Proteas take heart from stalemate


CAPE TOWN. — The Proteas will take heart from the second Sunfoil test against England which ended in a draw on the fifth and final day at PPC Newlands in Cape Town on Wednesday, but had to face the news that Hashim Amla stood down as the national captain after the test match. “I am stepping down as captain with immediate effect. It was not an easy decision and I had to be true to myself. I am comfortable with my decision and I will continue to give my best. I was very honoured to be offered the opportunity to captain my country,” said Amla in a press conference following the conclusion of play. The pitch was a batting paradise with the first innings combining for a total of 1256 runs for the loss of 13 wickets but the final day saw six wickets fall for 146 runs as England fought to hold on.

The English went to tea with their total on 155 for six and just six overs were possible after the tea break as bad light halted play with England on 159 for six.

“It was not nice to nick off down leg, and sitting in the change-room is not enjoyable as a captain. We have always in a good position to save a game but I would have preferred to have been three down,” said Alastair Cook, the England captain.

Considering that after the second day’s play, the home team were on the back foot, facing a mountain to climb but the manner in which they fought on and finally had England on the ropes shortly after lunch on the final day, speaks wonders of the side’s character and will to erase the nightmare that was 2015.

“We were trying to push for a win but the wicket was a belter. The way Hash and Temba batted was brilliant,” added Cook.

England, who won the toss and elected to bat first, amassed 629 for six declared with Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow smashing themselves into the record books. The pair shared in a world-record stand of 399 for the sixth wicket while Stokes recorded the highest innings for a batsman at No 6, smashing 30 boundaries and 11 sixes before being run out for 258.

Bairstow posted his highest test score ending undefeated on 150 when Alastair Cook (27) signalled the declaration. Alex Hales (60) and Joe Root (50) both contributed with half centuries but not before Kagiso Rabada (29.5-2-175-3) claimed two wickets in two balls either side of tea time on day one to leave the visitors on 167 for four. — AFP.

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