England yesterday had an extraordinary game changing 200 run partnership and today added more to the lead. Sophie Ecclestone and Nat Sciver stitched a crucial partnership and soon after the wicket of Ecclestone, England declared their innings. South Africa’s little start to their 2nd innings had a couple long rain interruptions, before a 13 over patch at close of play saw lose a couple more wickets.
Day 3, Nat Sciver unbeaten on 119 made her way out to the middle alongside a new partner in Sophie Ecclestone. Nadine de Klerk and Marizaane Kapp got proceedings underway for South Africa. Nat Sciver and Sophie Ecclestone both started off really well. Anne Bosch couldn’t hold on to a return catch and Ecclestone on 18 was given a life. The pair soon put up a fine 50* run stand coming off 82 balls. Nat Sciver on the other end got to the 150* mark off 249 balls and with a boundary got England’s lead past the 100 mark. Mlaba was reintroduced into the attack and got South Africa a much awaited breakthrough, the 86 run stand saw curtains with Sophie Ecclestone departing for a fine 64 ball 35. Kate Cross made her way to the middle, a mixup lead to a run out and Kate walked back 1(2) alongside Nat Sciver as the declaration was signalled with England’s 133 run lead. England closed out on 417-8, Natalie Sciver’s knock of 169* off 263, was just as good a Test knock really can get. For South Africa, Anne Bosch topped the wickets chart with 3 to her name, Mlaba with 2 and Tumi with 1 followed. Marizaane Kapp bowled brilliantly throughout, but a reward never came her way and the same was the case with Nadine de Klerk. South Africa’s 2nd innings was underway, a little passage of play pre-lunch was to be negotiated, but wasn’t to be as Kate Cross struck Andrie Steyn for 3(8) and South Africa were 9-1. Then, there came rain and an early lunch was taken with Laura Wolvaardt 6*(14) and Lara Goodall 0*(3).
After a long delay, play post lunch was underway. Opener, Laura Wolvaardt and Goodall with a serious task in hand went well about their business. With both batters on 12 and South Africa on 27, there again came a rain interruption and this time it forced an early tea break.
After a long delay, conditions did get better and brighter in Taunton and 13 overs were to be bowled. Play resumed, Goodall and Wolvaardt batted positively and with real good intent. Isabelle Wong bowling her 3rd, set up Goodall for the one going down leg and with one a little fuller found the tickle off Goodall’s bat down to Amy Jones and South Africa lost their 2nd on 44 with a positive, Goodall walking back for 26(53). Skipper, Sune Luus walked to the middle and joined Wolvaardt who patiently had the scorecard ticking on one end. Wong in middle of a brilliant spell picked a wicket more, courtesy, Nat Sciver who grabbed an absolute stunner to complete the wicket of Laura Wolvaardt on 16(62) and South Africa having lost a couple in quick succession were 3 down for 45. Tumi as the night-watcher joined her skipper, Luus and the pair safely guided their team to stumps with a 10*(24) run partnership that saw South Africa get to 55-3 at close of play with Tumi 1*(7) and Luus 4*(20).
South Africa still trail by 78 runs and have a massive task in hand. They will wish to try and make a game out of this, but there’s really not a lot South Africa can do in their favour and playing for a draw could be an option, but that potentially could work in England’s hands. Hosts, England will look to get South Africa bowled out cheaply under the 78 run trail or if South Africa get to a lead, England will look to restrict it to as little as possible to quickly chase it down for a win, to have a result for this Test. A very exciting day of Test match cricket is what can be promised for tomorrow, hope the weather stays good for a complete days play.