Temba Bavuma struck 16 fours in a superb exhibition of clean striking as South Africa made 627 for seven before declaring © Getty Images (File Photo)
Temba Bavuma struck 16 fours in a superb exhibition of clean striking as South Africa made 627 for seven before declaring © Getty Images (File Photo)

By Colin Bryden

Cape Town: Hashim Amla hit a double century but it was Temba Bavuma who lit up Newlands with a maiden hundred as South Africa batted their way to safety on the fourth day of the second Test against England on Tuesday. Bavuma, the first black African batsman to play Test cricket for South Africa, struck 16 fours in a superb exhibition of clean striking as South Africa made 627 for seven before declaring two runs short of England’s first innings total of 629 for six declared. England reached 16 for no wicket at the close. They will go into the last day with an overall lead of 18 runs. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: South Africa vs England 2015-16, 2nd Test at Cape Town

Amla made 201 and Bavuma 102 not out in a South African innings which lasted for 211 overs and more than two days. Bavuma, 25, said he accepted that his race added significance to his achievement and that he had the potential to inspire many young black Africans, not least those from Langa, the township near Cape Town where he grew up. “It’s a whole lot of pressure to be honest,” he said. “I understand the significance. It’s not just me walking on the field. I looked today at the kids playing mini cricket at lunchtime. Half those kids come from Langa and a lot of those kids know my name. When I go back to Langa I know I’ll have those kids running around me.”

Bavuma said, though, that the pressure of being a role model was not necessarily exceptional. “There is a lot of pressure but it is international cricket and it comes with a lot of pressure. Everyone faces different pressures — you’ve just got to find a way to deal with it.” South Africa’s innings featured three partnerships of more than 150. Amla was involved in the first two big stands, 183 for the third wicket with AB de Villiers (88) and 171 for the fourth with Faf du Plessis (86).

But there was still some alarm for South Africa when three wickets, including those of Amla and Du Plessis, fell to the third new ball soon after lunch. Bavuma and new cap Chris Morris came together with their side still 180 runs behind with five wickets remaining and England still hoping to secure a good first innings lead. But the pair played fearless cricket and added 167 runs, a South African seventh wicket partnership record against England. “I’ve played a lot with Chris and he is a naturally attacking player with a lot of flair. From my point of view I just tried to play the ball as it comes and to take scoring opportunities if they were there,” said Bavuma.

Kept nagging

Bavuma raced to 50 off 52 balls with 11 fours. He was made to work harder for his second fifty, reaching his hundred off 140 deliveries with a thick edge off Steven Finn which went to the boundary for his 16th four. “I got to 80 and I felt I was on nought,” he said. “Stuart Broad was bowling and I found him quite tough. I tried to do a few different things to unsettle him but he kept nagging on that good length. I thought to myself, if I don’t get to that milestone [100] maybe it’s not meant to be. I just tried to take it ball by ball and luckily things came through.”

Bavuma was on the receiving end of some harsh words from England all-rounder Ben Stokes, but he was the first England player to congratulate the batsman when he left the field. “He’s a tough competitor. His words just fired me a bit more to knuckle down and concentrate more. Afterwards he came up to me to say, well done, so I respect him for that,” said Bavuma of his rival.

England’s bowlers toiled with minimal reward on a pitch which offered no assistance. Their cause was not helped by a rash of missed chances, with nine catches going down in the innings. “We’re extremely disappointed that we missed chances. But the upside is that we created chances on a flat pitch,” said England assistant coach Paul Farbrace. Amla benefited from four dropped or missed catches, while De Villiers, Du Plessis, Bavuma and Morris (two) all gave chances.