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1st Test: S Africa reduce England to 116/6 before rain ends play on Day 1

At day’s end on Day 1, England had Ollie Pope (61 not out) and Stuart Broad (0 not out) at the crease.

SNS |

On the first day of the first Test, here on Wednesday, South Africa’s fast bowlers took advantage of the movement available at Lord’s to reduce England to 116/6 before torrential downpours interrupted play.

At day’s end on Day 1, England had Ollie Pope (61 not out) and Stuart Broad (0 not out) at the crease.

Under cloudy skies at Lord’s, Proteas captain Dean Elgar elected to bowl first and launched a four-pronged pace attack, lead by Kagiso Rabada, who made his comeback from injury.

Rabada had the initiative early on by moving the ball around to restrain England’s starters. The first victim was Alex Lees, who was out for five after nicking Rabada through to the wicketkeeper. Soon after, as Rabada made another strike, his partner, Zak Crawley, followed him.

When Aiden Markram was given a straightforward opportunity in the slip cordon by Crawley, the bowler this time found the edge of the right-hander. After that, Marco Jansen developed an incredible swing, and one of them—a quick inswinger—had Joe Root pinned in front.

Anrich Nortje sent Jonny Bairstow, England’s hitter of the summer, back on his way with one that angled in to beat Bairstow’s bat and take out the stumps after two pricey overs, giving South Africa complete control of the situation with Root gone.

Pope was the best English batsman on display, playing both front and back foot with ease and utilising South Africa’s quicks to his advantage to get a magnificent half-century. Prior to Nortje’s second strike, England appeared to be back in the game after captain Ben Stokes moved up to provide Pope some company.

On the cusp of lunch, Stokes edged one to the third slip to leave for 20 and left England at 100/5. After lunch, Nortje made matters worse for England by nagging someone to clean up Ben Foakes. With the kill in his 13th Test, Nortje reached the milestone of 50 Test wickets.

However, rain hindered South Africa’s excellent bowling performance. As the day’s chances of play continued to dwindle, what had at first appeared to be a light drizzle quickly developed into a torrential downpour, and eventually the umpires decided to take the players off the field.

(Inputs from IANS)