A draw is still the likely outcome, but the Proteas took three wickets in the first hour of day five at Newlands before Dane Piedt struck just before lunch, to leave England on 87-4.
Days three and four belonged to South Africa, and it appears that day five might be following a similar pattern. Draw or not, it is the Proteas who might feel like the momentum is with them going into the third Test at the Wanderers.
It was Temba Bavuma who stole the headlines on Tuesday night, as his maiden Test century was celebrated worldwide It was over to the bowlers in the morning session, looking to do the unthinkable and put their side in a position to win the match and level the series.
If England had any ideas of putting together some quick runs to chase the victory themselves, that was quickly dashed by brilliant opening spells from Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada.
Rabada sent back Alastair Cook with his second ball, as Cook tried to glance one on the leg side, only to get a faint edge. It continued a lean spell for Cook in this series. He averages 29.80 against South Africa, and has perished before new opening partner Alex Hales on all four occasions in this series.
Hales didn’t last too much longer himself, but it took a moment of brilliance from Chris Morris to send him back. It was a sense of deja vu for Morris, a diving one-handed catch for the second time in the match, to continue a debut of mixed fortunes. Morkel bowled beautifully in the morning session, and was justly rewarded for that wicket, but he could have had another.
He thought he’d got Root for 17, only for the umpire to send it upstairs. The replays suggested he’d stepped over the line for a no-ball. Disappointing but perhaps inevitable, as he constantly flirts with that line. It didn’t prove too costly, as Morris got Root with his first ball of the day, clean bowling him for 29. Morris got figures of 1-150 in the first innings, but has taken two superb catches, struck 69 with the bat, and taken a key wicket in the second innings. For all of the public cries to get Hardus Viljoen in the side at his expense, Morris has redeemed himself considerably since day one and day two.
James Taylor and Nick Compton knuckled down and made steady progress, until Taylor, on 22, top-edged one off Dane Piedt, only for Rabada to fail to cling on to what was a tough chance. In Piedt’s very next over, however, he found the breakthrough, as Compton chipped one straight to Faf du Plessis to go for 15. Taylor and Ben Stokes will hope batting practice, not batting survival, will be the order of the day from here.
For ball-by-ball commentary click below: