Tag Archives: innings

Steven Finn puts in mature display as nightwatchman

Finn curbs his instincts to deliver one of the great nightwatchman innings in Dunedin

By
Ian Prince

PUBLISHED:

07:01 GMT, 10 March 2013

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UPDATED:

09:55 GMT, 10 March 2013

As Steven Finn made his way to the University Oval this morning, he discussed the day ahead with a member of England's support staff.

The conversation went something like this: 'How are you feeling'

'Good,' said the fast bowler. 'I know I need to bat a long time but there's this little devil on my shoulder telling me to play some shots.'

Assured: Steven Finn put in a mature performance at the crease and hit 56 runs in Dunedin

Assured: Steven Finn put in a mature performance at the crease and hit 56 runs in Dunedin

'Don't listen to it,' came the sensible reply.

Finn did just that, curbing his inner devil to help save this first Test and put New Zealand's bowlers through hell in Dunedin as he produced one of the great nightwatchman innings in the history of English cricket.

Before he took guard on the fourth evening following the dismissal of his captain Alastair Cook, Finn had batted a combined total of 291 minutes across 20 previous Test innings. By the time he was out in the second over after tea today, he had batted for 286.

In one knock he'd managed to cram in almost his entire Test batting career to date.

It was the second longest innings by an England nightwatchman, bettered only by the 306 minutes Jack Russell spent at the crease in a losing cause against the West Indies in Bridgetown, Barbados, in 1990. Russell, who batted at seven and finished his career with two Test centuries, is lucky to be classed as a nightwatchman given his pedigree with the bat.

Finn had little before this match, making his achievement even greater. His score, 56, was his highest in first-class cricket, beating the 32 he made against Essex at Lord's in 2011. His previous Test best was the 20 he managed in the first innings here.

Not since Alex Tudor's 99 against New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999 has an England nightwatchman made more.

While much has been made of Finn's express pace – it is thought he could develop into England's first 100mph bowler – it is his presence in the dressing-room which has made a big impression on director of cricket Andy Flower in recent months.

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

And we're off: Finn substituted risky shots for sensible batting to help England draw the Test

At just 23 years of age, he is said by insiders within the camp to be an increasingly influential voice, keen to take on more responsibility.

Given his age, some have tipped him to one day take over the Test captaincy from Cook, five years his senior.

It was that willingness to take on responsibility which came to the fore on day five in Dunedin. When he started his epic knock yesterday, England were 231 for one, still 62 runs behind New Zealand's first innings total.

When he was eventually out early in the evening session today, trapped lbw by spinner Bruce Martin, his side were 93 runs ahead.

He had batted for 33 overs, more than an entire session, and it's fair to say that without Finn's dogged contribution, England would have not saved this match.

Graham Onions, Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar have gone down in folklore for their tailend defiance, the former saving two Test matches in South Africa in 2009/10 and the latter pair famously denying the Australians victory in the opening Test of the 2009 Ashes in Cardiff.

Gotcha: Finn was eventually bowled out lbw shortly after securing his half century

Gotcha: Finn was eventually bowled out lbw shortly after securing his half century

Happy: Both Finn (pictured) and Jonathan Trott made strides to help England avoid defeat

Happy: Both Finn (pictured) and Jonathan Trott made strides to help England avoid defeat

But Finn showed even more grit, at one point on the final afternoon digging in for 49 balls without scoring. In total he went 72 minutes without a run during a session in which he accumulated just 14.

He may have made Nick Compton look like Chris Gayle but the self-control and discipline he showed in curbing the devil inside his head shows what strong stuff mentally Finn is made of.

After the match, Cook confirmed Finn will now take nightwatchman duties away from the previous incumbent James Anderson permanently.

Following a display like this, it appears a wise choice.

Jimmy Anderson on cloud nine after dismissing Sachin Tendulkar – Lawrence Booth

Top Spin at the Test: 'Burnley Express' on cloud nine

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UPDATED:

19:50 GMT, 14 December 2012

When Jimmy Anderson knocked back Sachin Tendulkar's middle stump via an inside edge to dismiss him for just two, it was the ninth time in Tests Anderson has got his man – the most by any bowler during Tendulkar's 194-match career, one clear of Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. In all, Anderson has trapped Tendulkar lbw three times, bowled him twice and had him caught behind and in the slips twice each.

