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

  • Bond lauds Taylor ahead of 100th Test and backs Black Caps to beat India Bond lauds Taylor ahead of 100th Test and backs Black Caps to beat India

    Shane Bond has hailed the "incredible" Ross Taylor as a New Zealand great ahead of his 100th Test and believes the Black Caps will secure a series win over India.

    Taylor will become the first player to make 100 appearances for his country in all formats when he faces Virat Kohli's side in a first Test that gets under way at Basin Reserve on Friday.

    The prolific batsman has established himself as one of the best batsmen in the world since making his international debut back in 2006 and was man of the series in a 3-0 ODI whitewash of India this month.

    Bond was a team-mate of Taylor's when he made his Test, ODI and Twenty20 International debuts and the paceman has also been part of the Black Caps coaching staff after retiring in 2010.

    The former quick says Taylor, who turns 36 next month, will go down as one of the best players New Zealand have ever produced.

    He told Omnisport: "I've known Rosco for a long time, he's a ripping bloke and he's been a sensational player for New Zealand. He's definitely one of our greatest players.

    "I didn't think he'd achieve what he has done in Test cricket, I think he's redefined himself. At the start he was a dynamic white-ball player, he could score all around the wicket a rate of knots.

    "He's changed his player to also be an incredible Test player. He's changed the way he plays in one-day cricket to clearly be one of the best in the world, but now T20 as well.

    "That's the sign of a great player is to continue to reinvent himself, continue to develop his game and I think what he has done has been remarkable, he's been such a stalwart for New Zealand and has been a massive part of some strong performances at major tournaments."

    Bond says Taylor has plenty more runs in him yet at the highest level and can feature in the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

    "It's great to see what he has achieved and hopefully he'll be going for a few more years, because I know he's motivated to keep going and he's enjoying his cricket," he added.

    "I think the way he's playing, in one-day cricket he's our best player form-wise. He's talked about the next World Cup and players are going on for longer in the modern game, so I certainly wouldn't count that out as long as he's hungry and churning out runs he can be in there as long as he wants."

    India have won all seven games in the ICC World Test Championship and top the rankings, but Bond thinks New Zealand can bring them back down to earth.

    Asked if he is confident of a series win, he replied: "Yeah I think so, we won the last series here against them when they had a really good team.

    "I think the Indian bowling attack has improved; Ishant [Sharma], [Jasprit ] Bumrah, [Mohammed] Shami is a quality line-up. You need that here.

    "It's going to be challenging for New Zealand, but we are tough to beat in our own conditions and the toss is important, because the wickets tend to do a bit then just flatten out and don't turn - especially Wellington and Christchurch.

    "New Zealand will miss [Neil] Wagner in the first Test, but it's an attritional game here and because New Zealand are a very fit team, they have worn teams down. I think it'll be incredibly close and because it doesn't turn, that probably takes away some of the weapons India have."

  • Pakistan's Umar Akmal suspended under anti-corruption code Pakistan's Umar Akmal suspended under anti-corruption code

    Umar Akmal has been suspended from all cricket-related activities by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) under its anti-corruption code.

    The PCB on Thursday revealed that Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Akmal has been suspended under article 4.7.1 of its code, but did not state the nature of the alleged offence.

    Akmal's ban was imposed on the day he was due to play for defending champions Quetta Gladiators in the first game of the Pakistan Super League against Islamabad United.

    The 29-year-old has been replaced in the Gladiators squad by Anwar Ali, with an investigation ongoing. 

    Akmal was this month reprimanded by the PCB after allegedly exposing himself while undergoing a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy.

    That incident, which is reported to have seen Akmal ask a trainer "where is the fat?" during a skin-fold test, was described by the PCB as a "misunderstanding".

    Akmal has played 121 ODIs and 84 Twenty20 Internationals, also featuring in 16 Tests between 2009 and 2011.

  • Tuilagi and Slade on course to be fit for Ireland clash Tuilagi and Slade on course to be fit for Ireland clash

    Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade are on course to be fit for England's crunch Six Nations showdown with Ireland at Twickenham on Sunday.

    Tuilagi suffered a groin injury early in England's defeat to France on the opening weekend of the tournament, while Slade has been out since sustaining an ankle injury in December.

    The centres trained with the Rugby World Cup runners-up on Wednesday and could face joint-leaders Ireland this weekend.

    England head coach Eddie Jones said: "Manu trained fully so should be in contention for selection. It's good to have a quality player back.

    "Slade also trained so we have just got to monitor his progress. He has a positive chance. He's a quality player. This gives us more options."

    One player who will play no part is prop Mako Vunipola, who flew to Tonga and is not available for "family reasons".

    Jones says England are well stocked to cover for the absence of the British and Irish Lion, with Joe Marler and Ellis Genge vying for a start.

    The Australian said: "Mako's a quality player but we are lucky we are blessed with two outstanding loosehead props in Joe and Ellis, so we can recover the loss of Mako.

    "But it's disappointing to lose him."

    Genge scored the winning try in a battling 13-6 defeat of Scotland before the rest weekend. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.