England v SA, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day August 20, 2012

Eager Philander and lucky Prior

Firdose Moonda and George Dobell at Lord's
ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the fifth day of the third Test at Lord's

Drop of the day
Most of the drops in the series have come with England in the field - nine to be exact - but South Africa have occasionally been guilty of the same. Jacques Rudolph was the culprit, when Jonathan Trott was drawn into the drive by Jacques Kallis. A slightly more difficult than regulation chance presented itself, Rudolph would have had to move to his left and stretch a touch but he was already heading in that direction when Trott got into position to play the cover drive. The ball squirted out of Rudolph's grasp and ran away to third man for four. Trott was on 37 at the time and went on to almost double his score, a costly drop for Rudolph, if not ultimately significant.

Celebration of the day
Imran Tahir was told to rein in his over-the-top celebrations as part of the new Gary Kirsten stable approach to success and failure but he could not hold back when he took the wicket that opened up England's middle order. Jonny Bairstow should have gone forward to one that pitched on leg and turned across him but he stayed back and could not get his bat down in time to keep it out. Tahir charged away from his team-mates towards the pavilion, yanking his shirt at the point close to his heart. He stopped only when fairly close to pavilion and glared at it while his team-mates caught up with him. In the past, he would have run almost over the boundary so he showed some measure of restraint.

Over-eagerness of the day
Vernon Philander had his best two days of the series and was so keen for it to continue that when he hit Trott above the knee roll he appealed vociferously and immediately thought it was out. His appeal was rejected but Philander did not even wait for Graeme Smith and made the T sign himself, asking for the review. Smith was so unimpressed with the bowler's impulsiveness, he turned his back on him and went to consult with AB de Villiers, leaving Philander with his arms crossed. After a few seconds, Smith turned around again and shook his head, indicating he would not ask for the review and he was correct not to - the ball was bouncing over the top of leg stump.

Key wicket of the day
If England were to have any realistic hope of chasing down a challenging target on the final day, they needed their most experienced batsmen to contribute a good chunk of the runs. Instead they lost Ian Bell early. Most galling was the manner of the wicket: Bell, ignoring the fact that the South African seamers were finding substantial movement, opted not to see his side through a testing first session, but flashed well away from his body and edged to slip. It was a loose shot of an experienced man of whom more was expected.

Telling moment of the day
Graham Gooch sunk his head into his hands after the run out of James Taylor. Taylor was dismissed having been sent back by Jonathan Trott after attempting a fourth run. It was a moment that typified the way in which England, probably confronted by a superior foe, worsened their plight with a series of self-inflicted wounds.

Revival of the day
Just when it seemed all hope had gone, England were revived through an outrageous stand of 74 in 66 balls for the eighth wicket between Graeme Swann and Matt Prior. Swann, counterattacking with bravado, smashed 41 in 34 balls but, responding to the sight of Prior bearing down on him, was forced into an unlikely single. JP Duminy's throw was far from perfect but Imran Tahir, the bowler, collected neatly and hit the stumps with his own throw from close range to seal a tight run out that ended England's last realistic hope of victory.

Twist of the day
In the end it made no difference but Matt Prior won a remarkable reprieve that, for a time, provided another twist in a remarkable and absorbing game of cricket. It seemed Prior was out when, attempting to slash a delivery from Morkel through the off side, he scooped the ball to Duminy running in from the cover boundary. Prior was just feet away from crossing the boundary rope when a roar from the crowd alerted him to a shred of hope and he turned to find that Simon Taufel, the on-field umpire, had asked Rod Tucker, the third umpire, to check whether Morkel had overstepped and delivered a no-ball. Replays showed that he had and Prior, for a short while anyway, sustained England's slim hopes.

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  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Truly, SA is the best cricketing team in all formats of the game currently. SA, with the current form and players, if they overcome the so called 'choking' factor, they'll just be able to fill the shoes left by the mighty west indians of 70s n 80s, aussies of 2k's.

    SA reigning the game of cricket, as of now. Good luck for the T20 WC. Beating SL/India/Pak is not gonna be a cakewalk for SA though.

    - Congrats coming from Indian cricket fan.

  • yagna on August 21, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    @tsorom India might loose 20 away tests in a row will never loose no.1 test ranking at home

  • Adarsh on August 21, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    @Nutcutlet: there have been many instances of Indians running all 4...Dravid and Laxman did that in the famous Kolkata 2001 test match...Dravid and Parthiv Patel did that in the 2nd innings of the 2nd test against England in 2002...Dravid and Laxman did that again in Sydney 2003/04...infact, Raju and Srinath have an all-run 5 against Australians in Adelaide in 1991/92 test series...these are just a few that I have seen...so you see, it's not as much a collector's item as you make it sound

  • Sifiso on August 21, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    @ Ramli, sorry mate but 7 losses in a row accounting for 2 consecutive series whitewashes does make a powerhouse such as India look as terrible as everyone suggests it is at the moment. Let's hope they learn from our boys (Proteas) and get on top of England later this year. I hope for your India's sake Kohli continues on his merry way... I think he is an incredible talent and has the potential to one day be rated amongst or at least be compared to some of India's best...

  • ian on August 21, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    @ramli: when did you see India score an all-run 4? If you did, treasure it! It is truly a collector's item - about as rare as a hatrick by a wicket-keeper (and there has been one of those!)

  • RAJARAMAN on August 21, 2012, 8:19 GMT

    Indians are not new to running four .. it happens frequently in test cricket with all closely set fields ... India is not that bad as made out ...

  • Adrian on August 21, 2012, 8:11 GMT

    @Joseph Ronaldraj - You clearly haven't seen the run out. There was a 4th run there had Trott been awake. I felt sorry for Taylor there as it was no fault of his own that he was out.

  • ian on August 21, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    @Joseph Ronaldraj: FYI, the consensus of opinion is that Trott was responsible for Taylor's run out. In effect, Trott sold Taylor a dummy by beginning the 4th run before changing his mind, by which time Taylor was half way back! Please keep your eyes peeled for Taylor; he's extremely quick on his feet & although he is, of course, learning tc, he is likely to establish himself in England's middle order before too long. BTW, England, despite their defeat to SA, are as fit as any side playing tc - certainly much sharper than India - as has always been the case. I've never seen an Indian all-run 4 (has anyone?) yet it happens every now & then with fitter sides.

  • Ashish on August 21, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    @Joseph Ronaldraj- Who said you can't run a fourth in test cricket. And it was a run by the way...

  • Dummy4 on August 21, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    i always thought (atleast for the last 5 yrs) that SAf side is the best and should be rank 1 in all formats. they have strong pillars like kallis, smith, amla, de villiers who are not only difficult to penetrate but also make bowlers cry. other than pillars they have strong batting talent via pietesen, duminy, du plesis, levi, prince, ingram, albie. BEST BATTING SIDE. now for the bowlers - steyn (no doubt-the best ever produced), morkel, tsotsobe, now philander. BEST BOWLING SIDE. they must not miss ntini, pollock or donald but shd miss a quality spinner. though botha is good and can bat also... but their is a quality spinner missing. one good spinner and i would rate this team equal to 1948 invicible aussie team. As an indian, i support indian team; but i knw that this team is better and deserves to be better than india. Good luck Team SAf!

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