Tormentor: James Anderson (file image)

Tormentor: James Anderson (file image)

Sehwag's unwanted record

Tendulkar may not be the only Indian batsman developing a complex about Anderson. Virender Sehwag also lost his middle stump to the England bowler, thus completing his 16th Test duck – a record for an Indian recognised batsman. Seven of those blobs have come against England, with Anderson now his chief tormentor, having also removed him for nought at Mumbai in March 2006 and at Edgbaston in August 2011.

Cheteshwar Pujara became the latest victim of a poor umpiring decision in this series when he was given out by Rod Tucker caught at short leg off his elbow. Despite that, it was a superb reflex catch by Ian Bell, who had resumed his customary position under the helmet after Joe Root had missed a chance there seven overs earlier, failing to stay down and getting hit flush on the right shin as Pujara played forward to Monty Panesar.

Root is up in good company

Only three England batsmen have made more runs in their debut Test innings against India than Joe Root's 73. Kent's Bryan Valentine hit 136 at the Brabourne Stadium in what was then Bombay way back in December 1933, while Owais Shah managed 88 at Mumbai's newer Wankhede Stadium in March 2006, an innings in which he was affected by wrist cramps. Lancashire's Geoff Pullar hit 75 at Headingley in 1959.

Swann is flying again

When Graeme Swann made 85 against South Africa at Centurion three years ago, hopes were high that England were uncovering a bowling all-rounder. But his 56 yesterday was his first half-century since that Test, in which time – until yesterday – he had scored only 679 Test runs at an average of 18. The way he timed Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla for sixes was a long overdue reminder of what he is capable of.

Sachin Tendulkar"s wait for his next Test hundred goes on: Top Spin at the Test

Top Spin at the Test: The wait goes on as Tendulkar's ton proves elusive

PUBLISHED:

22:56 GMT, 5 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:56 GMT, 5 December 2012

Sachin Tendulkar’s highest Test innings since he made 80 at Sydney in January could not disguise the fact that his last 29 visits to the crease have failed to produce a Test hundred. That is comfortably the longest century-less drought of his career, stretching all the way back to his 146 in Cape Town in January 2011. The sense of disappointment yesterday at Eden Gardens when he edged Jimmy Anderson to Matt Prior was almost tangible.

Disappointment: Sachin Tendulkar missed out on a century

Disappointment: Sachin Tendulkar missed out on a century

Sachin eclipses sunny record
For all his frustration, Tendulkar did tick off yet another milestone. When he clipped Monty Panesar for a single shortly after lunch, he completed 34,000 runs in all international cricket. He won’t be caught any time soon: next in the list is former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who retired on Monday with 27,483 runs to his name. Tendulkar also became India’s leading Test run-scorer against England, passing Sunil Gavaskar, who hit 2,483.

Bogie man: Hansie Cronje took Tendulkar's wicket five times in his career

Bogie man: Hansie Cronje took Tendulkar's wicket five times in his career

Cronje chips in on Tendulkar's list
The eight bowlers to have dismissed Tendulkar five times or more in Tests include some of the modern fast-bowling greats: Anderson (eight times), Glenn McGrath (six), Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Allan Donald (all five). But one name stands out on the list: the late South Africa captain Hansie Cronje also took Tendulkar’s wicket in Tests on five occasions with his gentle medium-pace — a stat made all the more remarkable by the fact that Cronje managed only 43 wickets in his 68 Tests.

Sharp Samit proves his point
Samit Patel has often incurred the wrath of team director Andy Flower for his lack of sharpness in the field, but his hard work on the boundary led to the run-out that changed England’s day. Virender Sehwag had his eye on a third after working Anderson through midwicket, but Patel chased down the stroke and then flicked the ball up to Steven Finn, who hurled it to Matt Prior at the striker’s end with Sehwag stranded mid-pitch.

On his toes: Samit Patel's alert fielding led to a run-out

On his toes: Samit Patel's alert fielding led to a run-out

Gambhir changes his tune
When Gautam Gambhir was asked how disappointed Tendulkar would be to miss out on a hundred, he replied: ‘It’s not about hundreds or individuals. It’s about what the team does together.’ This hymn to team spirit raised eyebrows among those who recall him exposing the India tail on the fourth morning in Mumbai, where cynics wondered whether he was more concerned with carrying his bat than actually saving a game India went on to lose by 10 wickets.

