Vernon Philander led a fine all-round bowling effort as South Africa beat England by 340 runs on the fourth day of the second Test at Trent Bridge on Monday (July 17).
The win helped South Africa level the four-match series at 1-1 after they had been well beaten by 211 runs in the first Test at Lord’s.
England, set a mammoth 474 runs for victory, collapsed to 133 all out 40 minutes before tea on the fourth day. Philander, the Man of the Match, took three wickets for 24 runs in ten overs, including an early double-strike. That gave him five wickets in total in a match where he also made scores of 54 and 42 with the bat.
No England batsman made a half-century in a second innings where Alastair Cook’s 42 was the top score.
The most made by any side to win in the fourth innings of a Test is Windies’ 418 for 7 against Australia at St John’s in 2003. But the more immediate task for England on Monday was to see if they could at least keep South Africa in the field till the end of the day.
They failed miserably, bowled out in 44.2 overs despite South Africa being without Kagiso Rabada after the fast bowler was suspended for swearing at England’s Ben Stokes at Lord’s.
Faf du Plessis: We did our basics a lot better, put England under pressure for longer periods in the game
Vernon Philander: Coming into the Test I was a bit cold, but I got my groove going and I’m feeling a lot better
Joe Root: We weren’t good enough with the bat for the whole game
Philander removed left-handers Keaton Jennings (3) and Gary Ballance (4) during a burst of 2 for 8 in 19 balls. Chris Morris followed up with 2 for 2 in 20 balls as he dismissed Joe Root (8) and Cook. At lunch, England had slumped to 79 for 4, with Jonny Bairstow 12 not out and Ben Stokes five not out.
Only last year, the pair shared a stunning partnership of 399 against South Africa in Cape Town, with Stokes making 258 and Bairstow an unbeaten 150. But their stand on Monday was worth just 12 when Bairstow (16) advanced down the pitch to Keshav Maharaj only to drag an intended drive straight to Morris at mid-on.
It was an extraordinary shot given England’s dire position.
“I can’t believe I have seen that,” said an angry Michael Vaughan, commentating on BBC Radio‘s Test Match Special. “All you need to do is dangle the carrot and they’ll go for it. Dumb batting! What is he thinking? Even if it goes for four or six … that’s not the point now. It’s about batting time.”
Moeen Ali hit six fours in his 27 before he too made a present of his wicket to Maharaj, sweeping the spinner straight to square leg.
Stokes at least gutsed it out for more than an hour while making 18 before he was caught and bowled off a low checked drive by Philander.
England lost their last three wickets on 133, Duanne Olivier – only playing because Rabada was out – ending the match when he dismissed Mark Wood and James Anderson with successive deliveries.
In the morning, England resumed with Cook and Jennings both nought not out after surviving four overs late on Sunday. Philander, known for his ability to move the ball at a lively pace, had a wicket with just his fifth ball on Monday, when Jennings was undone by an excellent delivery that nipped back to uproot his off stump.
Ballance, in his third stint of Test cricket and under huge pressure for his place, was then lbw to Philander on review. England were 28 for two, with Root once more coming in after a top-order slump.
Root had made 190 in his first innings as England captain at Lord’s and top-scored with 78 in their meagre first innings 205 this match. But he fell cheaply on this occasion, Morris producing an excellent yorker to knock over off stump.
Cook, however, struck four fours in eight balls off Olivier. But his near two-hour innings ended when he was beaten for pace by a well-directed Morris bouncer and gloved down the leg side, where Quinton de Kock held a fine catch.