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England in South Africa: Tourists secure thrilling second Test victory

SportsEngland in South Africa: Tourists secure thrilling second Test victory

Ben Stokes claimed a superb 3-35 to take England to victory at Cape Town
Second Test, Newlands, Cape Town (day five of five):
England 269 & 391-8 dec: Sibley 133*, Stokes 72, Root 61
South Africa 223 & 248: Malan 84, De Kock 50; Stokes 3-35
England win by 189 runs; Series level at 1-1

England forced a dramatic 189-run victory over South Africa late on day five of the second Test in Cape Town to level the series at 1-1.

With the tourists still needing three wickets in the final hour, man of the match Ben Stokes claimed them all to cap a stunning all-round performance.

He removed Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje in consecutive balls before dismissing Vernon Philander to secure the win with just 8.2 overs remaining in the match.

The Proteas had looked to be grinding their way to a draw, with opener Pieter Malan making a superb 84 off 288 balls, before Rassie van der Dussen and Quinton de Kock resisted for 33.5 overs.

England’s attack was also limited with all-time highest Test wicket-taker James Anderson missing most of the last two sessions because of injury.

But De Kock (50) and Van der Dussen (17) made mistakes to fall in strange fashion, the wicketkeeper slapping a long hop from Joe Denly to mid-wicket and the latter flicking Stuart Broad to leg gully.

England’s chance of victory was boosted but they still needed Stokes to seize it, the all-rounder finding seam movement and bounce in a devastating spell to secure the tourists first win at Newlands since 1957.

The third Test of the four-match series starts in Port Elizabeth on 16 January.

Improved England square the series

England were comfortably beaten by 107 runs in the first Test and failed to capitalise on a strong position in the first innings here, needing Ollie Pope’s enterprising 61 not out to at least post a competitive total.

Yet the tourists were much improved from that point on, putting in comfortably their best bowling performance of the winter to dismiss South Africa for 223 and claim a 46-run first-innings lead.

The top order then batted with the patience that has been lacking in recent years, with opener Dom Sibley compiling a sublime 133 not out, to lay a platform that allowed Stokes to blast a magnificent 72 off 47 balls and set up the declaration.

England may have had the best part of five sessions to bowl South Africa out, but the pitch had slowed and flattened out and the obdurate hosts had the likes of Faf du Plessis and Philander, who have experience of saving matches in similar situations.

Joe Root was also unable to call on James Anderson for much of the day, England’s all-time highest Test wicket-taker struggling with an injury and only able to ball one over in the second session and two after tea.

So to force victory in this fashion was hugely encouraging and gives head coach Chris Silverwood a welcome first win of his tenure.

More to follow.

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