Amla and De Villiers put South Africa in commanding position in final Aussie Test

Amla and De Villiers put South Africa in commanding position in final Aussie Test

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UPDATED:

11:04 GMT, 2 December 2012

Australia need a daunting 592 runs to win the third Test against South Africa after the tourists dominated the third day at Perth.

Hashim Amla and and AB De Villiers both made big hundreds as the Proteas looked well set to win the three-match series 1-0.

Amla fell just short a double-century and De Villiers made 169 as Graeme Smith`s men closed their second innings on 569 to set the home side a victory target of 632. They closed on 40 without loss.

In form: South Africa's Hashim Amla helped his side to a commanding lead

In form: South Africa's Hashim Amla helped his side to a commanding lead

South Africa had taken control of the series decider on day two and closed at 230 for two, 292 runs in front.

with another boundary.

Helping hand: AB de Villiers was also in impressive form for South Africa

Helping hand: AB de Villiers was also in impressive form for South Africa

Kallis eventually departed for 37 in 65 balls, top-edging a Mitchell Starc bouncer to Johnson at fine leg.

Amla's innings was unaffected and De Villiers offered solid support to accompany him to lunch, grinding out 18 runs in the process. /12/02/article-2241766-165040DB000005DC-808_468x307.jpg” width=”468″ height=”307″ alt=”Fighting back: Australia's David Warner made a steady start” class=”blkBorder” />

Fighting back: Australia's David Warner made a steady start

Robin Peterson had failed to trouble the scorers when he was caught by Johnson off Starc with the total on 539 for seven.

Starc went on to claim his fourth wicket when De Villiers fell for 169, caught behind by Matthew Wade after an innings that included 21 fours and three sixes and coming off just 184 balls, with the total on 557 and the lead at over 600.

Starc made it a five-wicket haul when Dale Steyn clipped a rising ball behind to Wade and departed for eight.

Starc finished with six for 154 as he bowled Morne Morkel for a duck to end the South Africa innings 569 on and a lead of 631.

Australia's reply had reached 40 without loss, with David Warner on 29 and Ed Cowan nine not out from 13 overs when the third day's play came to a close.

That left the home side still needing 592 runs to win or two days to bat out and save the Test and deny the Proteas what would be a series-winning victory in a match which carries the extra bounty of the world No 1 spot.

Sachin Tendulkar"s future in doubt as he heads towards 40

Whispers grow louder about Tendulkar's future as he approaches 40

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 27 November 2012

The future of Sachin Tendulkar was on the lips of almost every Indian after the selectors made just one change to a 15-man squad for next week’s third Test.

With seamer Ashok Dinda coming in for the injured Umesh Yadav, the players who lost so heavily here have been given the chance to redeem themselves in Kolkata. And all eyes will be on Tendulkar.

India’s most marketable export has endured runs of bad form before but his failure at the Wankhede, where he was removed twice for eight by Monty Panesar, means he has scored 153 runs in his last 10 Test innings.

Doubts: Sachin Tendulkar will be 40 in April and his future in the game is being discussed frequently by Indian media

Doubts: Sachin Tendulkar will be 40 in April and his future in the game is being discussed frequently by Indian media

Barely a news show goes by in India without a former player commenting on Tendulkar’s future. He turns 40 in April and locals are fretting.

Seven times in those 10 innings Tendulkar has been bowled or lbw; previously, those modes of dismissal accounted for only 38 per cent of his innings. ‘My concern is whether that great mind is tired of concentrating as the way he has been getting bowled suggests,’ said former Test spinner Maninder Singh.

India fans have other concerns, too, and the selectors rowed back from their plan to name a squad for the last two Tests.

Fail in Kolkata, it seems, and you may miss out in Nagpur.

No 6 Yuvraj Singh and off-spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin are particularly vulnerable.

Top spin at the Test: Spinners slow down "new Dravid"

Top spin at the Test: Spinners slow down 'new Dravid'

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UPDATED:

20:19 GMT, 23 November 2012

Cheteshwar Pujara is apparently immovable but England may have gained an insight into how to slow him down. Against the two seamers Pujara scored 47 runs off 99 balls, a strike rate of 47. But against the three spinners – including Samit Patel – he managed 67 runs off 190 balls, a less imposing strike rate of 35. Small mercies. After making 87 against England for Mumbai A earlier in the trip, Pujara has now faced 719 balls – only two fewer than the rest of India's top seven put together.

