Opening batsman Dom Sibley welcomed a patient century and all-rounder Ben Stokes struck a hasty half-ton, as England climbed to 375-7 – and a lead of 421 – at lunch on day four of the second Test against the Proteas at Newlands in Cape Town on Monday.
Resuming on their overnight 218-4, the English relished Stokes’ characteristic injection of boundaries. He collected seven fours and a trio of sixes en route to an entertaining 72 from 47 deliveries.
Sibley, meanwhile, graduated to a maiden century in Test cricket.
The hosts started the day without fast bowler Anrich Nortje, who was temporarily absent due to illness. They also delayed taking the second new ball, leaving spinner Keshav Maharaj to cop plenty of expense at the hands of Stokes.
The tourists’ bid to up the ante en route to a lead of beyond 400 and imminent declaration saw Stokes, middle-order batsman Ollie Pope and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler fall in relatively quick succession.
England and the Proteas’ first innings had produced 223 and 269 all out, respectively.
South Africa have not lost a Test at Newlands to opposition other than Australia since the early 1990s.
The Proteas lead this four-Test series, after a 107-run victory inside four days at SuperSport Park in Centurion late last year. St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth and the Wanderers in Johannesburg will host the third and fourth Test, respectively.
South Africa: Pieter Malan, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock (wk), Dwaine Pretorius, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.
England: Dominic Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.