Cricket 17.7.2017 04:32 pm

Ruthless Proteas crush feeble England to level series

Chris Morris struck two vital blows for the Proteas.  Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images.

Chris Morris struck two vital blows for the Proteas. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images.

Faf du Plessis and his troops are right back in the Test series as some relentless bowling and poor batting see them win in four days.

What a difference a week can make.

Seven days ago, the Proteas were lambasted for their pitiful batting in the second innings of the defeat at Lord’s.

On Monday, South Africa’s bowlers were so relentless in Nottingham that they forced England into delivering a similar sad performance with the bat.

As a result, the Proteas won by a massive 340 runs to level the series at 1-all.

The tone was set by the brilliant Vernon Philander, whose suffocating line brought him figures of 3/24 as England were swatted aside for 133.

He castled Keaton Jennings in the second over of the day before he trapped the embattled Gary Ballance in front with a delivery that straightened.

But the key spell was produced by Chris Morris.

The lanky all-rounder struck a critical blow when he bowled the dangerous Joe Root with a magnificent outswinging yorker.

And to make matters worse, a cracking bouncer to Alistair Cook made the former English skipper look helpless as he merely fended the ball down the leg side, where Quinton de Kock held a superb catch.

Cook was the only man to show any sort of resistance with 42 but his dismissal meant the hosts slumped to 79/4 at lunch.

The end came swiftly in the second session though it has to be said that England’s poor judgement also contributed to their collapse.

Jonny Bairstow (16) danced down the track, only to drag Keshav Maharaj’s left-arm spin to mid-wicket before Moeen Ali (21) swept him to square leg.

It almost seemed as if Ali didn’t see that there was a fielder stationed there.

When Ben Stokes charged Philander, only to push the ball tamely back for a caught-and-bowled chance, England’s hopes were gone.

Maharaj finished with 3/42 as Stuart Broad holed out to deep mid-wicket and Duanne Olivier (2/25), who conceded 25 runs in his first three overs, took the last two wickets with the first two deliveries of his new spell.

It was a fitting way to illustrate the Proteas’ ruthlessness but England’s tactics left much to be desired.

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