England’s Kate Cross hailed South Africa all-rounder Marizanne Kapp’s “outstanding” 150 as the visitors finished 284 all out on day one of the only Test of the summer at Taunton.
Kapp came to the crease with South Africa 45 for four and steered her side out of trouble with a maiden Test century, finishing with 150 from 213 deliveries.
Cross was handed a new role as opening bowler with the international retirement of Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt’s decision to focus on white-ball cricket, and finished with four wickets, while England debutant trio Issy Wong, Lauren Bell and Alice Davidson-Richards all also took wickets.
“It did (get harder to field), there was definitely a stage when the ball wasn’t doing as much and we had to work quite hard but I thought Kapp was absolutely outstanding,” Cross said.
“To say that we’ve not played much Test cricket, I mean it’s probably eight years since they’ve played.
“Just how she manipulated the field, how she manoeuvred others, how she played us, how she managed to keep the strike, it just was like she’s played Test cricket for years, which is just a testament to how good a player she is.
“It was really difficult when she was looking to score and attack and we needed something special to get her out and Tammy (Beaumont) took that catch which was a brilliant one so I thought she had an absolutely outstanding day.
“To score 150 in Test match cricket is pretty special.”
Despite Kapp’s impressive performance, no-one else in the South Africa team was able to put on a significant score – Anneke Bosch had the next highest total with 30 – despite batting getting easier throughout the day, after England won the toss and elected to bowl.
The South African all-rounder admitted she was not full of confidence when she came to the crease.
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“I was very nervous coming into this game,” Kapp said.
“Even the warm-up game, my batting played up as if I was playing a T20, so I’m just happy with today.”
In her only other Test match, against India in 2014, Kapp only made 19 runs in two innings including a duck, and admitted that impacted her in Somerset.
She added: “When I first started I was very nervous, especially that the first Test match was an absolute nightmare.
“But I think you just have to focus a bit longer. It’s still cricket.
“Yes it’s challenging, I’m not going to lie but I think that if you did good or take it session by session that makes it a bit easier.”