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ENG vs SA: Three Important things we learned from the Old Trafford Test

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Three Important things we learned from the Old Trafford Test

Three Important things we learned from Old Trafford Test: This win, which meant England leveled a three-match series at 1-1, was even more emphatic than South Africa’s innings and 12-run triumph in the first Test at Lord’s.

Three Important things we learned from Old Trafford Test: This win, which meant England leveled a three-match series at 1-1, was even more emphatic than South Africa’s innings and 12-run triumph in the first Test at Lord’s.

Here, AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from another three-day finish in the series.

Ben Foakes has long been acknowledged as one of the best wicketkeepers in England, but the presence of Jonny Bairstow – now deployed as a specialist batsman – and white-ball captain Jos Buttler in and around the red-ball set-up has seen him denied Test chances amid concerns over his batting.

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Gloveman Foakes (29) has in particular suffered from the perception he is particularly vulnerable against fast bowling.

England were still behind South Africa’s meagre first innings 151 when Foakes came into bat at 147-5, but his sixth-wicket stand of 173 with captain Ben Stokes (103) proved to be the decisive partnership of the match.

“It was a match-defining hundred from him batting at No 7,” said Stokes of Foakes’s hundred. “But then also there is his wicketkeeping. He’s the best in the world.”

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South Africa, despite a dominant display at Lord’s, opted to change a winning team with towering left-arm fast bowler Marco Jansen unlucky to be dropped after taking four wickets and making 48 in a low-scoring game.

The Proteas’ hoped recalled off-spinner Simon Harmer would be a factor in the fourth innings, but such an idea almost obliged captain Dean Elgar to bat first upon winning the toss, even though it meant exposing his fragile top order to the new ball in overcast conditions favouring England’s quicks.

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South Africa slumped to 77-5 and, with England batting just once, the fourth innings where they hoped Harmer might star never came about.

“I really didn’t think we batted particularly well,” said opener Elgar. “Sure the ball went around but this is Test cricket, man, you need to deal with it.

“We did lose those two wickets just before lunch, if we were three down at lunch, 80-odd for three we would have been in a pretty good position, I would’ve bitten my arm off for that result. We were five down and you’re always going to be playing catch-up cricket.”

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