Parched in Paarl
Posted in England U19s
Olly Stone (Northamptonshire) and Gavin Griffiths (Lancashire) write the second entry of the England U19 team blog from their winter tour to South Africa...
It was the start of the second Test in a very hot Paarl and once again South Africa won the toss and decided to bat first.
Knowing the new ball would be crucial we set about the task of taking early wickets and we succeeded. With the score board on eight for four, South Africa were lucky not to have been in a worse position with a couple of chances going down.
They managed to slightly steady the ship. However two more wickets were taken before lunch to limit them to 65 for six.
The session that followed was possibly the turning point in the game. Despite them being 149 for nine, the tail wagged and they managed to muster a decent score of 228.
Olly Stone's bowling figures of 5-31 off 21 overs was supported by two from Jonny Tattersall and a wicket each from Gavin Griffiths and Ed Barnard.
This then gave us a tricky 20 overs to bat that evening. After two wickets had fallen, Dominic Sibley had a stroke of luck after being bowled off a no-ball.
He took full advantage of this by scoring 112 not out and becoming the first under-19 Test player to carry his bat, a magnificent effort for a 17-year-old. This knock enabled us to reach 231 and to pass their score with Ben Duckett (29) and Kishen Velani (25) the only other real contributors.
With their overnight score on 17 for two off 18 overs, our prospects where looking bright especially when we removed two more South Africa batsmen the following morning to leave them on 25 for four.
They showed resilience to fight their way back into the game and it wasn't until they had reached 119 for four that the partnership was finally broken.
The match was now in the balance but South Africa began to take the game away from us. Despite some good bowling they built further partnerships to help them on their way to 320 eight declared, which was due in no small part to a great 131 from man of the match David Bedingham.
Stone's figures of 6-48 off 23 overs gave him match figures of 11-79, the best from an England U19 player in a Test which helped him collect the man of the series award.
With another tricky 10 overs to bat that evening, Sibley and Tattersall ended the day on 31 without loss.
With the score at lunch 130 for one, all results were still possible on the last day. However, with five wickets falling in the next session the game seemed to be slipping despite the efforts from Tattersall (63) and Harry Finch (46).
With a late partnership of 49 between Miles Hammond and Barnard there was still belief we could get a positive result.
The new ball was then taken, which killed off the game as the last four England wickets fell for just 10 runs.
Despite being a lot younger than our opposition, the Test series was drawn 1-1 and we are now looking forward to the five-match ODI series.