England’s Ben Stokes (centre) celebrates with team-mates after the dismissal of South Africa’s Anrich Nortje (left) during the fifth day’s play of their second Test match in Cape Town on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse
England broke South Africa’s resistance in the final session of the second test on Tuesday to win in Cape Town for the first time in 63 years and level the series 1-1 with two matches to play.
England’s prolonged push for victory, which started soon after lunch on the fourth day, was finally realized with 8.2 overs left with a burst of three wickets in 14 balls from Ben Stokes.
Those final wickets were all caught in the slips, ending with Vernon Philander’s edge taken by captain Joe Root to set off wild England celebrations.
England won by 189 runs for its first test success in Cape Town since a team containing Denis Compton and Jim Laker won in 1957. It’s right back in the series with tests to come in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.
South Africa survived three full sessions in this test but couldn’t quite make it through to the end of the last one of the match. Opener Pieter Malan made 84 in South Africa’s second innings on his test debut. England’s victory came through a mixture of patience and invention on a pitch that flattened out significantly for the bowlers and helped South Africa’s final-day cause. England had to change things up.
Two key breakthroughs for England in the final reckoning came as a result of an unorthodox field set by Root. South Africa’s Quinton de Kock was caught in a packed leg-side field off the bowling of part-time spinner Joe Denly. De Kock had just reached 50 when he hit a short ball straight to Zak Crawley close at midwicket.
Rassie van der Dussen, who encapsulated South Africa’s stubbornness with 17 off 140 balls, went just five overs after de Kock. Van der Dussen was caught at the unusual position of leg slip by James Anderson off Stuart Broad and the double strike knocked the stuffing out of South Africa.
The end came quickly after that.
Stokes took two wickets in two balls when tailenders Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje fell one after the other. Crawley clung on to his second important catch of the innings when he palmed the edge from Nortje up into the air and then caught it with one hand while lying on his back. Stokes ended it four overs later.
England had South Africa 126-2 overnight. And having taken just two South African wickets in the day’s first session, and one in the second session, England romped through the last five wickets for just 11 runs in 17 overs.
England set South Africa 438 to win the test, but that became irrelevant as South Africa attempted to bat out the day for a draw.
Veteran fast bowler James Anderson took 2-23 in the innings and seven wickets in the match. Denly had 2-42 and Stokes finished with 3-35 to go with six catches and his blitz with the bat in England’s second innings, which effectively put the test beyond South Africa.
Stokes blasted 72 off 47 balls to propel England to 391-8 declared in its second innings on day four, setting South Africa a mammoth task.
Final scoreboard after the fifth day of the second Test between South Africa and England at Newlands on Tuesday:
first innings: 269
first innings: 223
second innings: 391-8 declared
second innings (overnight 126-2)
P Malan c Stokes b Curran 84
D Elgar c Buttler b Denly 34
Z Hamza c Buttler b Anderson 18
K Maharaj lbw b Anderson 2
F du Plessis c Denly b Bess 19
H van der Dussen c Anderson b Broad17
Q de Kock c Crawley b Denly 50
V Philander c Pope b Stokes 8
D Pretorius c Root b Stokes 0
A Nortje c Crawley b Stokes 0
K Rabada not out 3
(b4, lb2, nb5, w2) 13
(2 wkts, 56 overs) 248
Fall of wicket:
1-71 (Elgar), 2-123 (Hamza), 3-129 (Maharaj), 4-164 (Du Plessis), 5-171 (Malan), 6-237 (De Kock), 7-237 (Van der Dussen), 8-241 (Pretorius), 9-241 (Nortje)
Anderson 18-9-23-2, Broad 23-8-37-1, Bess 33-14-57-1, Curran 16-4-37-1 (1nb, 1w), Denly 18-4-42-2, Root 6-0-11-0, Stokes 23.4-8-35-3 (4nb, 1w)
England won by 189 runs
The four-match series is level at 1-1