Stokes, Foakes centuries put England in command in second Test vs South Africa

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Sat, 27/08/2022
Stokes, Foakes centuries put England in command in second Test vs South Africa
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The second day of the second Test between England and South Africa at Old Trafford on Friday saw the hosts take control as captain Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper-batter Ben Foakes both hit hundreds. 

While Foakes was more cautious in his approach and scored an unbeaten 113 off 217 deliveries, Stokes scored a 163-ball 103 to help England to 415/9 declared in response to the Proteas' 151 all out in the first innings. This was England's strong comeback from an innings loss in the opening Test at Lord's. 

Dean Elgar's team had reached 23 without loss in nine overs, but they were still 241 runs behind. They were fighting against the clock.

By dismissing the two set batsmen, Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow, in the morning session, South Africa had a great start to the day. However, because England won the rest of the day, that was the Proteas' only triumph. 

The first player to leave was Bairstow, who was just one run short of a well-earned fifty. The in-form batsman could not counteract Anrich Nortje's speed and reverse swing and could barely eke to the first slip. According to the ICC, Nortje dismissed Crawley after he edged the ball to Kyle Verreynne's gloves for his second wicket in as many overs.

England had challenges after losing 147 players, nearly half their team. But for the hosts, skipper Stokes and Foakes kept things tight and counterattacked their way out of difficulty. 

With four boundaries—including a six from Stokes off the spinner—in consecutive overs, they attacked Kagiso Rabada and Simon Harmer. Following that, the duo skillfully balanced caution with aggression and brought England to lunch at 212/5 with a comfortable lead of 61 runs.

In order to prevent losing wickets after the interval, Stokes and Foakes sustained their sixth-wicket stand by playing it safe. The captain easily milked runs as he broke free with a six to reach his fifty. As the relationship hit the 100-run threshold, Foakes was content to serve as the supporting actor. 

Stokes turned his fifty into a hundred, becoming the first Test skipper to lead his team full-time. Though he left the team with a lead of close to 200, he fell shortly after attempting to smash the ball to the boundary.

Before being stumped by Harmer's delivery for a 14-ball 21, Stuart Broad played a fun innings filled with boundaries. As he approached his second career Test tonne and first one at home while still in his 80s, wicketkeeper Foakes found support from Ollie Robinson, who became stranded at one end. 

When Jack Leach's wicket fell, England declared with an advantage of 264 runs. 

After being put back in to bat, South Africa had to bat out a challenging nine-over stretch before the game ended. Sarel Erwee was bothered by James Anderson's lbw shouts on a few occasions, but the Proteas opener survived despite an unsuccessful England review.

Elgar and Erwee managed to bat South Africa to safety without losing any wickets but will have a huge task on their hands on Saturday, still trailing by 241 runs.

Brief scores: South Africa 151 and 23 without loss in 9 overs vs England 415/9 declared in 106.4 overs (Jonny Bairstow 49, Ben Stokes 103, Ben Foakes 113 not out; Anrich Nortje 3/82).