Sport

Keshav Maharaj, Chris Morris put South Africa on top

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the leader who oversaw a 2-1 away series in Australia a year ago, and shrugged off an almighty ball-tampering row with a combative century in Adelaide, should have an impact on this series but the difference has been palpable, not least given that their head coach, Russell Domingo, is back home following a bereavement.

With the captain back in their ranks at Trent Bridge, however, South Africa romped to victory with a day to spare on Monday, levelling the series at 1-1 ahead of the third Test at The Oval next week.

Vernon Philander led the charge for the Proteas on Monday by returning figures of 3-24 to take his haul of wickets for the match to five, but Du Plessis was more impressed by his haul of 96 runs across two innings and playfully likened him to a South Africa icon. We played some good cricket [at Lord's] but at times that went missing a bit.

In 15 tests here Kallis averaged 35.33 with the bat and 32.65 with the ball.

Kallis batted higher in the order than Philander does and thus faced fresher bowlers armed with a newer ball.

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"He's (Phillander) becoming the new Jacques Kallis the way he's batting", Sport24 quoted du Plessis as saying. "When there's something there (in the pitch), he's probably the best in the world at doing something with it", he added. A quiet word from the captain changed his approach to a focus on pace.

Chasing a mammoth target of 474 runs to win, the hosts failed to counter South Africa's bowling attack and were eventually collapsed to 133 all out in their second innings on the fourth day, succumbing to the second biggest defeat, in terms of runs, in their history against the Proteas. I could see he was spinning.

The profligate Duanne Olivier will likely make way when Rabada returns from his ban.

Alongside Phillander, left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj also took three wickets.



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