Johannesburg — England fast bowler Issy Wong struck twice in late on the third day, to leave South Africa struggling to save the Once-off Test in Taunton on Wednesday.
Wong, a 20 year old making her debut, first had Lara Goodall caught down the leg side by wicket-keeper Amy Jones for 26, and in her next over, shook up Laura Wolvaardt with some sharp pace before creating an error, that saw the right hand opener, slah a wide bal to gully where Nat Sciver took her third outstanding catch in the match. Wolvaardt scored 16, spending 82 minutes at the crease, hitting just one boundary and facing 62 balls. It was indicative of the difficulty of the conditions and the manner in which England’s seam bowlers used those to their advantage.
Those wickets came with less than 20 minutes to play on a day where rain had meant 53 overs of play were lost. Goodall and Wolvaardt had to bat in very tricky conditions, with heavy cloud cover and occasionally through spurts of rain, with the overhead floodlights the only reason play could take place after a two hour rain delay.
The second wicket pair had put on 35 in 15 overs and for the most part looked reasonably comfortable until Wong’s extra pace came into proceedings just before stumps. South Africa will start the final day still trailing by 78 runs.
Sciver was England’s heroine, as her innings of 169 not out, gave her side a 133-run lead. She batted for four minutes short of six hours, facing 263 balls and striking 21 fours. She and Alice Davidson-Richards had rescued England from a precarious position at 121/5 on Tuesday, with a 207-run sixth wicket partnership.
By the third morning, with rain forecast, England understandably adopted a very aggressive strategy against a tired, but still willing South African attack. Sciver and Sophie Eccelstone, added 86 runs for the seventh wicket, with Ecclestone smacking four boundaries in her innings of 35. She was trapped lbw by Nonkululeko Mlaba and then Kate Cross was run out a short while later, at which point Heather Knight, called an end to the innings, leaving South Africa to negotiate a tricky half an hour to lunch.
Anneke Bosch remained the most successful of South Africa’s bowlers finishing with 3/77 while Mlaba claimed 2/74.
Knight’s decision to declare when she did, which caught some by surprise, was rewarded almost immediately when Andrie Steyn flashed at an outswinger from Cross, with the edge flying quickly and low towards gully, where Sciver took a very good catch.
South Africa 284 and 55/3
South Africa trail by 78 runs