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South African batsmen left me surprised: Dom Bess

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England off spinner Dominic Bess expressed his surprise at the approach that the South African batsmen took against him in the Test Series earlier this year. Speaking on the Sky Sports podcast, the 22 year old from Somerset said, “In Cape Town where it was, I think, a very good wicket, and people weren’t going after me, I was so surprised about that,” Bess said.

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England won their first ever Test match at Cape Town in 63 years, by 189 runs. Bess got the South African captain, Faf du Plessis out quite cheaply, as he swept a flighted delivery pitched just outside off stump straight to the hands of Joe Denly at square leg. Bess had the following to say about that wicket, “When I got Faf out, he nailed one straight to square leg, that was quite a surprising moment for me,”

He continued, “First because how hasn’t that gone for six? And then how the lads came in after that, they were blocking me when I thought they could be caressing me through extra cover. That was quite a surprise.”

‘I’ve seen these players on TV as I’ve grown up and I’m thinking ‘God they’re going to take me down here,’ Bess concluded.

Bess ended up taking a wicket in each innings of the Test match, conceding runs at a miserly rate of 2.3 and 1.7 runs per over only. He came into the team as a replacement for fellow Somerset left arm spinner Jack Leach, who was sent home upon falling ill right after landing in South Africa. Bess went on to take 8 wickets in the Test series at an average of 25.75.

South Africa were set a target of 438 by England. They brought in down to 312 runs to get in the final day. Normally on a day 5 pitch, teams would not have gone for the win, but given England had only one frontline spinner, and there still wasn’t much to offer for the spinners, with 8 wickets in hand, and a well set Pieter Malan at the crease, South Africa could have made an attempt to score quick runs. Although, credit to the English quicks too, they bowled tight lines on a flat surface to reap rewards. England went on to win the rest of the Test matches, thereby winning the series 3-1, a rare away Test series win for a team in recent times.