Temba Bavuma hundred for South Africa transcended cricket - Agnew

By Jonathan AgnewBBC cricket correspondent
England's Stuart Broad applauds Temba Bavuma's maiden Test century
Temba Bavuma is playing in his seventh Test match

Temba Bavuma's magnificent unbeaten century for South Africa against England on day four in Cape Town transcended cricket.

I've been very lucky - 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.

Unfortunately it's a reflection of the awful history of this country that you do have to categorise people by race.

They are trying very hard to overcome the legacy of those years so Bavuma, as the first black African to score a century for South Africa, is massively symbolic.

The South African authorities will be hoping his achievement resonates amongst an enormous number of people who might be inspired to take up cricket. It is very, very important.

Bavuma blunts England burst

In only his seventh Test match, Bavuma played superbly well and proved he is worthy as a Test batsman regardless of his skin colour.

He batted absolutely brilliantly and was a breath of fresh air. He attacked when England had taken three wickets in 20 minutes and had a real chance of putting South Africa under pressure.

England led by 180 and only needed four more wickets, but the way Bavuma counter-attacked was inspired.

They bowled too short at him - he is a very short man and is used to playing short-pitched bowling, so that was a mistake from England. His hooking and pulling was outstanding.

Temba Bavuma

Captain Hashim Amla batted for more than seven hours for his double century - it may have been rather eclipsed by Bavuma but it was a special innings.

He gave a number of chances - England let eight or nine of varying degrees of difficulty go in total as they showed the effects of more than 15 hours in the field - but what Amla did under the pressure he was under, both as a batsman and captain, was immense.

He's a very calm, phlegmatic individual who will know if he wants to keep on with the captaincy, but that is not the burning issue any more. He is back in form.

It was a typical Amla innings, with lots of wristy flicks either side of the wicket, and for South Africa to turn the match on its head as they have done is remarkable.

Amla asks England questions

England had been in the field for 211 overs - the longest for them since 1987 - and all those catches had gone down. That's what made Amla decide to put them in again before stumps rather than wait until the morning.

I think he made the right decision. The last thing England openers Alastair Cook and Alex Hales would have wanted was to bat again.

Amla could have waited to get ahead of England, but two runs behind is neither here nor there. Bavuma had got his hundred and the captain wanted to get six overs at them before the close.

South Africa were not able to knock one of the openers over as England got to stumps 18 runs ahead at 16-0, but at least they gave it a go.

Amla has an inexperienced bowling attack, with Chris Morris making his debut and going for 150 runs in the first innings and Kagiso Rabada playing only his fourth match.

You would fancy England to bat out the final day without much trouble but you just don't know - and that's the glorious uncertainty of the game.

Hashim Amla graphic

Test cricket is alive and well

People write off Test cricket far too early these days - there seems to be an agenda out there saying it has a limited lifespan.

Whenever there is some hard work for the bowlers on unresponsive pitches, people start criticising but Test cricket will endure because it produces climaxes and opportunities for teams to turn a match on its head like they have done here.

This match is a brilliant example of why four-day Test cricket, as advocated by ECB chairman Colin Graves last year, would be a mistake.

Tests are five days for a reason - so you can put pressure on the team batting third.

It is not always going along at five runs an over with the ball disappearing into the stands - that's not what Test cricket is. It's a long, evolving game that needs time to develop and that's what we've seen here.

Who on earth would have thought England would be batting to save the game having smashed 629-6 in their first innings? You couldn't really make it up - but that's Test cricket.

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport's Jamie Lillywhite

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