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SA fast bowler Anrich Nortje happy to be back and part of Proteas attack

LONDON: Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje said he was just delighted to be back in Test cricket again after helping the Proteas secure a sensational first Test victory against England that came inside three days at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. 

The Proteas produced one of their most emphatic bowling displays in recent memory to win by an innings and 12 runs at the ‘Home of Cricket’.

In a powerful performance, the Gbets Warriors paceman ended with a match haul of six for 100 – sharing 13 wickets with Player of the Match Kagiso Rabada (5/52 and 2/27).

The match was a first in the longest format for Nortje in 14 months after back and hip injuries hampered him over the past year.

“I’m really happy with the way things went,” the 28-year-old said after the game. “I didn’t expect it (the match to end so quickly) at all.

“I’m really happy to be bowling with the red ball again. I’m really excited to be with the team, it’s an unbelievable attack. KG did unbelievably well and well done to everyone for that. The guys have shown what they can do and everyone covers a different aspect in their own department and that’s really good, but for me I’m just pleased to be back in the red-ball set-up again.”

It was a proficient performance all-round by the South Africans, who bundled England out for scores of 165 and 149 in a mere 82.4 overs.

The result ended a four-match winning streak by the hosts, who will now be expected to bounce back strongly in the second Test.

But Nortje added: “We haven’t paid too much attention to what they want to do, we’re focused on ourselves. We’ll have to start from scratch for the next game and find the areas where we can improve. I do think there’s periods and areas and short stages where we lost a bit of momentum.

“So we’re not looking too much at them, we want to control what we can. Like they always say, control the controllables and not look too far ahead, just try and execute what we want to.”

Captain Dean Elgar, meanwhile, also hailed his team for their all-round professional performance.

“Everyone was brilliant,” he stated. “Sure there’s a few guys who had some great individual performances, but I think a lot of guys influenced in moments where there were pressure situations, be it a slip catch or a good stop that influenced the next ball where there was the outcome of a potential wicket.

“I think our batting was pretty solid, especially the middle to late order. They really came out and played the situation to a T. That’s the kind of awareness that I’m trying to create with the guys and they need to identify those moments and play the game as they see it. It’s the nature that needs to come and there’s lots of learnings still to come for everyone.

“But it was a great win. I didn’t wake up this morning (Friday) thinking that I’ll be doing a presser before five-o-clock. I definitely didn’t think that. So yes, it was a pretty special performance and a squad performance.”

“We need to enjoy the moment having achieved this feat at a really unique place, a sold-out Lord’s on a Friday, it’s pretty big and it’s special for a lot of guys who haven’t experience that before. So we’ll enjoy it for the next two days before we focus on the next Test.”

It was only England’s fourth ever innings defeat at Lord’s, the Proteas now being responsible for two of those thumping wins including the last one that came by Graeme Smith’s lead team in 2003.

Mark Boucher’s side, currently top of the ICC World Test Championship, will now take a 1-0 lead into the second match starting at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester next Thursday.

Proteas Test squad against England

Dean Elgar (captain), Sarel Erwee, Marco Jansen, Simon Harmer, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Keegan Petersen, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Lutho Sipamla, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Khaya Zondo, Glenton Stuurman.

Tests

17 – 21 August  

England lost to South Africa by an innings and 12 runs – Lord’s Cricket Ground, London

25 – 29 August  

England vs South Africa – Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

08 – 12 September 

England vs South Africa – Kia Oval, London

 

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