Alastair Cook has his sights trained on what would be a 31st Test hundred after the opener delivered a message of authority to his fellow England batsmen about the virtues of restraint on a tight and rain-affected opening day against South Bashaud Breeland Jersey Africa here on Thursday.
Though he stood down from the captaincy at the start of the year Cookís unbeaten 82 led the way for Joe Rootís side in challenging conditions. He will resume on Friday with the score 171 for four from 59 overs, with Ben Stokes not out on 21 for company.
Vernon Philander, who picked up two for 17, probed throughout a truncated day during which Root won the toss and elected to bat, while handing debuts to Tom Westley, Dawid Malan and Toby Roland-Jones. The first of those made a composed 25 from No3 in a second-wicket http://www.authenticnikeredskinshop.com/charles-mann-jersey-for-sale-c-10.html stand of 52 with his Essex team-mate before lunch.
Westley said: ďIt nipped around and swung all day but [Cook] fought through that. Thatís one of his best qualities Ė he works hard for his runs and that shone through today. Hopefully he can now kick on. With the runs on the board and that surface weíll be in a good position.
ďI have spent a lot of time with Cookie and had a few good partnerships. Itís good to know each otherís game and we have a good understanding. We share information but keep it relaxed too. But he canít score my runs Ė which is a shame as Iíd have taken his.Ē
Faf du Plessis, the South Africa captain, had promised Westley a step up in intensity from the century he made against the tourists for the England Lions last month. But the 28-year-old said he was unfazed by the challenge, if a little rueful of the shot that got him caught at slip off Chris Morris four balls after lunch.
Westley said: ďThey are the same bowlers. They may have bowled better today but as an individual itís what you make of it. You do face bowlers like that in county cricket. Yes, it was a step up with the added pressure but thatís why it was equally frustrating because I felt I was coping. It was a soft dismissal.Ē
While England dished out the caps in a bid to bounce back from the chastening and Chad Bettis Authentic Jersey series-levelling defeat at Trent Bridge last week, South Africa made a single change as they welcomed back Kagiso Rabada following a one-match ban that was triggered by a sweary send?off towards Ben Stokes at Lordís.
The 22-year-old fast bowler returned with a bang too, bowling another debutant, Dawid Malan, for one with a stunning inswinging yorker during the afternoon session.
Rabada said: ďObviously [the ban] was disappointing but, if it wasnít, that shows you donít care. I knew I had messed up. It was heartbreaking but you just have to move on. Itís simple, just donít swear.
ďI donít have bad intentions [towards Stokes], we talk off the field and have a beer after matches. Itís just in the game it gets competitive and there is a history that sparks that. I donít think I will stop the way I play. I will just follow the rules.Ē
On the performance of Philander, who removed Keaton Jennings for a nine-ball duck and returned to have Root caught behind on 29, Rabada added: ďHeís skilful and makes it look so simple Ė for me itís just trying to find a way to master the http://www.authenticcoloradorockies.com/Carlos-Gonzalez-Jersey things he does.
ďI thought we bowled well today. There was a lot on offer but it wasnít a bad surface for the batsmen. The game is even right now, so we will have to make an impact in the morning.Ē