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England win thriller at Cape Town



England prevailed in a remarkable test, (proving that 5 day tests work, ICC), as they beat South Africa with less than 10 overs remaining on the final day.


England won the toss, and unlike at Centurion, opted to bat, and posted a middling 269, Ollie Pope the only man to pass 50, with 61*. Stokes made 47, but England were left mildly unsatisfied.


South Africa's new opener, Pieter Malan survived just 17 balls before nicking off to Broad, the Notts bowler also dismissing Hamza soon after leaving the score a wobbly 38-2. After Anderson dismissed du Plessis for 1 with a beauty, SA were tottering at 40-3. But a steady partnership from the impressive Rassie Van Der Dussen and Dean Elgar rescued SA to 157-3, before Elgar fell 12 short of a century, playing a hideous pull of Dom Bess. Then came a collapse, the last 7 wickets falling for 66 as SA made just 223.


Crawley played some attractive shots before Rabada snared him for 25, but Sibley and Denly fought extremely hard, both of them grafting away. After surviving 110 deliveries, Denly got a brute of a bouncer from Anrich Nortje, and was caught at fine leg. Root and Sibley batted excellently, before Root fell, yet again in the 60s, as he nicked to slip off the impressive Pretorius. Bess came in as nightwatchman, and completed a pair, but did his job, protecting Stokes until the start of day. Sibley was still there battling hard as he reached 85, off 222 balls. Stokes came out and looked imperious, striking a fantastic 72 off a mere 47 balls, striking Maharaj for 2 sixes. His reverse sweep off Pretorious was arguably the shot of the game, and came just after whacking him for 6 down the ground. Sibley then reached a sublime century, crawling to it off 270 balls, as he got there with a sweep off the spinner, Maharaj. His first hundred, and by the looks of things, one of many. England chased quick runs thereafter, and ended on 391-8d with a lead of 437, and 4 1/2 sessions to bowl SA out. Sibley ended not out on 133, from 312 deliveries


The openers started well, Malan and Elgar putting on 71 in 29 overs, before Denly took his first wicket for England, dismissing Elgar for 34. He'd had him on edge since he'd started bowling, and not many would have put him down to take the first wicket.

Stokes had Hamza on tenterhooks, the 24 year old limping once again to 18. After Maharaj came and went, du Plessis played horror shot to square leg, off a delighted Bess. After batting for 107 balls, de Kock produced another howler, pulling a Denly long hop to Crawley who took a stunning catch above his head. The South Africans collapsed from there, as Stokes cleaned up the tail, taking 3-35 from 23.4 overs, as England pulled off an exciting victory, with 9 overs remaining


MOM: Ben Stokes, 47(77) and 72(47), and 0-34 and 3-35

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