South Africa managed only one breakthrough in the morning session as England went to lunch on 76-1 on day one of the New Years Test in Cape Town.
The South Africans went into this must-win game with three changes to the XI that lost by 241 runs in Durban.
Quinton de Kock made his long-awaited comeback to take the gloves off AB de Villiers, but the bowling attack has been left depleted with injuries to Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott, which gives England the edge as they try to go 2-0 up in the series.
Kagiso Rabada (for Dale Steyn) and Chris Morris (for Kyle Abbott) are not bad bowlers, but they are unproven at international level. Morne Morkel will, like he has done regularly over the last few months, have to lead the attack, a task he has shown to be capable of.
However, after the Proteas lost the toss and were asked to field, the bowlers struggled to nail down a consistent line and length in the first session and also failed in forcing the England batsmen to play more.
They looked comfortable for the most part with little assistance from the pitch as Alastair Cook and Alex Hales shared a 55-run opening partnership.
The breakthrough came after De Villiers had a little chat with Rabada before one of his overs from the Kelvin Grove end. The third delivery of that over was pitch perfect – fuller and straight just outside off-stump forcing Cook (27) to play forward at it. He nicked it off where debutant Morris took a brilliant catch, diving low down to his left for a spectacular one-handed effort.
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