England FIVE wickets down at lunch against South Africa

England FIVE wickets down at lunch and in serious trouble as South Africa series gets off to a dreadful start… as Jonny Bairstow is clean bowled for a DUCK and skipper Ben Stokes falls just before the interval at Lord’s

  • England reached lunch on 100 for five in the first Test against South Africa 
  • Another top order batting collapse immediately left them on back foot at Lord’s
  • Openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley both fell for single figures to Kagiso Rabada
  • Joe Root could only make eight and Jonny Bairstow was bowled without scoring
  • Ben Stokes fell to Anrich Nortje on the stroke of the lunch interval  

England’s all-too-familiar top order failings left them immediately on the back foot at the beginning of their series with South Africa.

They reached lunch on the opening day at Lord’s on 100 for five after their opening pair of Alex Lees and Zak Crawley, in-form Yorkshiremen Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, and captain Ben Stokes all fell.

But there was at least some resistance from Ollie Pope, who defied a ferocious barrage from Kagiso Rabada and Co to reach the interval on an unbeaten 51.

Jonny Bairstow is clean bowled by Anrich Nortje as England suffered another batting collapse

Bairstow has been England’s main man all summer but his middle stump was removed here

It was comprehensively South Africa’s morning at Lord’s as their bowlers ripped England apart

This will now be a stern examination of the ‘Bazball’ principles that served England so well in the Tests against New Zealand and India earlier this summer.

For one thing, they won’t be chasing a victory target in the fourth innings after South Africa captain Dean Elgar won the toss and elected to bowl.

So the question now is whether they can forge enough middle and lower-order partnerships to post a competitive first innings total.

It did feel slightly ridiculous that the first Test of this summer’s hallmark series was starting two weeks into the football season.

Joe Root was out LBW off the bowling of Marco Jansen after making just eight for England 

Root wasn’t saved on review as he fell cheaply during England’s collapse

South Africa were immediately boosted when Elgar confirmed that Rabada had overcome an ankle injury suffered during the final T20 fixture against England.

Stokes admitted he too would have elected to bowl after being put in to bat for the first time since he took charge of the Test team.

And it took barely any time for Rabada to underline his importance to South Africa when he took the wicket of Lees for five in the third over.

Lees had already lived dangerously when he thick edged over the slips but his luck expired later in the same over when another beauty from the seamer saw the opener edge behind to wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne.

Crawley one again went for a single-figure score – nine – and his place at the top of England’s order must be under serious scrutiny if it wasn’t already.

He has returned a high score of 46 in nine Test innings during a lean summer and Rabada roughed him up with a bouncer before finding the edge to Aiden Markram at second slip.

South Africa’s Anrich Nortje celebrates taking the wicket of England captain Ben Stokes

Stokes fell to the final ball before lunch after making 20 with England deep in the mire

That left England on 25 for two and South Africa soon strengthened their grip when Root was dismissed for eight.

Marco Jansen and Anrich Nortje had maintained the early pressure and the former produced the inswinger that thudded into Root’s pads.

His review confirmed the ball was clipping the stumps via umpire’s call after the finger had been raised on the field.

Bairstow has come to England’s rescue on multiple occasions this summer but not this time as Nortje sent his stumps flying as the No 5 attempted the drive.

That reduced England to 55 for four and Pope formed a productive stand with Stokes to carry England to triple figures.

Pope was anchoring the innings and reached his half-century to applause.

However, Stokes fell on the stroke of lunch, caught by Keegan Petersen off the bowling of Nortje to leave England in another deep hole.

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