- Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje backed Dean Elgar’s decision-making despite the Proteas not having the best of days.
- England bounced back from 147/5 to post 415/9 declared on the second evening of the second Test in Manchester on Friday.
- The Proteas went to bed on 23/0 but still have a mountain to climb to salvage what remains of the Test for them.
Proteas’ speedster Anrich Nortje backed his captain Dean Elgar’s thinking as the second day of the second Test ran away from them in what could be the worst possible way.
The visitors may have gone to bed on 23/0, but they had to watch England compile 415/9 through 100s from Ben’s Stokes and Foakes.
Elgar had won the toss and chose to bat first, handing England what has become the best bowling conditions of the game.
The 264-run deficit accrued meant South Africa will have to be the second team outside of Australia to overhaul a 200-plus run deficit to force a match-winning position.
Nortje said the pitch had become easier to bat on and England made the most of their opportunities.
“I think Dean had a plan according to what the situation told him,” Nortje said.
“Whenever we came on as a group, it was according to what the thinking was at the time.
“It was a good wicket to bat on at the time, so we can’t go into who bowled when and from where.
“At this stage of the game, it was a good wicket to bat on.”
With England resuming the day on 111/3, they were reduced to 147/5 when Nortje removed overnight batters Jonny Bairstow and Zak Crawley.
Elgar curiously opted not to use his fastest bowler when the game was in the balance and it proved to be the day’s turning and talking point.
Stokes (103) and Foakes (113*) stitched together a 174-run stand for the sixth wicket that moved the game decisively in England’s favour.
Nortje acknowledged that it was the time in the game that they should have put the boot on England’s throat.
“That was the period in the game. That was the major period in the game,” Nortje said.
“We got the wickets, but to try and keep them on and get them out in a session or two isn’t something that’s going to happen very often.
“It was definitely the best time to get wickets. Maybe something was happening with the ball and when it got older, it got harder.
“It was the period and we were trying to hit good lengths where we tried to get various modes of dismissals into play.”