South Africa v England: Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma punish tired tourists
|Second Test, Cape Town (day four)|
|England 629-6 dec & 16-0|
|South Africa 627-7 dec: Amla 201, Bavuma 102*, De Villiers 88, Du Plessis 86|
|England lead by 18 runs|
A double hundred from Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma's maiden Test century saw South Africa continue to frustrate England in Cape Town.
Captain Amla finally departed for 201, while Bavuma made an unbeaten 102 as the Proteas declared on 627-7, two short of England's first-innings total.
Faf du Plessis hit 86, while Chris Morris contributed 69 after the hosts lost three wickets for 10 runs.
England reached 16-0 at the close, leading by 18.
Openers Alastair Cook and Alex Hales successfully negotiated a testing six overs in the final half hour.
A draw seems the most likely outcome on a flat Newlands wicket but South Africa will be looking to dismiss the tourists cheaply on day five to set up an unlikely triumph and square the four-match series.
In reaching 100 off 141 balls, Bavuma also became the first black African to score a Test century for South Africa as the hosts' middle order overcame their struggles in the first Test to make England toil.
England's ills and spills
England squandered numerous chances to exert control and potentially set up victory by dropping eight catches in South Africa's innings, which contributed to them spending 211 overs in the field.
England's missed chances:
- AB de Villiers on five - dropped by Joe Root at second slip off James Anderson - the easiest chance
- Hashim Amla on 76 - dropped by James Anderson at slip off Joe Root - went quickly but catchable for a usually solid fielder
- Amla on 120 - dropped by Nick Compton at backward point off Steven Finn - a diving effort to his left
- Faf du Plessis on 61 - dropped by Anderson at slip off Moeen Ali - hurried on to him and appeared to palm the ball away
- Amla on 201 - dropped by James Taylor off Stuart Broad - a tough, low chance at short leg
- Chris Morris on 22 - dropped by Finn off his own bowling - a sharp chance in his follow-through which slipped through his fingers
- Temba Bavuma on 77 - dropped by Jonny Bairstow off Broad - went low to the wicketkeeper's right
- Morris on 57 - dropped by Root off Broad - fielding at a close second slip and the edge flew out of his right hand
Root was also culpable for failing to pick up a mistimed drive with Amla on 197, initially running in the wrong direction and failing to recover his ground.
The calm before the storm
Despite the reprieves handed to both batsmen, Amla and Du Plessis showed tremendous resistance in the morning session to chip away at the overnight deficit of 276, with Amla reaching his fourth Test double century off 461 balls.
Having batted for almost 12 hours, Amla eventually fell to a delivery from Broad that nipped back slightly to hit the top of leg stump via inside edge.
Du Plessis soon followed, edging James Anderson to Ben Stokes at third slip, before Quinton de Kock fell into England's trap by guiding a Broad short ball to Anderson at backward square-leg.
Still trailing by 180 at 449-6, South Africa's position looked precarious but Bavuma and Morris counter-attacked fluently as the new ball lost its potency and the England attack their discipline.
Bavuma, in particular, unfurled some exquisite strokes, equally comfortable driving through the covers or rolling his wrists on the pull.
His 167-run stand with Morris - a South Africa record for the seventh wicket - all but erased England's advantage and ended only when Morris drove Finn to short extra-cover.
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew:
Bavuma's magnificent unbeaten century transcended cricket.
I have followed South Africa and witnessed their first tour after they came back into world cricket in 1991 following the wilderness years of apartheid.
I watched their first Test match back - their first in the West Indies - which was very significant, but the hundred by 25-year-old Bavuma is absolutely up there.
Bavuma, as the first black African to score a century for South Africa, is massively symbolic.
'It's madness' - what they said
Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special: "If England had caught most of those chances they would have won the match.
"As a coach, sometimes say nothing. They're not bad catchers but they've had a bad day at the office - a really bad day. It's madness."
Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan: "Sometimes when you draw you think who has got the better of the draw.
"The way South Africa have fought back, with all their engine room back in the runs, it should serve them well going into the rest of the series."
The key stats from day four
- Amla's double century is the the third slowest in Test history in terms of time at 682 minutes
- England bowled 11 wides, the most they have conceded in a Test innings
- Alongside Amla, the only other players to bat for more than 700 minutes twice in a career are Brian Lara and Alastair Cook
- South Africa recorded three 150-plus partnerships in a Test for the first time - and all in one innings