BUMBLE AT THE TEST: No Bazball in sight as Ben Stokes composed his best innings as England captain… but lunch in the media centre was pretty uninspiring
- England captain Stokes showed great responsibility in his superb century
- Nortje produced a superb opening burst to dismiss Bairstow and Crawley
- England spinner Leach faces a speed test to exploit Old Trafford pitch
Captain Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes scored superb centuries as England seized control of the second Test against South Africa at Old Trafford.
Stokes’ first hundred as captain and Foakes’ first century at home took England to 415-9 declared, a first-innings lead of 264.
South Africa closed on 23-0, 241 behind.
Sportsmail’s DAVID LLOYD picks out his talking points from the day.
England captain Ben Stokes showed great responsibility in his superb century
SKIPPER’S FINEST KNOCK
This was Ben Stokes’ best innings as England captain. He showed great responsibility but was positive and aggressive at the right times.
Every now and then he would hit a spinner for six but he was never reckless, at least until he gave it away.
He’s got England into a fantastic position with great support from Ben Foakes.
And there was no Bazball in sight…
THAT’S FOOD FOR THOUGHT
I’ve been in the Media Centre for two days now and I have to say lunch was uninspiring.
It was delivered in a cardboard box with a wooden fork and knife and the chicken won the battle with a knife that snapped in half.
Just Danish pastries before play too, so I went outside for a lovely bacon bap. It was a snip at £6.50, but I now live in Yorkshire — ‘ow much?!!
READY FOR MORE REVERSE
What a superb opening burst that was from Anrich Nortje to take the wickets of Jonny Bairstow and Zak Crawley.
Pace, control, aggression and a bit of reverse swing after just 33 overs of the England innings. It had nothing to do with the sunshine.
Old Trafford has an abrasive surface and it will scuff the ball. There will be more reverse swing as we go on.
Anrich Nortje produced a superb opening burst to dismiss Jonny Bairstow and Zak Crawley
NIMBLE GOT NOBBLED
I love coming back to Old Trafford and am always drawn to the boundaries. There are cushions, advertising boards and then the outer boundary.
When I played we just had the outer boundary and used the whole ground. It were so big it was common to run fives!
I remember Norman Hill, a portly opener from Notts known as Nimble, being run out taking a fifth run….
SPEED TEST FOR LEACH
Three finger spinners on view in this Test and, interestingly, both South Africa spinners, Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer, bowl at around 51 miles per hour, about five miles slower than England’s Jack Leach.
The ball is turning, as it will at Old Trafford, and the knack is to find the right pace.
Leach must beware driving the ball into the pitch. It won’t work….
South Africa spinners Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer showed the right way to go
MCCULLUM NEEDS TO GO INDIE
I hear Brendon McCullum was playing smooth music from his boombox during England’s practice before this Test. In Manchester of all places!
Surely he needs to go local and play stuff from Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, New Order, The Fall and Oasis. That’ll get them going!
And if they have a bad day Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now by The Smiths…
COMEDY USED TO BE KING
Back in the day Old Trafford used to have the ‘pit of hate’, a group of individuals under the clock in the pavilion who used to barrack the players – usually with humour.
They’d shout things like ‘bowl him a piano, see if he can play that’ and ‘you’ll never die of a stroke.’
All these blokes had nicknames too – Rubber Duck, The Scribe and Big ‘ead to name but three. Happy days.