England took key early wickets to leave South Africa A on 66-3 at lunch, as the visitors finalise their preparations ahead of the first Test against the Proteas.
While the encounter is an important one for the English, who have just three days in between this match and the first Test in Durban, there were plenty of South Africans hoping to impress the national selectors.
Due to the short turnaround, England decided to leave Jimmy Anderson out of the side to keep him fresh, but what will come as good news to the visitors is Steven Finn’s return, who is fighting to be fit in time for Boxing Day.
SA A, who took Dane Paterson away from his Sunfoil Series duties with the Cape Cobras as a last-minute replacement for the injured Wayne Parnell, were sent into bat with all eyes on how Stephen Cook and Reeza Hendricks would do with the opportunity presented to them.
Unfortunately the latter could only put together 13, with Mark Footit taking the wicket as the left-arm quick looks to force his way into the Test team. Quick wickets continued to trouble the hosts in Pietermaritzburg, with Stuart Broad and Finn accounting for Rilee Rossouw (6) and Quintin de Kock (4).
Cook and Omphile Ramela guided the side through to lunch from there, but Cook was forced to look on from the other end as the wickets continued to tumble after lunch, with Finn doing the damage. Ramela departed for 20, and Khaya Zondo was caught in the slips for a golden duck.