Coca Cola South Africa put justifiable faith in their three-man spin attack – including two leg-spinners – to beat England by 67 runs in the second under-19 Youth Test at Boland Park on Wednesday and share the series 1-1.
The two evenly matched sides now move on to the start of the five-match ODI series at the same venue next Wednesday.
David Bedingham was named Man of the Match for his second innings century that set up the platform from which South Africa could strike for victory while Ollie Stone, the England captain, who was a cut above every other bowler on display and took 17 wickets at minimal cost, was named Man of the Series.
England looked well set to win the match or at least get a draw when their first two wicket partnerships went well past the 50 mark but having to bat last on a crumbling pitch finally caught up with them and the trio of SA spinners took five wickets between them before their fastest bowler, Kagiso Rabada, delivered the final blows.
Ironically, England won the first match at Sahara Park Newlands after being 14/3 in a disastrous opening half-hour and South Africa did the same in the second match, being even worse off at 8/4.
It revealed that both teams played with a lot of character and spirit and were a credit to Test cricket with the final match going down to the start of the final hour.
England had a profitable morning session during which they scored 90 runs for the loss of just one wicket – their series leading runs scorer, Dominic Sibley.
Although the required scoring rate to win the match had risen to 3.3, it was still very much manageable and England in any case looked under little pressure to achieve second prize of a drawn match and a series victory. The home side had not helped themselves with a couple of errors in the field.
Sibley and Jonathan Tattersall put on 63 for the first wicket and then Tattersall and Harry Finch followed with an even bigger partnership of 80 runs before the South African captain Diego Rosier dismissed Finch. Tattersall had in the mean time reached an industrious half-century (159 balls, 2 fours).
Jan Frylinck struck an important blow when he held a superb, diving catch in the covers to give the South Africans a third wicket in an hour’s play that had seen England score 45 runs for the loss of two wickets.
South Africa’s hopes were given a big boost when Rosier and Shaylin Pillay chimed in with wickets to get England five down with the second new ball just seven overs away. The second of these was Tattersall who had been the rock of the innings (63 off 196 balls, 3 fours).
Not surprisingly, South Africa persisted with a dual leg-spin attack, even when the new ball became available and were rewarded with a sixth England wicket.
At tea both sides were well in the game with England needing 122 to win and South Africa needing four wickets. There were still 23 overs left in the day but it was obvious that at least another 10 were likely to be available.
Ed Barnard and Miles Hammond launched a successful counter-attack at the start of the final session, forcing South Africa to take the second new ball with England having reduced their target to 82 runs.
The move proved immediately successful although it was the spin of Michael Faasen that did the trick, trapping Barnard leg before wicket with an arm ball.
Kagiso Rabada dismissed Stone immediately afterwards and then Hammond, England’s last recognised batsman, tried to hit Faasen over the top and fell to a good running catch by Rosier in the deep.
That brought England’s last pair together with 68 runs still needed. Last man Gavin Griffiths only lasted two balls against Rabada to give South Africa victory by 67 runs.