Cheteshwar Pujara

Assured: Cheteshwar Pujara

Broad's economy trouble

Stuart Broad had a pop at pros-turned-pundits on Twitter in the build-up to this Test. A few wickets yesterday might have strengthened his case. Instead, Broad, who was suffering from an upset stomach, drew a costly blank: his 12 overs cost 60. Only once before, against West Indies at Lord's in 2009, has he bowled more than 10 overs in a Test innings for a worse economy rate than the 5.0 here.

Yuvraj is left all at sea

When Yuvraj Singh walked out to bat, he must have known what was coming. Alastair Cook whisked Jimmy Anderson out of the attack and tossed the ball to Graeme Swann. Sure enough, Yuvraj was bowled by the first delivery he faced. But he has some way to go to match another Indian lefty: in 2011, Swann dismissed Suresh Raina for ducks three times, including twice at The Oval.

Sachin Tendulkar just keeps getting
bowled. Admittedly, the Monty Panesar delivery was a beauty, but
Sachin's stumps have been rattled six times in his last 13 innings.
Before that, you had to go back 42 innings to find the previous six
times he'd been bowled.

Sachin Tendulkar can bow out on his own terms – Martin Samuel

Little Master can bow out on his own terms

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UPDATED:

21:15 GMT, 15 November 2012

Sir Don Bradman was out for a duck in his final Test innings. Nijinsky lost his last two races. Bobby Moore was eventually dropped by Sir Alf Ramsey. Brian Clough was relegated with Nottingham Forest.

It comes for them all in the end. Brigitte Bardot stopped making films before she turned 40. She said it was the only elegant way to end her career. The greats of sport rarely possess such insight. As Sachin Tendulkar holed out to Samit Patel on the leg-side boundary yesterday, opinion instantly divided as to whether this was just an uncommonly bad trot that would soon be rectified, or the continued betrayal of the talent of the greatest batsman of modern times.

A professional controversialist could achieve easy notoriety in these parts by rubbishing the latter career of the Little Master. Tendulkar provokes such devotion in his homeland that his cheap dismissal by England here was being rewritten as a small triumph in some quarters, because it made him the only Indian batsman not to be clean bowled by Graeme Swann. It is doubtful he saw it that way.

Little Master: Tendulkar failed to make big runs in the first innings against England

Little Master: Tendulkar failed to make big runs in the first innings against England

Tendulkar tucked Swann away to the boundary to take his score to 13 and, from the next ball, played a simply woeful shot, snaffled by Patel, who had been placed there for precisely that purpose.

The silence that befell the arena in the dusty Motera district echoed the shock of a death in the family. All day, locals had been arriving at the gates of the Sardar Patel Stadium, inspired by the news that India had won the toss and would bat.

They were delighted by the return to form of Virender Sehwag and Gujarat’s Chetesh-war Pujara, but there was one man above all they had come to see. It was 23 years to the day since he made his debut for India and this was his 315th Test innings, but India will never tire of the flashing blade of Tendulkar.

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‘There is something special about bowling to him in India,’ said Swann. ‘Just the noise as he is about to come out to bat. You know who it is before he has left the changing room. You can tell this is the greatest batsman to still be playing the game. So getting him out means a lot; and not just getting him out, but getting him out early.’

Twenty-five minutes and 18 balls of early, to be precise. This on a track that saw Sehwag hit his first Test century in two years and Pujara close the day on 98 not out in only his sixth Test.

The roar as Tendulkar emerged made the 54,000-capacity stadium sound as if his devotees were hanging from the rafters — the estimated 10,000 crowd was better than expected but still a small disappointment in a country so in love with the game — but on his return to the pavilion it felt more like Mudville, the setting for the famous baseball poem, Casey At The Bat: ‘Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.’

That is what India’s Casey does a lot
these days, too. His Test scores this year read: 41, 80, 15, 8, 25, 13,
19, 17, 27 and now 13. His last Test century was in Cape Town against
South Africa in January 2011.

He has scored two centuries since
October 2010 and he has been bowled in five of his Test dismissals in
the last 12 months. At the start of his career it took bowlers four
years — and 42 innings — to find his stumps five times.

Day of toil: England were made to work hard for their wickets - of which Swann (below) duly obliged four

Day of toil: England were made to work hard for their wickets – of which Swann (below) duly obliged four

Day of toil: England were made to work hard for their wickets - of which Swann (below) duly obliged four

And there is the problem. Plainly, Tendulkar — the only batsman whose name can be mentioned in the same breath as Bradman — has earned the right to take leave of the stage on his terms. Plainly, there is nobody within Indian cricket, not even strong-willed coach Duncan Fletcher, who would presume to usher him away a moment before he was ready.

