England’s cricket team will be the happier of the two sides after day one of the first Test match against South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
The visitors won the toss and invited the hosts to bat first and by stumps had reduced the Proteas to 277 for nine, in their first innings.
England’s skipper Joe Root would have surprised a few fans as he favoured an all seam bowling attack for this first Test at SuperSport Park and the captain didn’t hesitate then in choosing to bowl after he won the toss.
Despite the illness that has hampered their preparations, Root was duly rewarded for his decision when quick James Anderson, playing in his 150th Test for England, was gifted his first scalp of the series, that of Dean Elgar for a royal duck.
That set the tone for the rest of the session as the Proteas’ top order lost wickets at regular intervals. Opener Aiden Markram again failed to make a significant impact departing for 20.
Zubayr Hamza, however, seemed more organised and patient, playing some good strokes including a beautiful cover drive off the bowling of Stuart Broad to get to 39 but he was dismissed with the very next delivery.
Captain Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen, making his debut took South Africa to lunch on 79 for three.
Du Plessis and Van Der Dussen seemed more composed after the break but that lasted only about 30 minutes as Sam Curran claimed his second wicket dismissing van der Dussen for 6.
His slipper followed a few overs later compliments of Broad for 29, leaving South Africa reeling on 111 for five. They say that fortune favours brave and to the delight of Proteas fans, that’s exactly the attitude that Quinton de Kock embraced when he strolled to the crease.
As his aggressive style, he took on the bowlers, scoring at almost a run a ball, on his way to his 18th Test half-century. De Kock together with South Africa’s second debutant in the match Dwaine Pretorious, shared in 75 runs sixth-wicket partnership, safely navigating to the tea break on 187 for five.
Their stand didn’t survive for much longer after the interval though, as the pair added just 12 more runs to the total before Pretorious was dismissed by Curran for 33.
De Kock continued his resistance, now sharing in a 47 run-stand with Vernon Philander. He came agonisingly close to converting his 50 but Curran struck again, dismissing him for 95.
Philander also continued his vigil, managing to get the Proteas past the 250-mark, which was considered the par score.
Kagiso Rabada was the last wicket of the day, while Philander finished unbeaten on 28 with as the Proteas ended day one on 277 for the loss nine wickets.