England v South Africa: Test drawn after rain ruins final day

1 month ago 360
South Africa 284 (Kapp 150, Cross 4-63) & 181-5 (Kapp 43*, Wong 2-46)
England 417-8 dec (Sciver 169*, Davidson-Richards 107)
Match drawn; multi-format series level at 2-2
Scorecard

England's push for victory over South Africa was ruined by rain on the fourth and final day as the one-off Test at Taunton ended in a draw.

Two heavy showers meant only 43 overs of play were possible, leaving South Africa 181-5, 48 ahead and with England denied the opportunity of a run chase.

England had managed to remove Sune Luus and Lizelle Lee, but were frustrated by nightwatcher Tumi Sekhukhune, who faced 134 balls for her 33 not out.

Marizanne Kapp added an unbeaten 43 to the 150 she scored in South Africa's first innings.

Each team takes two points in the multi-format series, which now moves on to three one-day internationals, starting at Northampton on 11 July.

The result also means England remain without a Test victory since winning in Australia in 2014, while their last success at home was 17 years ago.

Wet finish adds fuel to five-day debate

Yet another drawn women's Test - the last six across the globe since 2015 have ended in draws - will once again fuel the debate as to whether they should be played over five days.

A women's Test is scheduled for 400 overs, only 50 fewer than a men's, but any rain has a greater impact because of the lack of the fifth day.

All three of England's Test matches in the past year have been affected by wet weather - this one has been robbed of more than an entire day's play.

This contest, South Africa's first Test since 2014, has been an excellent advert for the women's game, including fine hundreds from Kapp, Nat Sciver and Alice Davidson-Richards, along with superb bowling spells by Issy Wong and Anneke Bosch.

But, any debate over the format and future of women's Test cricket will soon be paused - there is not likely to be another Test anywhere in the world until England meet Australia in the Ashes next summer.

Wong shines again before South Africa battle

The two wickets taken by pace bowler Wong late on day three had boosted England's victory hopes, but she was curiously unused in the early part of a day that South Africa began on 55-3, 78 behind.

Kate Cross had trapped Luus lbw for 10 by the time Wong was introduced, sparking a thrilling duel with Lee.

Bowling at high pace, Wong swung the ball to tease Lee's outside edge and used the bouncer to test her mettle. When Lee offered an edge on 13, wicketkeeper Amy Jones could not cling on.

Lee counter-punched, pulling and driving, but her eagerness was also her undoing, and when she miscued an attempt at a lofted drive at spinner Sophie Ecclestone on 36, Cross took an excellent catch running back at mid-off.

South Africa were still 15 behind when the obdurate Sekhukhune was joined by Kapp for what proved to be an unbroken partnership of 63.

In this one innings, the left-handed Sekhukhune has scored more runs and faced more deliveries than she had in her previous international career of 24 one-dayers and 24 T20s.

The first rain arrived just after 13:00 BST, keeping the players off until 15:50. When they returned, a supposed 49.3 overs were left in the day, but only 11 were bowled before more bad weather at 16:30.

In that time Sekhukhune was dropped at second slip by Ecclestone off Wong, an error that was ultimately academic in the context of the result.

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