All-rounder Ben Stokes bowled a match-winning spell of fast bowling to power England to a thrilling victory against South Africa in the last hour of the day five of the second Test on Tuesday. Stokes picked up three late wickets as England registered a comprehensive 189-run win at the picturesque Newlands Stadium, Cape Town.
Courtesy the win, England levelled the four-match series 1-1. South Africa began the fourth innings on day four needing to bat the best part of five sessions to maintain their series lead. The hosts dragged the game deep into the final session before England finally broke down their resistance.
Some quality and all-round bowling effort by the visitors helped England to gun down the hosts, who were chasing a 438-run target, at 248 runs.
Stokes, who missed out on his hat-trick, impressed everyone in both the departments of the game after returning with figures of 3/35 after some great batting performances in first and second innings. Joe Denly and James Anderson bagged a couple of wickets each.
Apart from them, Stuart Broad, Dominic Bess and Sam Curran scalped a wicket each even as South Africa opener Pieter Malan and stumper Quinton de Kock tried to hold the fort with their valiant 84 and 50-run contributions.
At one point, it seemed the match will end in a draw as the hosts were cruising comfortably at 171/5 with Rassie van der Dussen (17) and de Kock giving a tough time to the England bowlers.
However, Denly came up with a much-needed breakthrough to send back a well-settled de Kock. Der Dussen also did not last long, becoming a victim of Broad’s delivery.
Later, Stokes accounted for the wickets of Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje in two successive deliveries. The star all-rounder however, failed to register a hat-trick but went on to put the final nail in their coffin as he packed back Vernon Philander to end the South African innings.
For his explosive and match-winning bowling effort, Stokes was adjudged Man Of The Match. He had also scored 72 off 47 runs in the second innings and 47 off 77 balls in the first essay to swell England’s score.
Earlier, South Africa had won the first Test in Centurion by 107 runs. Both the sides will now square-off in the third Test, starting January 16 at St George’s Park, Port Elizabeth.
Brief scores: England 269 and 391/8 (decl.) beat South Africa 223 and 248-all out (Pieter Malan 84, Quinton de Kock 50; Ben Stokes 3/35) by 189 runs