The Proteas fired to claim seven wickets in the first session on day four and reduce England to 182-8. JON CARDINELLI reports.
South Africa could not have asked for a better response. An impressive collective bowling performance across the morning session yielded seven key wickets and reignited hopes that the visitors may yet save this Test.
Vernon Philander – with his injured hand strapped – returned to bolster the seam attack. Together, the Proteas contained the England batsmen. The pressure began to build, and after 45 minutes, Morné Morkel had Alastair Cook caught in the covers.
England lost three further wickets in the space of six overs. Morkel accounted for Gary Ballance, and then Keshav Maharaj claimed the big wicket of England captain Joe Root, who had cracked 190 in the first innings.
Kagiso Rabada trapped Ben Stokes lbw to reduce England to 149-5. The South African fast bowler celebrated by putting a finger to his lips; a reference to his ban for swearing at Stokes after he dismissed the England all-rounder in the first innings.
Philander then dropped Jonny Bairstow when the England batsman was on 7. The South African heads dropped in disappointment after Philander put down a relatively easy catch at long-off.
The Proteas still managed to finish the session on a high note, though. Maharaj bowled the dangerous Moeen Ali , and then Rabada shattered Liam Dawson’s stumps with a full toss. Maharaj claimed his third wicket when he had Stuart Broad caught at short leg right before lunch.
When play resumes, South Africa should be aiming to dismiss England before they extend their lead to 300.
England 458 (1st innings) – Joe Root 190, Moeen Ali 87, Morné Morkel 4-115, Vernon Philander 3-67
SA 361 (1st innings) – Temba Bavuma 59, Dean Elgar 54, Moeen Ali 4-59, James Anderson 2-44
England 182-8 (2nd innings) – Alastair Cook 69, Gary Ballance 34, Morné Morkel 3-37, Keshav Maharaj 3-65
England lead by 279 runs
Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images