South Africa v England: Temba Bavuma relieved at first Test century

Temba Bavuma
Temba Bavuma salutes his native Cape Town crowd after reaching his century

South Africa batsman Temba Bavuma says his historic maiden Test century has justified his place at international level after a tough year.

Bavuma, 25, became the first black African to score a Test hundred for South Africa as he hit an unbeaten 102 against England in Cape Town.

Hashim Amla scored a double century as the hosts declared on 627-7, with England ending day four 18 runs ahead.

"I'm full of emotion, relief and I'm very satisfied," said Bavuma.

Speaking to BBC Test Match Special, he added: "Luckily with the team environment we have it wasn't all about the runs I scored that enabled me to have a sense of belonging.

"But I think for myself it really gives me that boost of confidence to say that I can truly play at this level."

'Stokes sledging helped me focus'

Ben Stokes of England congratulates Temba Bavuma of South Africa for his innings of 102 not out
England assistant coach Paul Farbrace said Ben Stokes was the first to congratulate Temba Bavuma on his innings

England all-rounder Ben Stokes appeared to be caught on television coverageexternal-link sledging Bavuma early in the South African's innings.

Bavuma told a post-match news conference that he respected "tough competitor" Stokes for congratulating him after the game on reaching his milestone.

"He did come hard, but everything was in the spirit of the game," he said.

"Some of things he said I couldn't really hear him, but the more he kept on speaking, it fired me a bit more to knuckle down and focus on the task in hand."

'A special moment'

Prior to this match, Bavuma had amassed just 145 runs at an average of 20.71 in six Tests since making his debut against West Indies in December 2014.

Arriving at the crease under pressure as the Proteas lost three wickets for 10 runs after lunch, the diminutive batsman played with impressive fluency, driving through the covers and pulling anything short to the boundary.

Bavuma, born in the Langa township in Cape Town, raced to his half century off just 52 balls before reaching three figures late in the day in front of an elated home crowd.

Bavuma wagon wheel
Temba Bavuma was particularly strong just in front and behind square of the wicket

"There was a lot of noise and I think people were probably just as jubilated or as satisfied as I was," he added.

"My parents were watching and I'm sure it was also a special moment for them. I had a couple of friends that kept making noise, so I think the moment was greatly shared by the people as well as myself.

"Our mindset was just to bat time, try to occupy most of the day and luckily we got into a position where we were able to shift pressure on to England.

"Unfortunately we didn't get that wicket that we wanted late on but on Wednesday we hope to get a couple of wickets and get the English guys scrambling out there."

Catching practice for England

Steven Finn
England bowler Steven Finn drops a sharp caught-and-bowled chance off South Africa's Chris Morris

The tourists dropped eight catches of varying difficulty across South Africa's marathon 211-over innings, including Bavuma on 77 when wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow failed to claim an edge behind low to his right.

England assistant coach Paul Farbrace admits those mistakes have probably cost his side victory on a flat wicket but hopes they can "send out a statement" for the rest of the series on the final day on Wednesday.

"We didn't expect to be in this position on day four and honestly if we'd taken our chances through the two days then we wouldn't be in this position," he added.

"Our bowlers have created great opportunities, which on a flat pitch is all you can do - one or two were half-chances and that's tough but one or two others we should've caught and we're disappointed we haven't.

"You don't want to highlight it to the extent you're saying 'don't drop catches' to them because obviously any tension in the body makes it harder so it's a case of lots of repetitive catching and working incredibly hard.

"I'm sure our bowlers in the ice bath after the day will say it's a flat wicket but it's not it's not a terrible pitch for Test match cricket by any means because chances have been created - we've shown that if you get the ball in the right place there has been a little bit there."

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