Inspired Proteas battle gamely in exciting draw

Cape Town – It very nearly turned into one for the ages.

But bad light conspired to bring an end to play in the second Test between South Africa and England here yesterday and the game was called a draw.

But it had been an eventful final day. So much so that at one stage there were some quarters who could have been forgiven that we might just see a result and when the players were hauled off the field at Newlands, England were 159/6.

History will tell you that a team that has amassed over 600 runs in their first innings had never lost a Test match and when the morning started with the tourists on 16/0 in their second stint – after the Proteas had declared two short of the required target on 627/7 – you’d have thought they would act out their day and that would be it.

But overheard conditions and the fact that the Proteas attack managed to get the ball to work for them in the morning meant that the visitors had their backs against the wall early and had to get their guard up.

It was as early as the second over of the day as Kagiso Rabada accounted for the English captain, Alastair Cook, as he glanced one down the leg-side and Quinton de Kock obliged with the grab behind the stumps.

An over later and England were suddenly two down as Chris Morris produced another sublime piece of slip fielding as Alex Hales edged behind off Morne Morkel.

Morris would get among the wickets before lunch as he cleaned up Joe Root’s stumps for 29, the batsman was out caught in the slips earlier off Morkel but replays showed the fast bowler was guilty of a no-ball – before Nick Compton became Dane Piedt’s first victim.

That would take the visitors to 87/4 at lunch. Two more wickets would fall in the session following that with Ben Stokes the victim of a clever trap off Piedt and then James Taylor became the off-spinner’s third victim.

The weather then rolled in and that was that. The series still 1-0 in England’s favour.

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