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Plays of the Day from the final day of the second Test between England and South Africa at Headingley
George Dobell and Firdose Moonda at Headingley
August 6, 2012
Wicket of the Day
For the second time in the match, Kevin Pietersen struck with just his second delivery. His part-time offbreaks were, in the absence of Graeme Swann, the only spin option available to England's captain, Andrew Strauss, but Pietersen soon showed what might have been had England selected a more balanced side by extracting extravagant turn from the pitch and beating Jacques Rudolph's forward press. It was another reminder, if any were required, about the folly of omitting Swann from the team. To rub salt in the wound, Pietersen finished with 3 for 52 - his best Test figures - both highlighting his worth to the England management and their selectorial mistake. It is also worth noting that, by scoring a century and taking four wickets in the Test, Pietersen achieved something that Andrew Flintoff never managed.
Resuscitation of the Day
South Africa were ambling to safety and the Headingley Test was all but dead when Stuart Broad charged up the defibrillators. He had AB de Villiers out lbw and, with no reviews left, de Villiers could not challenge the on-field decision although replays showed it was missing leg by some distance. Broad's next ball had no ambiguity about it. JP Duminy did a comical half waltz with his feet and was trapped low on the pad. With two wickets in two balls and a chance to repeat the heroics he performed against India last year, Broad had brought the match to life. He did not get a hat-trick but earned his five-for.
While most attention focused on the opening partnership for England in their second innings - Pietersen being promoted to open with Alastair Cook in an obvious show of positivity - the opening bowling partnership was just as interesting. South Africa persisted with Morne Morkel despite the fact that Andrew Strauss was not there to bowl at.
Telling statistic of the Day
When Graeme Smith and Rudolph took their opening partnership to 100, it became the first time since the Timeless Test in Durban of 1939 that England had conceded a century opening partnership in both innings of the same Test. For an attack that came into the series with a reputation as one of the world's best, it is not a statistic the England bowlers will savour.
Surprising statistic of the Day
When Strauss scored his sixth run, he reached 7,000 in his 176th Test innings. That means he reached the milestone quicker than quicker than Shivnarine Chanderpaul (177 innings), VVS Laxman (181 innings), Saurav Ganguly (183 innings), Mark Waugh (183 innings) and Desmond Haynes (190 innings).
Drop of the Day
If England were to have any chance of winning this game, they had to take every chance offered. Instead a series of edges from Rudolph, in particular, dropped agonisingly short or flew wide of the fielders and, when Smith was on 44, he was missed by James Anderson at second slip off Tim Bresnan. Even worse was the drop - also by Anderson - of De Villiers off Pietersen when the batsman had 23: a relatively simple chance that Anderson spurned at slip. It seemed, at the time, as though the chances came too late to make any difference to the result but, bearing in mind the run chase finally set England, it may have made all the difference. It was another example of England's increasingly fallible slip fielding of recent months.
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