South Africa lost only one wicket in the first session of the third Test and took lunch on 73-1.
Stiaan van Zyl was the only casualty after he was caught by Jonny Bairstow for 21 trying to pull Ben Stokes through the on side. The shot was very poorly executed by Van Zyl and puts him under immense pressure to come good in the second innings.
His mode of dismissals in this series will be disheartening to the selectors. Van Zyl was bowled in both his innings at Kingsmead and was run out in Cape Town. The shot he played today won’t do him any favours in the eyes of those calling for Stephen Cook to be given a chance at the top of the order.
AB de Villiers won his first toss as Test captain and decided to bat, but it was clear from early on that there was plenty of bounce and carry in this surface. Shaun Pollock noted at the pitch report there was a lot of grass on the pitch but not a lot of moisture and some cracks, which will come into play later in the match.
As expected, Hardus Viljoen made his Test debut on his home ground, replacing Dane Piedt who was released for Sunfoil Series duty on Wednesday afternoon.
Van Zyl and Dean Elgar did well to weather the storm and survive the first hour, but England bowled well and found the edge a couple of times, only for the ball to fall short of the fielder.
There were also a few lbw shouts but nothing was reviewed. The outfield doesn’t look the quickest but Hashim Amla showed that if you time the ball well enough it will get to the boundary.
South Africa were thrown into disarray before the start of play when it emerged that Quinton de Kock had injured his knee while walking his dogs the previous afternoon. The wicketkeeper didn’t think the sprain to be serious but he woke after midnight in pain and had to withdraw from the team.
Dane Vilas, who was dropped after the India series, was called this morning and had to scramble to catch a flight from Port Elizabeth, where he was due to play for the Cobras in the Sunfoil Series, to Johannesburg.
Vilas caught a flight at 08:40 and arrived at the Wanderers at about 11:30. AB de Villiers would have taken the gloves until Vilas arrived if South Africa had to bowl first.
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