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Englands Sam Curran takes four wickets but De Kock fires 95 to leave South Africa on 277-9 in First Test

SAM CURRAN felt a million dollars under the heat of a burning sun while several of his mates sweltered and almost melted.

Curran took four wickets on day one of the First Test and was reaping the benefits of being one of the few to escape the lurgy these past ten days.

Sam Curran shone for England

It sure does help not being unwell when playing cricket for your country. Currans only ailment was a touch of cramp near the end.

Curran finished with 4-57 – his best Test figures – just a week after picking up a 590,000 bonanza when signed by Chennai Super Kings in the IPL auction. So a pleasing few days for the Surrey all-rounder.

Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock took a heavy toll on Englands under-powered attack with a dazzling innings of 95.

But, considering the health of his bowlers, Joe Root will not be unhappy at having South Africa 277-9 by the close having opted to bowl first.

England will be aware, however, that the pitch at Supersport Park normally shows uneven bounce as the match goes on. Batting last could be hazardous for Root and Co.


Ben Stokes was the latest victim of the illness epidemic that has swept through Englands camp since arriving in South Africa.

Stokes was off the field twice – including the first 75 minutes of the evening session – suffering from dehydration and general roughness. He didnt bowl all day although he did hold two catches.

As if Stokes has not already got enough to worry about with his dad Ged in hospital in Johannesburg. Ged has responded to treatment and his improvement allowed Ben to feel comfortable playing here.

Surrey batsman Ollie Pope would have played here but he, quick bowler Chris Woakes and spinner Jack Leach were all back at the hotel feeling unwell as they had been for the previous two days. England have had a handful of sick players most days on this tour.

Jofra Archer was able to play despite missing all five days of the practice matches but he looked lethargic and below full throttle. His first wicket did not arrive until his 17th over.

Stuart Broad, another not to bowl a ball in anger before this Test, appeared in better shape than Archer and took three wickets, an impressive effort considering his lack of bowling.


James Anderson snared a wicket with the first ball of the match – his 150th Test – but no more in his next 19.5 overs

Temperatures of around 35 degrees and a ground in the South African Highveld at 1,500 metres altitude is the last thing you want when trying to summon up energy after a bout of flu.

There is no doubt Englands bowlers flagged in the second half of the day as the ball softened and de Kock took control. Root and Joe Denly had to fill in as part-time spinners. How England could have done with Moeen Ali, but he is taking a break from Test cricket.

De Kock was brilliant for the hosts

The match started five minutes late because a photographer slipped on a tarpaulin cover near the sightscreen, tore his knee ligaments and had to be taken away on a stretcher.

More drama followed. Andersons loosener down the legside touched left-hander Dean Elgars bat and Anderson became the first England bowler to take a wicket with the first ball of a Test since Ryan Sidebottom dismissed West Indies Daren Ganga at Durham in 20077.

Geoff Arnold (twice) and Maurice Tate are the only other men to achieve the feat for England.

Currans first ball was smacked over extra cover by Aidan Markram but his fourth persuaded the Proteas opener to clip a lower catch to Jonny Bairstow at mid-wicket.

Zubayr Hamza looked good at No.3 before edging Broad low to Stokes at second slip. Debutant Rassie van der Dussen gave Curran his second wicket with an edge to slip and, when Broad had skipper Faf du Plessis held at slip, South Africa were in trouble at 111-5.

But de Kock counter-attacked superbly and found an ally in another debutant, Dwayne Pretorius, and they put on 87 for the sixth wicket.

Pretorius gave Root his third catch and then de Kock, when five short of his century, nicked off to Curran.

The Surrey left-armer gained plenty of his usual swing and also nipped the ball sideways off the surface.

Archer took his first wicket when Stokes, back on the field, held a low catch at second slip to remove Keshav Maharaj.

Then Broad, with the second new ball, bowled Kagiso Rabada with what became the final delivery of the day.