South Africa v England, 3rd ODI, Centurion February 9, 2016

The obstruction that wasn't, the wide that wasn't

Plays of the day from the third ODI between South Africa and England in Centurion

Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla marshalled South Africa's run-chase with a century stand © AFP

The run-out (part 1)
With their bowlers leaking, at least South Africa still had their fielding to fall back on in the initial stages of the England innings. Jason Roy seemed to dawdle after slicing Kagiso Rabada over gully but when it became clear the ball wasn't going straight to third man he pushed for a second run. Morne Morkel had to make up some ground but got in a good throw to the striker's end where Quinton de Kock collected and took the bails off in one fluid motion; Roy, who had also circled round Rabada to come back, was an inch or two short.

The run-out (part 2)
Having broken the stumps to remove Roy, de Kock then had a shy at the other end. Alex Hales, apparently fearing that de Kock would do so, appeared to deliberately run across the pitch and block the path of his throw. The ICC's playing regulations state that if a batsman, in running between the wickets, "has significantly changed his direction without probable cause and thereby obstructed a fielder's attempt to effect a run-out," they should be given out obstructing the field whether the throw was on target or not. It is quite possible, therefore, that Roy's run-out saved Hales, who was on 9 at the time.

The first-baller
At 160 for 2, just after the halfway stage, the scene was set for another Jos Buttler special. He tried to turn the first ball he faced off his hip but had forgotten about the strategically placed leg gully who was waiting for that shot. Although Buttler hit it hard, JP Duminy got down low to his left and picked the ball up inches off the ground to give South Africa a way back in and halve Buttler's series average - from 153 to 76.5. Chances are, he won't be complaining about that.

The drop
Joe Root was on 44 when he dabbed David Wiese towards third man. Contact was thinner than Root had hoped, though, so the ball flew low to the right of de Kock. But the South Africa wicketkeeper could only get fingertips on the ball and it flew away to the boundary. It was far from an easy chance but it was the only one Root gave on the way to his seventh ODI century.

The catch
Root took a particular liking to Imran Tahir, scoring 30 runs off the 23 balls he faced, and was even able to choose exactly where to hit him. Root entered the 90s with a stunning six off a Tahir full toss, which found a spectator on the grass embankment who was perfectly positioned to catch the ball. The fan did not even have to move, much to the envy of South Africa's fielders.

The review
It seemed nothing could move de Kock in the chase but England were convinced they had snaffled him down the leg side. Umpire Johan Cloete was not convinced, calling a wide instead, but England decided to review even as de Kock patted his pad to indicate that's what had been hit. There was a clear noise on the replays but Ultra Edge showed that it was the sound of the ball flicking the pad. So England were wrong, and there was no wicket to be claimed but Cloete was wrong too and there was no wide. Luckily, none of the mistakes remained.

The relief
Hashim Amla had not scored an ODI hundred in nine innings, since August last year, and the same pressure that mounted on him in Tests was starting to bubble up in the shorter format. He got himself to 98, not as fluently as he would have liked, but his his heart may have been in his throat when Moeen Ali looped one over his head and Buttler whipped the bails off before his bat came down. Luckily for Amla it was an obvious no-ball and three deliveries later he whipped one off his pads to bring up a century. Amla barely managed a smile but that's what relief looks like.

The failed experiment
South Africa needed 80 off 13.1 overs when de Kock was the first wicket to fall and instead of sticking to their usual line-up, they sent in No. 7 David Wiese to try and finish things quickly. He struck one meaty six before a failed attempt at a reverse sweep that resulted in his dismissal and the experiment was clearly botched.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo; Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments