Duminy and Philander lead Proteas’ fightback
A BATTLING half-century from JP Duminy and a Test-best 46 not out from tail-ender Vernon Philander led South Africa’s fightback as they closed on 262/7on the first day of the third and final Test on Thursday.
Play ended early due to bad light and a power cut. Three of the four floodlights were functioning when the players left the field with 14 balls left. Dale Steyn was also unbeaten, on 21.
England must win the match at Lord’s to square the series and retain their No 1 status in the world rankings. South Africa will leapfrog them with a draw or win.
"Things didn’t go our way in the morning, but we are pretty happy with sessions two and three," Duminy told reporters.
"England are more on top than we are but we are happy with the fighting spirit that we showed.
"We (Duminy and Philander) tried to build a partnership as we consider ourselves the engine room in the team, when we lose early wickets. Vernon is batting exceptionally well…. He has once again showed his potential.
"We would like to get to 300 if we can. Anything above that would be a bonus."
England shaded the day because of the placid nature of the Lord’s pitch, which traditionally encourages first-innings totals in excess of 400. Nonetheless, the tourists have posted a competitive score.
Fast bowler Steven Finn wrecked South Africa’s top order with three wickets in seven balls, before they rallied.
"We are very happy where we are after the day’s play," Finn said. "We are a little bit ahead of the game at the moment, with having them seven down.
"We know that Philander can bat," he added. "He was fortunate early on in his innings, but even so we have stuck to our task well. He didn’t get away from us."
Philander came to the crease at number eight with his team 163/6, while Duminy scored 61 before he perished to the third delivery with the new ball in the last hour.
The pair shared a seventh-wicket partnership of 72 until Duminy went to the fourth catch of the day for wicketkeeper Matt Prior, off James Anderson.
Finn ended with 3/68 and Anderson had 3/58.
Philander began fortuitously by edging two boundaries through third man off the edge but settled into his innings in which he had faced just 64 balls by stumps.
South Africa had elected to bat but crashed to 54/4, when captain Graeme Smith (14), fellow opener Alviro Petersen (22), Hashim Amla (13) and Jacques Kallis (3) all departed before lunch.
Smith jabbed at a wide ball from Anderson, who had come around the wicket for the first time, and was caught by Prior — but only after England lodged a successful review of umpire Kumar Dharmasena’s decision.
Finn then claimed Petersen and Amla within four balls. Amla was bowled after Finn cut one down the famous Lord’s slope and through the gate.
The biggest talking point of the morning was the loss of Kallis, who was caught down the leg side by Prior via a deflection off his glove after Dharmasena initially rejected the appeal.