England rattles South Africa in 1st test

December 27, 2015

DURBAN, South Africa (AP) England rattled South Africa in the first test on Sunday with Stuart Broad's two wickets putting the top-ranked team in deep trouble before it recovered to 55-2 in its first innings.

South Africa was still 248 runs behind England's first-innings total of 303, with opener Stiaan van Zyl and captain Hashim Amla removed by Broad, who had 2-8.

England's belief that the Proteas might be vulnerable after a comprehensive recent series loss in India appeared to ring true on the second day in Durban when they were 14-2.

Broad bowled Van Zyl for a duck second ball of the innings when the opener left a delivery that clipped his stumps. Amla, having already been dropped by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, edged behind on seven and was caught this time by Bairstow.

Dean Elgar and AB de Villiers had the task of rebuilding South Africa's faltering first innings and had partly dragged their team out of trouble with their unbroken 41-run stand. De Villiers was 26 not out and Elgar 22 not out.

But De Villiers - England's second prize target among the South African batsmen after Amla - had a reprieve after sending a low catch to Ben Stokes in the gully. He was given not out when the TV umpire decided the ball hadn't carried, although Stokes claimed the catch was good.

England was earlier all out for 303 in its first innings as South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel took four wickets in the morning session, including two in two balls. That score was put into context and could turn out to be a solid total yet given South Africa's struggles.

Nick Compton frustrated South Africa - his country of birth - for more than six hours over the first two days to top score for England with 85 off 236 balls. Bairstow and Broad also made important contributions with the bat, with Bairstow hitting 41 and Broad making 32 not out and dominating a 36-run last-wicket partnership with Steven Finn that took the English past 300. England had been 12-2 on the first morning, so the fightback to 303 was significant.

While Morkel was South Africa's best bowler on Sunday with his 4-76, Dale Steyn ended the innings with the dismissal of Finn to collect 4-70.

Morkel had allrounder Moeen Ali caught behind and trapped Chris Woakes lbw next ball to set up his hat-trick chance. His delivery fizzed just past the outside edge of Broad's bat.

That didn't deter Broad from playing attacking shots and he hit five fours at the end of England's innings before making an even more telling early contribution with his bowling.