England hold on for draw against South Africa

Cricket Second Test : Visitors suffer collapse before bad light comes to their rescue

England hold on for draw against South Africa

 England were given a scare before the second Test against South Africa ended in a draw on the fifth and final day at Newlands on Wednesday.

On what had been expected to be a low-key day after high scoring in the first innings, England lost six second innings wickets by mid-afternoon, when they held a precarious lead of 118.

Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali negotiated the rest of the afternoon and England were on 159 for six when play was called off for bad light 15 minutes after tea and abandoned 45 minutes later.

England will take a one-lead into the third Test of the four-match series, starting in Johannesburg on January 14 but South Africa will take heart from a strong fightback with both bat and ball after taking a battering in England’s first innings. Inspired by Ben Stokes’ 258, England made 629 for six declared but South Africa batted solidly to reply with 627 declared, led by captain Hashim Amla’s 201.

The flurry of wickets on Wednesday was in complete contrast to the first four days when both teams scored more than 600 runs in their first innings and 1272 runs were scored for the loss of only 13 wickets.

After four days of unrelenting sunshine, the sky was partly overcast on Wednesday.
The fast bowlers, led by Morne Morkel, gained some movement, while off-spinner Dane Piedt obtained some turn from a pitch which had previously offered no assistance to the bowlers.

Piedt was the most successful bowler, taking three for 38.
Alastair Cook and Alex Hales fell within the first three overs of the day, both without adding to their overnight scores of eight and five respectively, while Joe Root was bowled just before the mid-morning drinks break. Nick Compton fell shortly before lunch.  Cook was caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock off Kagiso Rabada and Hales fell to an outstanding catch by Chris Morris at third slip, diving low to his right, off Morne Morkel.

Root made 29 off 29 balls before he was bowled by Morris’ first ball of the innings, a full delivery which swung late to take out his off stump. Root had an escape on 17 when he edged a catch to AB de Villiers at second slip off Morkel, only for a television review to show it was a no-ball.

Amla steps down as SA skipper

Hashim Amla said on Wednesday he was stepping aside as South Africa's cricket Test captain with immediate effect, a day after a double century rescued his country from possible defeat in the second Test against England.

The 32-year-old made the surprise announcement just minutes after the Test at Newlands ended in a draw and after Amla had led a fight back to haul his team from a precarious position.

AB de Villiers will take over as captain for the last two Tests against England.
"Naturally this decision is not an easy one but the more I think about it the more I believe I can be of greater value to the Proteas as a fully focused batsman and senior player at this time or rebuilding our team,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

score board

England (I Innings): 629-6 decl
South Africa (I Innings): 627-7 decl
England (II Innings O/n: 16-0)
Cook c De Kock b Rabada    8
Hales c Morris b Morkel    5
Compton c Du Plessis b Piedt    15
Root b Morris    29
Taylor c Bavuma b Piedt    27
Stokes c Morkel b Piedt    26
Bairstow (not out)    30
Ali (not out)    10
Extras (LB-4, NB-5)    9
Total (6 wkts, 59 overs)    159
Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-19, 3-55, 4-85, 5-115, 6-116.
Bowling: Morkel 16-7-26-1, Rabada 13-2-57-1, Morris 12-4-24-1, Piedt 18-8-38-3, Elgar 6-2-10-0.

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