England have their noses in front as Rassie van der Dussen falls short of maiden ton

Rassie van der Dussen fell just two runs short of what would have been a brilliant maiden Test 100.
Rassie van der Dussen fell just two runs short of what would have been a brilliant maiden Test 100.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

An indiscreet drive by Rassie van der Dussen after Mark Wood opted to come around the wicket cost the South African his maiden Test century on the cusp of tea here on Monday.

Van der Dussen had batted with great resolve mixing stout defence with crisp timing in reaching 98 before he looked for a boundary that would have taken him to a Test 100.

The wicket was the fourth South Africa lost in their second innings as they go in pursuit of 466 to win the Test.

By tea they were 188 for four.

Wood, who had been running in hard from the Golf Course End created a slightly different angle and Van der Dussen fell for the trap as he mistimed his drive to Stuart Broad who had to move to his right to pouch the catch.

As Wood bent his knees and bulged both fists in celebration, Van der Dussen was a picture of dejection as he looked up to the bright blue sky.

He turned slowly to embark on his long, painful walk back to the dressing room which would have given sufficient time to reflect on the loose shot that brought about his demise. He had faced 138 deliveries hit 15 fours and two sixes.

South Africa had batted well in the extended post lunch two and a half hour session with Van der Dussen and captain Faf du Plessis denying the England attack on a flat wicket with the occasional low bounce.

Du Plessis, who had been struggling for runs of late dug deep.

He was patient and even got hit a few times but toughed it out until Ben Stokes was reintroduced into the attack 20 minutes before tea.

One of the deliveries from the Corlett Drive End kept a little low and the ball found the bottom of Du Plessis’s bat before crashing into the stumps. He ruefully looked at the bottom of his bat after his 92-ball stay.

Bigger blows however were delivered from the other end where Wood was charging in.

He hit Van der Dussen flush on the chest which had the batter drop to his knees consumed by pain. He required attention and returned to his feet.

Wood kept charging in, changed his angle during his next over and duly got Van der Dussen to drive injudiciously.  

England remain in the pound seats.

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