Amla, Bavuma light up Newlands

cape town. — Temba Bavuma became the first black South African to score a test century as South Africa declared their first innings a half an hour before the close, leaving England to battle to 16 without loss at the close of day four, a lead of 18 runs in the second Sunfoil test at PPC Newlands in Cape Town yesterday. “Cricket in Cape Town is a passion and having grown up here makes it even more special,” said Bavuma on scoring his maiden ton after the day’s play.

South Africa declared their first innings on 627 for seven, with Bavuma unbeaten on 102, just two runs shy of England’s first innings total of 629 for six. Bavuma shared in a 7th-wicket stand of 167 with Chris Morris, who posted his maiden test half-century, before being caught by Joe Root at short-cover for a well-played 69.

“We created chances on a flat pitch and we should have taken those other opportunities. We’ve worked incredibly hard and there are no excuses. We know we missed five or six chances,” said Farbrace in reference to the dropped catches during South Africa’s innings.

Bavuma’s innings included 16 boundaries off just 148 balls but the manner in which the little middle-order batsman played his innings was something to behold. His dabs down to the third-man boundary, or the pulls through mid-wicket were great to watch but the classy drives through extra-cover were just stunning.

The soft-spoken middle-order batsman had to endure some tough talk from Ben Stokes, who was clearly seen mouthing off to the youngster. But Bavuma kept his calm and let his bat do the talking.

“He (Stokes) is a tough competitor. He did come hard at me but it was all in the spirit of the game. At times I couldn’t really hear what he was saying but he fired me up to knuckle down! He was the first one to come up to me and congratulate me as we walked off the field,” quipped Bavuma.

“The spirit is fantastic between sides and the relationship between the players is outstanding. Nothing was done that crossed the line and a lot of the players have good friendships. I mean Faf and Jimmy are good friends. I think it was just frustration after spending 200 overs in the field,” said Paul Farbrace, assistant coach of the touring party.

“It was a fantastic innings. He offered us one opportunity but that was it. He played absolutely brilliantly, whether it was off the front or back foot and both sides of pitch,” added Farbrace.

South Africa began the day with their total on 353 for three with captain Hashim Amla, on 157, and Faf du Plessis, on 51, at the crease. The pair had already added 85 runs for the 4th-wicket and pushed on to add another 75 runs in the morning session, as the hosts went to lunch on 428 for three.

Amla and Du Plessis brought up their 100-run partnership, the second of the innings, off 242 balls and also registering their 150-run stand off 378 balls before the lunch break. — AFP.

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