Kent v South Africans, 1st day, Canterbury July 13, 2012

Tahir's SA best rounds up Kent


South Africans 31 for 1 trail Kent 210 (Powell 48*, Tahir 4-31) by 179 runs

The South African bowlers took six wickets for 64 runs after tea to dismiss Kent for a moderate total on a placid pitch. Imran Tahir cleaned up the tail to record his best figures for his adoptive country. Morne Morkel was the other standout bowler of the day and showed massive improvement from his outing in Taunton while using the short ball to good effect.

After a Kent opening stand of 81 defied the South African attack for 107 minutes in the morning session, only Mike Powell's 48 offered any further resistance. The rest of the line-up was undone by bounce from Morkel and flight from Tahir. In reply, Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen looked set to usher the South Africans safely to the close but Smith was caught behind after playing himself in carefully and starting to settle.

The Kent opening pair, Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Northeast, started confidently. Although Morkel threatened with his bouncer, he occasionally overpitched and both batsmen were quick to take advantage. The duo brought up 50 inside 14 overs, with 32 runs in boundaries.

The first time either of them played and missed was in the 17th over, when Bell-Drummond attempted to drive against Morkel. Steyn caused them further problems when he was brought back on. He appealed for a catch at slip off Northeast but only Steyn and Smith, who was the fielder, seemed interested. In the next over, Northeast dabbed at one and was caught Smith, successfully on that occasion.

Bell-Drummond went into lunch on 42 and did not add to his score. In the first over after the break, he was caught behind off Morkel, giving AB de Villiers his first victim in his role as wicket-keeper in this series. Vernon Philander removed a scratchy looking Ben Harmison lbw, with a delivery that pitched on middle and off and seemed to be hitting. Morkel got rid of Alex Blake's the same way after a 25-minute rain delay.

Smith gave the ball to JP Duminy immediately after tea, a move that seemed to be a stop-gap but paid dividends. Jacques Kallis took a sharp catch to his left at slip to give Duminy the wicket of Sam Billings. Just as Tahir seemed fated to go another innings without much to show for it, Kallis changed that. He backpedalled to take a catch off a sweep from Matt Coles which opened the door for Tahir.

He went on to bowl Adam Riley and Ivan Thomas, the first with a googly, the second a legbreak and grew in confidence with each success. Charlie Shreck made Tahir the top wicket-taker for the South Africans when he charged down the pitch and lofted him to mid-on. Smith ran from mid-off to complete the catch.

Smith and Petersen had to see off 13 overs to the close of play but Smith fell two overs from the close. He was caught behind playing away from his body off Shreck, leaving Hashim Amla to partner Alviro Petersen to the end of the first day.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • theo on July 14, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    @Terry Wise... agree, cant see how Albie is a direct replacement.... UNLESS, SA plan on retaining AB as keeper for the series, and give the #7 spot to an 'allrounder' role... which Albie can do. I still remember the last test Albie played.. against Aus.. He and AB single handedly DESTROYED the Aus attack.. and ended Bryce McGain's career!!!!!! it was one the most destructive session of test cricket I have ever witnessed!!!!!

  • John on July 14, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    Good to see Bell-Drummond spending some time in the middle facing world class bowlers. This will do him a world of good going into the U19 WC.

  • Yashasvi on July 14, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    @PureTom: Agree with ya 100% bud. I don't see any long-term benefits with AB keeping for us in tests, just too much burden on him. He can be our back-up keeper, but thats bout it

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    Albie Morkel to replace De Lange. Surely the Safers have someone better? Already conceding the test series and looking to ODI's methings.

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2012, 0:10 GMT

    landl47 If you want to compare averages then lets do it fairly: The English top 7 have a combined average of 45.04. The South Africans have a combined average of 44.68. So the difference is 0.36. Even though theres 3 players in the SA squad with sub 40 averages theres still little difference between the two. Says more about Englands frail batting than anything else.

  • Dummy4 on July 13, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    Who are you people advocating that a team should go into a Test match in England without a front-line spinner? What planet have you been on for the past century and a half? It'd be suicide not to play Tahir. He's a fantastic legspinner. I don't understand the "they're just tailenders" critique, either. Someone needs to mop up the tail. This is particularly true for South Africa - we've had problems finishing off the tail for years now. If anything, the fact that Tahir specializes in knocking over tailenders just makes him *more* valuable to the cause. Get it together, folks.

  • Earl on July 13, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    Morne will be a hand full for England if he can find his rhythm quickly.His height and the way he is able to extract bounce will unsettle the likes of Strauss, Bell,Cook and the middle order will be vulnerable if the openers are removed early.English batsmen are not good players of the ball in their rib cage area.

  • Anupam on July 13, 2012, 17:47 GMT

    ok tahir oicks 4 wickets but they all are taienders. add one more pace bowler in the African Deadly Barrage.

  • Muhtasim on July 13, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    woah!!! 4 wickets as a spinner, Way to go Tahir

  • Anupam on July 13, 2012, 13:14 GMT

    i think SA has to go for 4 pace attack. on england's pitch if the world class spinner swann is ineffective then what about tahir? rudolph, duminy can handle the spin department or an allrounder should join like der merve or ontong.

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