Yet great sportsmen are notoriously poor judges of when to leave the crowd wanting more. Tendulkar lives for cricket; in India it is not unreasonable to conclude that cricket lives for him. He plainly believes he has more to give, and perhaps he does.

So how does this end When the time comes, as it did for the others that made India the greatest Test team in the world, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, who will be brave enough to call time on the career of the great Tendulkar Will he; will they How does a man with 15,546 Test runs know when, or where, to stop At the end of this series It is hardly likely.

The presumption has always been that, when it is right, Tendulkar will bow out in fitting surroundings, such as his home town of Mumbai, India’s cricket capital. Yet the next Test is to be played in Mumbai.

The final Test of England’s tour is in Nagpur, at a stadium that has only been open for Test matches four years. It does not have the feel of a venue at which India should say farewell to its greatest sporting hero.

Penny for 'em: Mionty was on the sidelines when he should have been out in the middle

Penny for 'em: Mionty was on the sidelines when he should have been out in the middle

Indeed, who would even have the temerity to raise such a dreadful subject It may have been another day to forget for Tendulkar here but, closing at 323 for four, how much of India’s imposing performance was inspired by his presence The young players idolise him, contemporaries revere him, England’s delight at claiming his wicket did not suggest a hollow triumph over some weak link. No player could bring to the team spirit what Tendulkar does and maybe that alone is enough.

On Wednesday, the day before the game, as the majority of his team-mates retired to the shade of their air-conditioned changing room, one batsman continued to toil in the sweltering nets. Maybe, deep down, the Little Master knows times are changing, but who can blame him for trying with every last sinew of his strength to resist, or change them back To the days when those who trekked to Motera would not have merely glimpsed greatness, but gloried in it, ball by ball, over by over, run by run, hour by hour.

‘Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell; It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell; It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat, For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.’ As heroes do. Until there really is nothing more to give.

San Francisco Giants beat Detroit Tigers 4-3 to win Baseball"s World Series

Giants complete sweep to beat Tigers and secure second World Series in three years

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UPDATED:

07:45 GMT, 29 October 2012

The San Francisco Giants secured a second World Series title in three years on Sunday night, defeating the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in 10 innings at Comerica Park to seal a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven series.

Detroit headed into game four looking to become the first team in World Series history to overturn a 3-0 series deficit, San Francisco having dominated the first three games.

The Tigers produced by far their best account of the series in forcing the game to extra innings before the Giants got over the line, Marco Scutaro singling home the tie-breaking run in the 10th inning before Sergio Romo closed out the win.

Big win: The Giants are improbable champions after spending most of October battling against elimination

Big win: The Giants are improbable champions after spending most of October battling against elimination

Winning feeling: San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean carries the World Series Trophy

Winning feeling: San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean carries the World Series Trophy

Miguel Cabrera’s two-run homer in the third inning had handed the Tigers the lead for the first time in the series, the Triple Crown winner’s blast putting his side 2-1 up after San Francisco had gone 1-0 ahead on an RBI triple from Brandon Belt.

But Buster Posey stepped up three innings later with a two-run homer of his own to get the Giants back in front.

Delmon Young responded with a solo shot to make it 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth on the first pitch from Matt Cain, but that was as good as it got for Detroit.

Power players: The Giants clinched their second World Series title in three years

Power players: The Giants clinched their second World Series title in three years

Let the celebrations begin: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy holds the Commissioner's Trophy

Let the celebrations begin: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy holds the Commissioner's Trophy

Scutaro, in settling the contest with the go-ahead single with two outs in the 10th, became the first player in 15 years to win the World Series with an extra-innings hit.

He struggled for words soon after the game was all over, telling Fox Sports: ‘I don’t know what to say right now. We just won the World Series! It’s hard to explain. It’s priceless.'

Reflecting on the Giants’ tricky path to glory – they won six elimination games in the post-season – he added: ‘That’s what makes it so special – the way we did it. We were always against the wall. We just came through the first series, the second series… and now we’ve swept the Tigers.’

