Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel took three wickets apiece as England were bowled out for 353 in their first innings, while Vernon Philander has been sent to hospital for tests.
Both sides will be relatively happy with the way the first innings went. On a tough pitch, England ticked off the box of passing 300, while The Proteas were able to chip away regularly throughout thanks to an excellent spell from Philander on day one, and from Kagiso Rabada (3-85) and Morne Morkel (3-70) on day two.
The bad new for the Proteas is the loss of Philander (2-32), who has been taken to hospital for tests, because the stomach bug that he endured on day one has gotten worse. Whether he’ll be okay to bat, should the need arise, remains to be seen.
It took two very different innings to get England to 353. Alastair Cook was in fine form on Thursday as he was able to see off the swing and the seam movement, as well as the rain delays, to go into day two on 82. He could only add six runs to his overnight total, but it was instrumental in lifting them away from danger.
A brisk 75-run stand then followed between Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes. While Bairstow (36) and the tail struggled to hang around, Stokes edged his way towards a century.
It was a very well-measured knock from Stokes, something that the English media cried out for from the team after their all-or-nothing approach in the second Test which saw them lose wickets carelessly. Stokes was on 91 when he struck one off Keshav Maharaj towards the deep mid-wicket boundary. Faf du Plessis caught it, but crashed onto the ropes in the process. The very next delivery, Stokes had three figures for the fifth time in his career with another six.
That blitz allowed England to score 22 runs for the last wicket, leaving them in a competitive position on a pitch that is still playing up in overcast conditions.
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