Taunton, June 28 (IANS) South Africa all-rounder Marizanne Kapp saved the tourists the blushes in the one-off Test against England Women at the Cooper Associates County Ground, smashing 150, embellished with 26 boundaries, as the Proteas reached a competitive 284 all out on the opening day of the match.
Kapp’s special innings on Monday saved her side from collapse at a time when the entire top and middle order was wiped out by Kate Cross (4/63) and Lauren Bell (2/47). England debutant Issy Wong provided the key breakthrough at the top when she dismissed one of the best batters in the world Laura Wolvaardt for just 16.
Striking at the end of her second over, the young England pacer managed to nip one between Wolvaardt’s bat and pad, sending the woodwork flying.
Bowling 13 of her side’s overs, Wong went at 4.15 runs per over and her unsettling pace and swing asked enough questions to suggest she will be a key asset for the side moving forward. Fellow debutant Bell was solid with the new ball, though she struck coming back later in the day, claiming Lizelle Lee lbw (0) and Marizanne Kapp after registering a brilliant hundred.
Fellow debutant, batting all-rounder Alice Davidson-Richards, also provided a steady seam option, dismissing Nadine de Klerk for nine.
It could well have been a disastrous first day for the Proteas had it not been for a superb knock from Kapp. Cool and composed, she showed patience against unrelenting England bowling pressure.
Walking out at 45/4, Kapp was unperturbed by the loss of skipper Sune Luus, combining in a 72-run partnership with Anneke Bosch to take some of the momentum back. Bosch fell for 30, though the years of Kapp’s international experience counted, as the right-hander carried on with the lower order.
On 59 as Nadine de Klerk walked out at No.8, Kapp was brilliant with the bowlers, stealing strike where possible, continuing her counter while coaching her partners throughout the day.
In the end it took an excellent catch from Tammy Beaumont at full stretch to dismiss the all-rounder, though Kapp had done enough to put the pressure back on the hosts by the end of the day.
England’s women have been a part of two tightly-contested Tests in the past year, with India holding out for a draw in Bristol in the last English summer, and a final-over thriller in Canberra during the women’s Ashes in Australia.
As Australia were denied by the England tail, the lessons from both matches are likely to bode well for the hosts in the Test agains the Proteas, as they begin their charge with the bat on the second morning, according to ICC. Emma Lamb will likely open the batting with Tammy Beaumont, with the experience of captain Heather Knight and Nat Sciver set to drive the hosts forward.
Brief scores: South Africa Women 284 in 91.4 overs (Marizanne Kapp 150, Anneke Bosch 30; Kate Cross 4/63, Lauren Bell 2/47) vs England Women.