Day two of Toby Roland-Jones’s England debut was a success as he ran through South Africa’s top order in the third Investec Test at The Oval.
Roland-Jones counted Hashim Amla, the tourists’ national record-holder for his unbeaten triple-century on this same ground five years ago, Quinton de Kock and both openers as his victims in his maiden Test match spell. After Ben Stokes (112) had grafted, and finally smashed, his way to a richly-deserved century in England’s 353 all out, Roland-Jones (4-39) put South Africa in big trouble on day two.
Hecertainly made the most of favourable conditions as his hopes of a debut performance to remember came true, at the age of 29.
“I suppose this is the moment that every young kid dreams of, representing their country - and I’m no different,” said the Middlesex seamer.
“The way this afternoon unfolded was certainly something I hadn’t pictured.
“You try to have a pretty simple plan in your head ... but things (just) seemed to catch fire a little bit.
You try to have a pretty simple plan in your head...but things (just) seemed to catch fire a little bit. I was just trying to do my best – and keep the foot behind the line.Toby Roland-Jones
“I was just trying to do my best – and keep the foot behind the line.”
Roland-Jones struck first when Dean Elgar was caught behind to the last ball before tea, but admitted he was far from sure of the dismissal until it was confirmed on DRS.
“It wasn’t the most convincing of reactions from me,” he said.
“I hadn’t heard anything, but the guys behind the stumps were adamant they had...it was a bit of a kerfuffle in the end, but it didn’t take anything away from it - trust me.
“It was a pretty special feeling.”
The Middlesex man began the evening session with another DRS process when he thought he had Amla lbw for a golden duck.
That did not prove the case, but he got the prolific number three for only six soon afterwards.
“I thought the first ball was pretty close – and having never used a review system before, I managed to fail at my first attempt,” he added, with a rueful smile. “So it was nice to see the back of him, knowing it was always going to be a key wicket.”