South Africa v England: Stuart Broad gives tourists edge

By James GheerbrantBBC Sport
Stuart Broad celebrates a wicket
Stuart Broad has now dismissed AB De Villiers nine times in 16 Test innings - more than any other bowler
First Test, Durban, day two
England 303: Compton 85, Taylor 70; Steyn 4-70, Morkel 4-76
South Africa 137-4: Elgar 67*, De Villiers 49; Broad 3-16
South Africa trail by 166 runs

Stuart Broad took 3-16 to give England the edge on the second day of the first Test against South Africa.

Bowling with superb skill and control, Broad removed Stiaan van Zyl, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers as South Africa struggled to 137-4, trailing England by 166.

Earlier, England stuttered from 179-4 overnight to 303 all out.

Nick Compton fell 15 runs short of a comeback century as Morne Morkel took four wickets in the morning session.

England are in a strong position to push for only a second win in 16 away Tests, although a battling unbeaten 67 from opener Dean Elgar will give South Africa hope of achieving parity in the first innings.

But the tourists will return half an hour earlier than scheduled at 07:30 GMT on Monday - with further overs lost on day two after a rain-affected first day - knowing that quick wickets will expose the South African tail-enders.

Broad steps up as South Africa subside

Test wickets
Only India's Ravichandran Ashwin has taken more Test wickets than Stuart Broad this year

In the absence of England's usual senior bowler James Anderson, Broad had to step up to the mark - and just as in his match-winning spell against Australia at Trent Bridge, he thrived on the responsibility.

England need early wickets - Broad

Recalled opener Van Zyl lasted just two balls before he left a delivery that seamed in sharply and rocked back his off stump.

Captain Amla - enduring the worst slump of his illustrious career with no fifties in his past 10 innings - edged a superb delivery with a hint of away-movement to leave the hosts 14-2.

De Villiers led South Africa's recovery, putting on 86 with the gritty Elgar, but fell one ball short of his half-century when Broad induced him to poke a leg-cutter through to Jonny Bairstow.

That brought the out-of-form Faf du Plessis to the crease, and he managed just two runs from 19 deliveries before he missed a sharply turning delivery from Moeen Ali and was bowled.

Could it have been better?

England's optimism will be tempered by the knowledge that they could be in an even better position if several key moments had gone their way.

Amla was twice reprieved - first when he appeared to get a faint edge behind off Broad having scored one but England declined to review, then when Bairstow dropped a much thicker edge off Chris Woakes when he had added one more run.

De Villiers was on 12 when he gloved a back-of-a-length ball from Steven Finn to Ben Stokes at gully, but the third umpire ruled that the catch had not carried despite the fielder appearing to get his fingers underneath the ball.

And - perhaps most crucially - Elgar was given a life on 58 when Stokes hit him on the pad and England again spurned a review. Had they used one, the not-out decision would have been overturned.

"It's something we have to sharpen up on, but Alastair Cook thought the batsman hit it," said Broad afterwards. "We need to work on our communication, which is something [former wicketkeeper] Matt Prior was good at."

Compton dismissal triggers England collapse

Nick Compton
Nick Compton was dismissed trying to pull this ball from Morne Morkel

Earlier, resuming on 179-4, England lost an early wicket when Stokes was caught at gully trying to pull Morkel for 21 - continuing a poor run with the bat which has seen him make just 129 runs from his last 12 innings at an average of 10.75.

Compton, unbeaten on 63 overnight, played slowly but with commendable application to hold the innings together, and he and Bairstow briefly steadied the tourists with a stand of 51.

But Compton's dismissal - caught behind pulling Morkel - triggered a familiar collapse as England lost four wickets for 20 runs in the space of 29 balls.

Morkel - outshining the other South African bowlers with his superior pace and bounce - had Moeen caught behind for a duck and then removed Woakes lbw first ball.

Bairstow - still searching for his maiden Test century - then fenced Kyle Abbott to second slip, and it was left to Broad and Finn to guide England towards a respectable total with a counter-attacking last-wicket partnership of 36.

Stats of the day

  • South Africa still do not have a single century partnership in Test cricket this year and this is their eighth match.
  • Dale Steyn took his 50th Test wicket against England. He has also passed that landmark against Australia, India and New Zealand.
  • Faf du Plessis is averaging 7.75 in his last five Tests, with a top score of 39.
  • Nick Compton's 85 lasted 236 balls and 383 minutes (six hours, 23 minutes).

What the players said

England's Stuart Broad: "It was great to get us up to 300. We'd have liked a few more but we don't know how this wicket is going to play.

"Moeen got a few balls to turn and our leg-cutters gripped so if the pitch continues to deteriorate batting could get harder on days four and five.

What the pundits said

Jonny Bairstow
Bairstow scored 41 from 56 balls but was the ninth England wicket to fall

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special: "It's a slow, low pitch with a bit of nibble for the bowlers.

"People are having to work very hard for their runs. England did well this morning. Bairstow was positive and scored quite quickly and then Broad played some shots to get England to a working total on this surface.

"South Africa are a wobbly batting side and their confidence is down after their tour of India. Broad bowled beautifully with a great length and line and he got the two big fish of Amla and De Villiers."