England captain Ollie Stone produced the sort of inspired leadership spell that used to make Eddie Barlow famous at Sahara Park Newlands to give his side control of the first Coca-Cola Youth Test match at the famous Cape Town ground on Monday.
South Africa had reached a fairly comfortable 120/3 at Tea in reply to England’s first innings total of 313 when Stone struck immediately after tea to break the back of the home innings. They collapsed to 194 all out, giving England a lead of 119 which they subsequently extended to 143 without the loss of a wicket by the close of play.
Stone could only come on to bowl as England’s fifth change after dislocating a finger at the warm-up and having to wait for clearance from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) medical team to bowl. Once he started he broke through straight after tea, taking two wickets in two balls and putting the South African middle and lower-order on the rack thereafter.
South Africa made a spirited start to the second day when they dismissed England for a manageable total of 313 with the last three wickets falling for 36 runs in 19.1 overs. The home side then continued their fight back by reaching 16 without loss by lunch.
The key wicket in the morning session was that of Ed Barnard who took his overnight 107 to 114 (209 balls, 12 fours). Presumably frustrated at being pinned down he played an uncharacteristic slog sweep and was bowled by the left-arm spinner, Michael Faasen, who immediately followed up with the wicket of Gavin Griffiths as well.
Miles Hammond (39 off 124 balls, 3 fours) was fast running out of partners and he was eventually last man out.
South Africa made a cautious start in the 8 possible overs before lunch and were helped along by a spate of no balls from Joshua Shaw who over-stepped on six occasions as he struggled to find his rhythm.
The afternoon session swung first one way and then the other with England picking up two wickets early on and then being forced on the back foot when Murray Coetzee and the home captain, Diego Rosier, added 50 for the third wicket off only 60 balls.
However, England fought back well with the introduction of off-spinner Miles Hammond into the attack. He was the one bowler to trouble Rosier who had looked very comfortable against the seamers as he hit a fine array of square cuts and cover drives.
Hammond put an effective break on the scoring and also trapped Rosier leg before wicket to end a threatening partnership that eventually totalled 60 in 16 overs.
The session finished with South Africa adding 104 to their total for the loss of three wickets to take the tea time total to 120/3. This had brought their overall deficit below 200.
Coetzee was unbeaten on 50 (137 balls, 8 fours) while Hammond had the excellent figures of 1/24 in 9 overs.
England captain Ollie Stone put his side in control immediately after tea when he dismissed Coetzee and Vassilli Orros with successive deliveries. He then threatened to run through the South African middle-order when he also claimed the wicket of David Bedingham off a mis-timed pull.
Michael Faasen gained South Africa some respite when he edged Stone through and over the slips for two boundaries that enabled the home side to avoid the follow on.
But Stone got his man in his next over to give him figures of 4/28 in 6 overs after tea.
With Craig Kirsten unable to bat it brought the last South African player, Lizaad Williams to the crease. Stone eventually ran out of steam to finish with 4/40 in 11 overs and he had to resort to spin to secure the last wicket.
South Africa were dismissed for 194 to give England a very healthy lead of 119 runs. Possibly the only disappointment for the visitors was the bowling of 22 no balls, mostly by Shaw, which was a significant factor in the home side avoiding the follow on.