Coming back from a loss in the first Test of the four-match series, England surged to a massive victory over South Africa in the third Test at Port Elizabeth. Centuries from Ollie Pope, Ben Stokes and spin prowess of Dom Bess, Joe Root helped the visitors take a crucial lead of 2-1 in the series. Pope was named Man of the Match for his 135 not out and six sharp catches in the field. Rain disruption did carry the game into the fifth day but South Africa had no hopes of survival. Here are the major talking points from the Port Elizabeth Test.
ICC punish Rabada for outrageous appeal
Opting to bat first on a track that offered little help for the bowlers, English batsmen opted for a cautious approach. Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley and Joe Denly established themselves at the crease but failed to kick on. South Africa then extended their domination as Kagiso Rabada breached through Joe Root’s defence. After dismissing English captain, the fast bowler screamed in anger. This added to his previous three demerit points and he has been suspended from the fourth Test. Fans and experts around the world criticised ICC.
Context .. 33 degree heat.. high humidity.. flat pitch … not given new ball .. gets England captain .. best ball of the day … shows a bit too much emotion. Result Wanderers test will be poorer for no Rabada .. ps I know he has previous !
— Nasser Hussain (@nassercricket) January 17, 2020
Pope and Stokes rescue England
At 148/4, England were about to squander the advantage of batting first. However, Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope salvaged them. The duo added 203 runs for the fifth wicket. Stokes completed his ninth Test hundred whereas Pope celebrated his maiden century. The 22-year old remained unbeaten 135 till the end as England reached 499/9 declared.
Dom Bess gets 5/5
Facing a mammoth total, South Africa lost two quick wickets in the fag end of day two. Next day, Dom Bess wreaked them as the offie went on to clinch a five-wicket haul. He claimed the first five wickets and became first English spinner to do so since 1975. The 22-year old also became the third-youngest England spinner (after Pat Pocock and Underwood) to snare a five-for in Test history. He finished with 5/51 as the home side tumbled to 209 all out.
Joe Root turns up with the ball
England showed no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on. South Africa struggled in the second innings as well with Mark Wood taking two quick wickets. Then Joe Root swung into action. The part-time off-spinner sent back Pieter Malan, Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis. Root ended with the figures of 4/87, his best in Test cricket. His figures were later dented by the onslaught launched from Keshav Maharaj.
Maharaj-Paterson ensure entertaining finish
At 138/9, South Africa were staring at a heavy defeat. They still lost the match by an innings and 53 runs but it could have been worse. Root hunting for his five-for bowled relentlessly. However, Keshav Maharaj decided to take on the spinner. He slammed him for 4,4,4,6,6 in an over. With the last ball going for four byes, 28 runs were scored in the over, joint-most expensive in Test cricket. Maharaj and Paterson added 99 runs for the last wicket. Maharaj was run out on 71 which included 10 fours and three sixes. South Africa folded up for 237 all out and conceded a heavy loss. Both the teams will now turn up for the fourth Test starting on 24th January at Johannesburg.