England’s four half-centurions in the First Test vs South Africa in 2015-16 provide a contrast in how the cricketing Gods dispense their favours: Nick Compton and James Taylor won’t play international cricket again; Joe Root is the new Test captain and Jonny Bairstow has rewritten the record books for wicketkeeper-batsmen. None of that was clear when their contributions with the bat and Man of the Match, Moeen Ali’s seven wickets, got England off to a winning start against a strong South Africa team playing in home conditions.
After Ben Stokes had lifted the ball all but on to the summit of Table Mountain in his pyrotechnic display of hitting at Newlands and Hashim Amla had replied with a valedictory double ton of his own, as he resigned the captaincy, the Third Test on the Highveld of Johannesburg looked critical and so it proved. Honours were even after the first innings, but Stuart Broad did that Stuart Broad thing and England secured the series in 26 crazy overs, the hosts dismissed for 83, Broad bagging the top six in the order for just 17 runs.
In the style of the all-conquering Australia teams of Taylor and Waugh, England were spent by the dead rubber, collapsing to the exciting new talent of Kagiso Rabada – but who cared? In a four Test series, Stokes, Root and Bairstow each scored over 350 runs and Broad, Steven Finn and Ben Stokes averaged less than 30 with the ball. The Basil D’Oliviera Trophy was reclaimed and England had two new box office redheads.
Here is an extended taster of this series. If you like what you hear we have a full archive of all the games we have ever covered along with over 400 of our jingles, some amazing, some not so. But it’s all there for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!