x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

England cricketers in the driving seat

England have enforced the follow on after bowling out South Africa for 247 in the first Test.

Ryan Sidebottom signals to the dressing room, during the third day of the first test against South Africa.
Ryan Sidebottom signals to the dressing room, during the third day of the first test against South Africa.

LONDON // England have enforced the follow on after bowling out South Africa for 247 in the first Test. Ashwell Prince had succeded in making England wait as he scored a century for the Proteas, but that did little to make an impression in the England's first innings lead after they had made 593-8 batting first. The visitors were 13-0 at stumps.

The day had begun badly for the tourists when they lost the captain Graeme Smith in only the sixth over on a cool and cloudy morning Smith departed doubtless disbelieving, to a James Anderson delivery, which kicked from a good length and looped off the shoulder of the bat for an easy catch in the gully. Despite the breakthrough, the new-ball pair Anderson and Ryan Sidebottom were content to play a waiting game - and with Neil McKenzie and the number three Hashim Amla in no hurry either, a temporary stalemate ensued. The introduction of first change Stuart Broad for Sidebottom gave McKenzie his first opportunity to milk runs off his pads.

Amla's short stay was an uncomfortable one, before Broad had him prodding forward and edging a well-directed delivery behind. The prolific Jacques Kallis' only two previous international innings on this ground had curiously both ended in ducks - and with South Africa in need of a major contribution from their middle-order lynchpin, he did not fare significantly better this time either. Kallis became the third of three batsmen to go for a single- figure score when he played away from his body at Sidebottom and edged to first slip - where Andrew Strauss took a fine catch low to his right.

Opener McKenzie fell 10 short of his 50 in unusual circumstances to Monty Panesar in early afternoon.McKenzie had appeared unconcerned about a Panesar delivery which looked to be drifting past his pads, only for the ball to turn alarmingly back down the hill to clip the outside of leg-stump. The gritty left-hander Prince responded to the sticky situation with some compact strokeplay among his eight fours in an 82-ball 50 - sharing an important fifth-wicket stand of 78 with AB De Villiers.

But when the latter fell after tea, to an outstanding diving catch at mid-on by Anderson off Panesar, the job required was far from done. Mark Boucher then edged the first ball of a new Broad spell down on to his stumps. Prince was up against it with only the tail to help him and Panesar bowling into the rough outside the left-hander's off-stump. Prince's solution was one of calculated risk but it was not enough to protect his partner Morne Morkel, Prince's fellow left-hander having no answer to the spin of Panesar as he was bowled off stump.

Prince finally went to a flail and edge behind off Sidebottom for 101. The end came soon afterwards when England turned to Kevin Pietersen's part-time off-spin, with bad light threatening - and the man who can do no wrong struck with only his third ball, Steyn chipping a catch to mid-off to close the innings on 247. * PA Sport