Match reports

England v South Africa 1998

Toss: England

Graham Otway
Toss: England. Test debut: S. P. James.
South Africa exploited ideal conditions for pace bowling to take a 1-0 lead in the series. With the ball swinging in the air, and movement off the seam accentuated by the Lord's slope, England's batsmen, with the exception of Stewart and Hussain on Sunday morning, had few answers to the potency of Donald and Pollock. Both teams lost their four first-innings wickets before reaching 50; South Africa fought back with their highest-ever fifth-wicket partnership, while England went to pieces.
England had two changes forced on them by injury; Headley replaced Gough, and Steve James of Glamorgan received a late call-up when Butcher bruised his thumb. Stewart recovered from a back spasm in time to play. South Africa brought in Bacher for Liebenberg, though it was to be his last appearance of the tour, as he damaged his shoulder in the field.
Rain delayed play until 1.30 p.m. on the opening day, when there were three further interruptions. The damp conditions persuaded Stewart to field first. It appeared an astute decision as Cork's aggressive out-swing quickly reduced South Africa to 46 for four. The dismissal of Kallis indicated the problems: he was beaten twice in succession by balls that left him, then bowled by a delivery which held its line to clip the off stump.
But without Gough, England lacked the cutting edge to consolidate their advantage once Cork tired. Even so, South Africa's eventual recovery was built on suspect foundations. Rhodes had made only ten when he offered a shoulder-high catch to third slip, which Atherton could only parry. In the following over, Atherton did catch Rhodes, only for England's celebrations to be cut short by the call of no-ball from umpire Sharp. From tentative beginnings, Rhodes flourished as he dominated a stand of 184, a South African fifth-wicket record, with Cronje. In the First Test at Edgbaston, Rhodes had driven fluently, so England adopted a shorter length - only to discover that he was a more than adequate cutter of the ball. In all, Rhodes batted for two minutes short of five hours while compiling his second Test century, nearly five years after his first. He struck 14 fours and a six before finally edging the persistent Fraser into Stewart's gloves. With Cronje making 81 and useful contributions from Boucher and Klusener, South Africa got to 360, a total at least a hundred higher than might have been expected.
England started their reply on the second evening, with the speedometer recording Donald as bowling consistently at around 90 miles an hour. By the close, they were in serious danger at 40 for three. James, making his debut aged 30 (having been ignored when he was really on form in 1997) struck two handsome fours but then nudged a short rising delivery down the leg side to Boucher. Atherton had already been held at slip off Pollock, who also brought the ball back sharply for Stewart to fall lbw.
Saturday morning saw a steady procession of England batsmen returning to the pavilion, their defences breached by fast bowling of the highest quality, backed by agile fielding. Hussain was taken by Boucher diving in front of slip, and Thorpe was brilliantly caught off the middle of the bat by Bacher at short leg. Ramprakash, who could muster only one scoring shot in his first 80 minutes at the crease, was caught off a delivery from Donald that bounced and appeared to brush his elbow on its way through to Boucher. Ramprakash's subsequent display of dissent (he altered his course to tell umpire Hair: "You're messing with my career, Darrell") earned him a suspended one-match ban and an £850 fine. England were bowled out inside 47 overs. For only the fourth time in their Test history, Extras contributed England's highest score: 20, with Hussain's 15 the next best.


1758 South Africa v England at Lord's 1912
1130 South Africa v England at Birmingham 1924
2097 New Zealand v England at Nottingham 1973
25126 England v West Indies at Manchester 1976
46227 England v Pakistan at Lord's 1982
36200 Australia v West Indies at St John's 1983-84
59315 England v West Indies at Port-of-Spain 1985-86
38160 New Zealand v Pakistan at Lahore 1990-91
53248 Australia v West Indies at Georgetown 1990-91
2293 New Zealand v Pakistan at Hamilton 1992-93
22114 India v West Indies at Mohali 1994-95
20110 England v South Africa at Lord's 1998
[Research: Gordon
When the follow-on was enforced on the third afternoon, James soon edged an out-swinger to second slip. But, as the bowling was beginning to tire, England at last provided some resistance, in a 94-run partnership between Atherton and Hussain. Their work, however, was unstitched when, with the close of play approaoching, Atherton rashly swept Adams to square leg, where Kallis pulled off a fine overheard catch.
The prospect of an England escape existed only while Hussain and Stewart were adding 116 for the fourth wicket. Hussain completed his seventh Test century shortly after lunch on Sunday. But, when Stewart was caught behind off Kallis, England produced a horrendous collapse. Five more wickets fell for the addition of only 11 runs as Kallis, the fourth member of the South African seam attack, recorded Test-best figures of four for 24. Only a defiant last-wicket stand between Fraser and Croft averted an innings defeat. A Test which had begun with a bright symbol for English cricket, as the Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the new Grand Stand, ended in crushing defeat, seven balls after tea on the fourth day.
Man of the Match: J. N. Rhodes. Attendance: 106,070; receipts £2,992,071.
Close of play: First day, South Africa 135-4 (W. J. Cronje 38*, J. N. Rhodes 47*); Second day, England 40-3 (N. Hussain 10*, D. W. Headley 0*); Third day, England 105-2 (N. Hussain 52*, D. W. Headley 1*).