England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 1st day August 16, 2012

England on top despite Duminy rally


South Africa 262 for 7 (Duminy 61, Philander 46*) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England put the brouhaha with Kevin Pietersen behind them, temporarily at least, with the third Test initially taking shape in their favour at Lord's as they fought for the series-levelling victory that they need to prevent South Africa seizing their position as the No 1-ranked Test side in the world.

England's captain, Andrew Strauss, whose statistical achievement in reaching his 100th Test had been largely submerged by the daily Pietersen soap opera, found comfort the moment that he donned his whites and took to the field again in a Lord's milieu that gives him a powerful sense of belonging. He was even caught laughing before the start of play with his coach, Andy Flower, and in recent days that has been a novelty.

This was not an England resurgence, but it was an England recovery of sorts, in which James Anderson led ther way on a day offering encouraging degrees of swing. South Africa lost half their side for 105, but they resisted gamely thereafter and Vernon Philander, whose reputation as an allrounder had previously permeated only South African domestic cricket, will resume the second day only four runs short of his maiden Test half-century. The day finished 14 balls early because of a floodlight failure - extensive enough for Lord's to be deemed innocent.

Were England eventually to succeed at Lord's, the rush to victory would be accompanied by an even greater rush to conclusions. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Pietersen rumpus, England's pre-match assertions of the team ethic and the need for unity in his absence had an immediate effect. For the first time in the series, England had purpose in the field.

That they prospered, though, owed much to good fortune - including the most inexplicable umpiring decision of the summer; Steven Finn's dismissal of Jacques Kallis, a not-out decision that was reversed after England made use of the DRS system, understandably left South Africa aghast.

Kallis had made 3 when Finn's appeal for a catch down the leg side was turned down by umpire Kumar Dharmasena. England referred and their suspicions that the ball had flicked the glove were upheld. But Rod Tucker, the third umpire, overlooked the fact that Kallis' bottom hand had been withdrawn from the bat when the ball made contact with his glove.

The fault was not with DRS, which seemed to give Tucker all the evidence he needed to uphold Dharmasena's not-out decision, but with what seemed to be a defective conclusion based on the clear evidence available. There was no cause to override Dharmasena's decision. To interpret this as proof of technology's inadequacies is a wilful misinterpretation.

South Africa's frustrations over Kallis' dismissal were deepened by the fact that Alviro Petersen had fallen in similar fashion in Finn's previous over. Again the ball strayed down the leg side, again Finn had the good fortune to brush the glove, but again the bottom hand had been withdrawn from the bat by the time contact was made. The only difference on this occasion was that Petersen did not have the presence of mind to review the decision - an oversight he recognised as he saw the big-screen replay as he left the field.

Finn, preferred to Tim Bresnan on his home turf, had 3 for 22 in seven overs by lunch, but he operated below the standards he set in the ODI series against Australia and West Indies. His best moment came when he brought one back down the slope to bowl Hashim Amla between bat and pad.

It was a good toss for England to lose. They would not have dared to insert South Africa, but the weather was unsettled enough to encourage their fast bowlers. As Yohan Blake, Jamaica's silver medallist over 100 and 200m in the London Olympics, rang the five-minute bell, there was cause to expect England to be fast out of the blocks.

England had won six of their last seven Tests at Lord's. South Africa, however, have not lost here since their readmission to Test cricket and had dominated England with disciplined percentage cricket in the first two Tests.

Graeme Smith, South Africa's rock, fell in the ninth over, another complex decision as England needed to review Dharmasena's not-out decision to prove that the ball had struck Smith's outside edge as well as his bat scratching the ground.

Only AB de Villiers fell between lunch and tea. England lost their second umpiring review when de Villiers was 27, James Anderson failing with a marginal lbw decision as the ball did not quite hit in line, but de Villiers had not added to his score when he drove at Anderson and was held by Alastair Cook at third slip.

Graeme Swann, left out at Headingley, had bowled 52 overs against South Africa in the first Test at The Oval without reward, hindered by a long-standing elbow complaint. He returned, initially at the Nursery End, which did not help his turn, with a Jim Laker hairstyle and, uncharacteristically, a Jim Laker solemnity. The wicket of Jacques Rudolph for 42 in the third over after tea, a poor stroke as he tried to work the ball into the leg side, left him four wickets adrift of England's most celebrated offspinner.

JP Duminy grew from cautious beginnings to continue South Africa's resistance. There are times when a new ball takes wickets merely by the size of its reputation and his demise was one of those moments. He was 61 when England took the second new ball immediately at 235 for 6 and failed to add to that score as he fell to the third delivery, by Anderson.

It was a wide trundler, a ball of such little consequence that the shabbiest ball in a club kit bag could not have performed more inadequately and Duminy stretched to under-edge it to the wicketkeeper. It was a stretch was so unforgiveable that his next stretch should have been in Wormwood Scrubs.

Even Lord's itself then turned on South Africa, to no avail. The failure of two of the floodlights made batting conditions a little murkier (it also removed power for the media, which the ECB has yearned to do for more than a week) and MCC members variously stood up behind the arm to straighten a copy of The Guardian and don a lightweight jacket in a crafty bid for late wickets. When Steyn was struck on the chest, failing to pick up a short ball from Finn, and protested vehemently, enough was enough.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on August 18, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    @Meety on (August 17 2012, 23:06 PM GMT) Yeah , maybe you're right. Obviously different levels. I'd have had him in my side and as I said before all but 1 (caught at 1st slip) of his wickets were bowled or lbw which says about his accuracy/consistency.

  • Andrew on August 17, 2012, 23:06 GMT

    @JG2704 - re: Onions, yes I posted on the article. It had shades of Hadlee v Oz in the 80s. Whilst I'm not 100% convinced with him, what a riposte! Can't do any better than that!

  • John on August 17, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    @John Duchaussee on (August 17 2012, 19:08 PM GMT) Mate , check his comms on the story FORTUNE FINALLY TURNS http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-south-africa-2012/content/story/577727.html . You'll be even more confused

  • Dummy4 on August 17, 2012, 19:08 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster. You have still not answered the question. What does your nationality have to do with your SUPPORTING or OPPOSING the DRS. That is the main issue. Don't lose the point.

  • John on August 17, 2012, 15:32 GMT

    @cricky_lover on (August 17 2012, 10:49 AM GMT) Pieterson walked. Surely when you have the technology it is up to the batsman to review it if for whatever reason he thinks it's not out. So are you also saying by the same token that if a bowler does not review a close LBW decision and replay shows it was hitting the stumps then the bowler should get the wicket? Or that if a batsman fails to review an LBW decision where the ball is marginally missing he should remain? That's what the review system is all about. AP should have reviewed his dismissal , he didn't , his responsibility end of. As I said Kallis was a bad one as the 3rd umpire , based on the DRS technology got it badly wrong. That's an issue where the 3rd umpires capabilities need to be reviewed

  • Bob on August 17, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    @Posted by Sun25 on (August 17 2012, 09:23 AM GMT)

    "Kallis's dismissal has been wrongly recorded in the scorecard. The third umpire actually gave hem out "Handled the Ball"!!" You must be joking.. According to Law 33... to be out Handled the Ball the handling must be wilful... and no-one in their right mind could claim Kallis handled the ball wilfully...

  • T on August 17, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    @JG2704 on (August 17 2012, 08:53 AM GMT) - thats the whole point I am trying to make... why this blame game.. when u have technology & when u can spot what exactly is an incorrect decision, then why not correct it.. these rules are made by men (not by someone from heaven), so why not make it robust to take out the chances of human error.. on-field umpire made an error (as Petersen's glove was not in contact) and the technology captures this long before the play is resumed.. so why is nt the rule allowing the batsman to continue...to me, u can minimise human errors to a bigger extent by tuning these rules..else it is nothing but a mockery and not in the right spirit...

  • Peter on August 17, 2012, 9:43 GMT

    Further to my post a minute ago (if published) not only may the onfield umpire have made two mistakes in one ball (rather than getting such a difficult decision right against the odds), Tucker's conversation with the onfield ump was heard and described (but not relayed in detail) by the TMS team at the time.They never indicated Tucker even mentioned the detached glove, nor did it ever occur to them.This might be considered all the more remarkable, as when that ball was about to be bowled they were still ruminating over the dismissal a few minutes earlier of Alviro Peterson, in which the glove may have been off the bat. In over 50 years of playing (still!) & watching cricket, although knowing the rule, the only similar incident I can recall was the Kaprowicz dismissal in 2005.Yet here we had two identical controversies just a few minutes apart! Regardless of how important the match or how unlucky the batsman feels, his duty is to march off promptly without the SLIGHTEST demur. Fine him.

  • Peter on August 17, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Still haven't had a chance to see the incident, but heard it live on TMS.They watched the replays from every angle in slo-mo & saw the negative hotpsot result According to the TMS team at the time, some camera angles gave no indication of it hitting the glove, but just ONE did. They felt the 3rd umpire would give it on the strength of that one, as it was fairly clear, even though they were puzzled (& had reservations about) the lack of a hotspot mark. They recognised it was a huge (but right) decision to overturn the onfield ump. However, they ONLY ever considered & discussed whether the ball had touched glove or not. At NO stage - even after reviewing umpteen slo-mos - did anyone even consider the possibility the glove was off the bat. If they could miss this after so many attempts, was Tucker's error so glaring?And, from 22 yds, surely the onfield ump's decision was due to believing there was no glove contact at all, rather than seeing both contact & detached glove?Wrong twice?

  • Dummy4 on August 17, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    How come, no one is commenting on the match referee. He is sitting in the same cabin as the third umpire. Being a Senior professional, can he not guide the blundering / floundering third umpires, before they dish out such obviously ridiculous decisions, which even a school level cricketer can see with naked eyes? What are these guys being paid for? Some times such foolhardy can affect the ultimate result of a match / series / or something bigger the teams are playing for. Are they not bothered?

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