin is introduced in the form of Swann but his second delivery is over-pitched and Amla drives it crisply through the covers for four.

152nd over – Delicate skill now by Amla as he opens the face of the bat and tickles Bresnan to the vacant third man boundary for four. Jacques Kallis nurdles the ball to same boundary two balls later, having survived a run out appeal after a direct hit from short cover by Ian Bell on the previous delivery. Kallis hesitated a bit as Amla called for a quick single.

150th over – Overpitched and wide from Bresnan and Kallis strokes it through the covers, the ball bashing into the boundary at pace.

145th over – Amla now has his second Test double century as he gets Stuart Broad away through the covers, not perfectly timed, but well enough to get three runs. Amla’s great knock has seen him bat for 588 minutes and 392 balls, so far – he’s nicely set up to go for bigger things.

144th over – Amla is on 194 not out as he gets the strike with two balls left in Jimmy Anderson’s over. A trademark flick off the hip brings him two runs and then he drives beautifully through extra cover, but good work by cover sweeper Ravi Bopara limits him to just two runs and not the boundary that would have seen him to 200.

139th over – First boundary of the morning in the fourth over of the day as Bresnan strays on to Amla’s pads and he flicks the ball away to fine leg for four, to go to 191 not out and thus reaching the highest score for South Africa at the Oval, beating Bruce Mitchell’s 187 way back in 1947.

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