Victors: The San Francisco Giants celebrate on the mound after sweeping the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series on Sunday

Victors: The San Francisco Giants celebrate on the mound after sweeping the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series on Sunday

Losing control: Detroit Tigers' Austin Jackson loses his bat during the seventh inning

Losing control: Detroit Tigers' Austin Jackson loses his bat during the seventh inning

After winning 8-3 in game one at AT&T Park and then posting consecutive shutouts to take command of the series, Posey admitted game four had been by far the toughest test.

'Tonight was a battle,' he said on Fox Sports. 'Tonight was a fitting way for us to end it.

'Those guys played hard – they didn’t stop. It’s an unbelievable feeling.'

We've done: San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo celebrates after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 to win the MLB World Series

We've done: San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo celebrates after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 to win the MLB World Series

Tears of joy: Pablo Sandoval celebrates with a teammate

Tears of joy: Pablo Sandoval celebrates with a teammate

Closer Romo played down his role in seeing out the victory, saying: “I feel beyond blessed, for sure. These guys let me tag along for the ride.'

The Giants certainly hit form at the right time, finishing this month with seven straight wins to clinch the seventh World Series in franchise history.

World Series: San Francisco Giants beat Detroit Tigers to take two-game lead

San Francisco take Giant stride towards World Series after grabbing two-game lead

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UPDATED:

08:29 GMT, 26 October 2012

The San Francisco Giants took a 2-0 lead in the World Series with a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park in game two of the best-of-seven series.

Having posted an 8-3 win in Wednesday night's opener, Pablo Sandoval becoming only the fourth player to hit three home runs in a World Series game, the Giants took another significant step towards a second title in three years with another impressive home win.

The two starting pitchers – San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner and Detroit's Doug Fister – matched each other blow for blow in the early part of game two to ensure it was 0-0 through six innings.

Jump for joy: San Francisco Giants celebrate after beating Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park in California

Jump for joy: San Francisco Giants celebrate after beating Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park in California

Blowing bubbles: Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval starred in game one but couldn't continue his dream run

Blowing bubbles: Giants baseman Pablo Sandoval starred in game one but couldn't continue his dream run

World Series results and schedule

Game 1 – San Francisco won 8-3
Game 2 – San Francisco won 2-0
Game 3 – October 27 – Detroit
Game 4 – October 28 – Detroit
Game 5 – October 29 – Detroit
Game 6 – October 31 – San Francisco
Game 7 – November 1 – San Francisco

Brandon Crawford drove in the go-ahead run with a double-play grounder with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, though, and Hunter Pence added an insurance run for San Francisco with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

The Tigers were limited to two hits by Bumgarner and relievers Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, the former striking out eight in seven shutout innings.

The teams will travel to Detroit on Friday before continuing the series with game three at Comerica Park on Saturday night.

Insurance run: San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence hits out in the eighth inning

Insurance run: San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence hits out in the eighth inning

Crucial: Hunter Pence watches his sacrifice fly that scored Angel Pagan

Bumgarner said: 'It definitely feels a whole lot better than having our backs against the wall.'

Reflecting on the regular-season trips to Detroit, he added: 'They were stressful series. Both the series we played there were tough. It's nice, but we can't relax. We got to keep pushing.'

No pain, no gain: Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird (floored) reacts after being hit by the bat

No pain, no gain: Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird (floored) reacts after being hit by the bat

Dramatic: San Francisco Giants' Angel Pagan signals for time after stealing second in the eighth inning

Dramatic: San Francisco Giants' Angel Pagan signals for time after stealing second in the eighth inning

England v South Africa: Record-breaking Hashim Amla leaves Andrew Strauss"s men staring at the abyss

England staring down the abyss after record-breaker Amla and Kallis pile on the runs

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UPDATED:

18:09 GMT, 22 July 2012

England faced a tense battle to save the first Investec Test after Hashim Amla became South Africa's first triple-centurion in his record run-fest alongside Jacques Kallis.

Amla made history several times over on day four at the Kia Oval, most notably when he surpassed team-mate AB de Villiers' 278 not out – the previous highest Test innings for a South African – and then passed 300 before a teatime declaration on 637 for two.

England therefore needed to bat out the remaining four sessions, from 252 in arrears, to avoid going 1-0 down with two to play in defence of their world number one status.

