England surpass 500,000 Test runs as South Africa stage late fightback

By Sports Desk January 24, 2020

England became the first team to score 500,000 Test runs on the first day of the fourth Test with South Africa, which saw the tourists' strong start curtailed by a final-session fightback from the Proteas.

Joe Root's men were dealt a blow before winning the toss with the news that paceman Jofra Archer would be unable to play at the Wanderers because of elbow soreness.

Having seen his side take command of the third Test in Port Elizabeth with a dominant first-innings batting display, Root elected to give his charges the same opportunity, and openers Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley laid an excellent foundation.

Crawley was in fluent form as he scored his first half-century for his country but England slumped to 157-4 after the first-wicket stand of 107 was broken. 

Root (25 not out) and Ollie Pope (22 not out) steadied the ship, the former seeing England to the half-a-million milestone as they reached 192-4 before bad light stopped play.

After falling six runs short of a fifty at St George's Park, Crawley made no mistake in Johannesburg in a stylish innings that featured 11 boundaries, combining with Sibley for England's first century opening stand since December 2016.

Crawley's maiden international 50 was brought up in more fortuitous fashion with a thick edge through point but Sibley, having successfully reviewed an lbw decision and been given a reprieve by a no-ball, was not so lucky.

A centurion in the second match in Cape Town, Sibley was strangled down the leg side on 44 as Beuran Hendricks claimed a wicket on his Test debut.

Vernon Philander then ensured he will end his final Test with a wicket as Crawley presented a simple catch to Rassie van der Dussen, who made another grab at slip to end a difficult 35-ball spell at the crease for Joe Denly (27).

South African hopes of an England collapse were given a significant boost when talisman Ben Stokes fell to Anrich Nortje for just two, the all-rounder's attempt at a drive seeing him send another straight to Van der Dussen.

Stokes was involved in a verbal altercation with a fan as he left the field but, while England will now have to wait to see if he faces any repercussions from that, in terms of the match their position was improved as Root and Pope provided stability.

They did so in confident fashion. Root surpassed 7,500 Test runs with a pull through midwicket for four and his single through the covers took England to the historic 500,000 mark.

The fading light saw the fifth-wicket partnership interrupted on 35 and, though England have plenty of batting to come, Root and Pope will know that stretching their stand well into day two will go a long way to sealing a 3-1 series victory.

Related items

  • Windies tour of England not called off just yet Windies tour of England not called off just yet

    Isolation units and Coronavirus checkpoints at cricket grounds could see the West Indies still making the trip to that country for closed-door games.

    The West Indies were scheduled to start a three-Test duel with England at T/he Oval, Edgbaston, and Lord’s on June 4 until the rapid spread of COVID-19 across Europe threatened to derail those plans.

    The ECB and Cricket West Indies have been trying to come up with solutions to keep what is expected to be a lucrative series alive.

    According to reports, the ECB is stepping up plans to resume cricket in June, but with no spectators, but that broadcasting would still go ahead since that was safer and that is where the majority of money to be earned from the series would be in any case.

    The approach, ECB Director of Special Projects, Steve Elworthy, explained that any approach involving re-starting cricket in England would mean creating a sterile environment, safe for players and staff.

  • Jermaine Blackwood scored most runs but Alzarri Joseph topped the batting averages Jermaine Blackwood scored most runs but Alzarri Joseph topped the batting averages

    Jermaine Blackwood scored most runs but fast bowler Alzarri Joseph topped the batting averages during the recently concluded West Indies Championships.

  • Coronavirus: England players in 'ongoing discussions' with ECB over central contracts Coronavirus: England players in 'ongoing discussions' with ECB over central contracts

    Representatives for England players will continue talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over how to help the game during the coronavirus pandemic, though they have not received any demands from their employers to take a pay cut.

    Having already revealed this week that they will provide a £61million support package to help ease the financial issues caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the ECB announced on Wednesday measures to reduce employee salaries as they aim to protect jobs in the long term.

    Chief executive Tom Harrison has agreed to take a 25 per cent cut, while members of the executive management and team board will see their wages lowered by 20 per cent.

    A report by ESPNcricinfo earlier in the day suggested the England squad had so far declined an invitation to follow suit, though all-rounder Ben Stokes called the story “utter lies" on Twitter.

    In a statement, the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) said discussions for both the men's and women's team continue with the ECB over "all aspects of the game", including contracts.

    "Regarding the England players, both men and women, separate and ongoing discussions are taking place between the ECB and the management boards of both the Team England Player Partnership (TEPP) and the England Women's Player Partnership (EWPP), which respectively represent these players," the statement read.

    "Contrary to media speculation in communication this week, the ECB confirmed to centrally contracted players that there would not be any demands placed on England players to take any wage reductions to their central contracts.

    "However, the England men's players through TEPP and the England women's players through EWPP have been and will continue to be in regular communication with the ECB.

    "They will be discussing all aspects of the game that the ECB and the players are currently facing and most importantly how the players can best support their employers, the game and the country in the short, medium and long term. These issues shall also include the wellbeing of the entire cricket family, the playing of the game and the players' contracts."

    Limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan made clear he is “extremely willing to help” amid the global crisis, with the English season not scheduled to start until May 28 at the earliest.

    "In the extremely uncertain times at the moment where nobody seems to have any answers about the actual impact it will have on international cricket, English cricket, county cricket - I'm open to absolutely everything," Morgan said.

    "I'm very aware of how serious the situation is, I'm very aware that everybody will be affected from top to toe within the game and every sport, so I'm open to helping when and where I can."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.