Dramatic finale to day three after South Africa declare an ominous 473 runs in front in the Second Test at Trent Bridge
ALASTAIR COOK survived a heart-stopping scare when he was given out for a golden duck – but narrowly escaped after a TV review.
It provided a dramatic finale to day three of the Investec Second Test as England will need a performance of historic proportions to avoid a crushing defeat.
Cook was struck on the pad by 6ft 6ins fast bowler Morne Morkel and umpire Paul Reiffel raised his finger.
Cook sent the decision upstairs – and was mightily relieved to watch on the giant screen as the ball was predicted to miss the stumps by millimetres.
All-rounder Moeen Ali said: “Cooky is normally very good at judging his reviews. He will be massive for us because he is one player in our team who can bat for very long periods.
“We have some very good batters so, yes, definitely, we can bat for six sessions and save or win the game.”
England finished 1-0 in their second innings and will almost certainly lose. But let’s hope they display some of the skill, patience and adhesion that was lacking in their first innings.
Joe Root and his team spent nearly all day in the field on Sunday as South Africa relentlessly built their lead. It passed 300, 400 and, by the time Faf du Plessis declared, they were a massive 473 runs in front.
over and out
Cricket stars are left in tears as Nottinghamshire Outlaws bowler Luke Fletcher suffers sickening blow to the head on live TV
England vs South Africa LIVE: Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings get hosts through to close chasing 474 to win
It’s just not cricket
Bowler breaks unwanted world record… as he concedes 92 runs in just FOUR balls
TY-PHOON TO HIT INDIA
England ready to launch 93mph T20 dangerman Tymal Mills at India’s star batsmen in hope of salvaging something from tour
It’s just not cricket
What is Duckworth-Lewis, how is it calculated and when does it come into play?
TESTICLE MATCH SPECIAL
Cricket legend Sir Ian Botham bravely reveals impotence treatment after having privates zapped
The likes of Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla and du Plessis showed what is possible on this Trent Bridge pitch with a bit of application. England’s batsmen will do well to take heed.
The fact that England have only scored more than 300 in the fourth innings to win a Test match on three occasions proves the magnitude of their task.
Certainly, Root has been learning the harsh realities of captaincy in this match after the victorious breeze at Lord’s last week.
Root will look to Cook to lead the way because his predecessor as captain is an old-fashioned accumulating sort of batsman.
Most of the rest aim to play shots whenever possible and England batting coach Mark Ramprakash admitted it is difficult to find watchful players in these days of crash, bang, wallop white ball cricket.
Ramps explained: “A high percentage of batters are gravitating towards white ball cricket so there aren’t as many of your tried and tested opening batsmen.
“The ball didn’t move all over the place but, when it does a little, you have to show due care and attention. The players want to be proactive and play their own games.
“It’s not easy to bed in players at this level when the ball nips around with overcast skies. It’s not easy to get them settled and confident.”
Elgar made 80 before failing to keep down a short ball from Ben Stokes and then in the next over James Anderson removed the dangerous Quinton de Kock for just one.
It might have been different if England had asked for a review when Amla nicked a catch behind off Stuart Broad on 25. Replays showed an edge but Root remained mute, continuing his poor record with DRS in this match.
Amla went on to 87 before being lbw to Liam Dawson. Temba Bavuma drove to mid-off and du Plessis was beaten on 63 by one that kept low. South Africa’s last three wickets fell to attempted slogs.
Keep up to date with ALL the transfer news and gossip on our blog