Hats off: Hashim Amla hit the highest ever score by a South African with a majestic, unbeaten 311

Hats off: Hashim Amla hit the highest ever score by a South African with a majestic, unbeaten 311

History in the making: England players applaud Amla off before tea

History in the making: England players applaud Amla off before tea

After losing first-innings centurion
Alastair Cook for a duck in the second over, they scrambled to a
vulnerable 102 for four at stumps.

On a day when the home bowlers were
on the wrong end of all the records and statistics, Amla (311no) and
Kallis (182no) shared the highest third-wicket stand in England.

Their unbroken partnership of 377 –
following the 259 Amla put on with Graeme Smith for the second wicket –
powered the tourists into an ominous position, but set the South Africa
captain an awkward conundrum over when to declare.

That sinking feeling: Andrew Strauss walks away dejected after being caught behind off Imran Tahir

That sinking feeling: Andrew Strauss walks away dejected after being caught behind off Imran Tahir

He chose time over extra runs in the
bank and left himself the option of a second new ball tomorrow, should
it be required for a final push.

On a slow pitch yet to show significant signs of wear, there had been no hiding place for England's bowlers.

Amla, who came to the crease with the
score one for one two days ago, had spent more than 12-and-a-half hours
there by the time he just cleared extra-cover off Tim Bresnan to
complete his 300 with his 35th four from the 515th delivery he faced.

Safe hands Jacques Kallis dropped a straightforward catch, handing Kevin Pietersen a brief reprieve

Safe hands Jacques Kallis dropped a straightforward catch, handing Kevin Pietersen a brief reprieve

Safe hands Jacques Kallis dropped a straightforward catch, handing Kevin Pietersen a brief reprieve

And that's out: Kevin Pietersen's middle stump was sent flying by Morne Morkel

And that's out: Kevin Pietersen's middle stump was sent flying by Morne Morkel

Kallis was no slouch either, pressing
on past his 43rd Test century and towards what could have been his
third double, as England's fruitless labours continued under a mocking
sun.

He reached his hundred with a controlled edge wide of slip off Bresnan for his 13th four from 227 balls.

South Africa therefore had three
centurions in their innings – one fewer than England, Stuart Broad the
last bowler to top 100 runs conceded behind James Anderson, Bresnan and
Graeme Swann.

Crucial strike: Dale Steyn accounted for the prize wicket of Jonathan Trott

Crucial strike: Dale Steyn accounted for the prize wicket of Jonathan Trott

There was never a semblance of a
chance from either batsman, other than Amla's edge through Andrew
Strauss' outstretched fingers at slip off Bopara when he had 40 on
Friday evening – and then, on 305, the same bowler missing a sharp
return catch.

Even when England resorted to
justifiable extremes of defence, bowling wide with boundary sweepers
posted in most directions, Amla and Kallis found a way through without
undue risk.

It was not until Amla was safely past
his triple-century, and Kallis close to his double, that they appeared
to dispense with all caution.

Starting early: Vernon Philander accounted for Alastair Cook's wicket in the second over

Starting early: Vernon Philander accounted for Alastair Cook's wicket in the second over

The consequence, rather than a first wicket since 3.18pm yesterday, was merely an appropriate increase in the scoring rate.

The same could not be said when
England's batsmen tried again after tea, Vernon Philander finding the
movement which had evaded the home seamers to take the edge behind as
Cook pushed forward.

If England could nominate their two best hopes of batting out the draw, Cook and Jonathan Trott would surely head the list.

Milestones: Amla reaches 300 after the pair hail Kallis's century (below)

Milestones: Amla reaches 300 after the pair hail Kallis's century (below)

Milestones: Amla reaches 300 after the pair hail Kallis's century (below)

But both were out of the equation
when the number three also got a useful delivery from Dale Steyn, which
appeared to be snaking in but held its line for another edge and De
Villiers' seventh catch of the match.

Morne Morkel's tactic of testing
Kevin Pietersen with the short ball brought three pulls and three fours,
albeit one edged straight over the wicketkeeper's head.

Pietersen then had a bigger slice of
luck against Morkel when he guided an edge to a diving Kallis but was
put down at second slip.

But he still could not survive an
impressive spell, forward but inside the right line to a straight ball
which knocked out middle-stump to end a fretful innings – and leave the
impression Pietersen's conviction in defence had been compromised by
Morkel's aggression.

When Strauss fell to his release
shot, mis-sweeping Imran Tahir straight to backward square-leg, there
were even fanciful thoughts of an extra half-hour for South Africa.

But Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara closed out the session, and England lived to fight another day.