SA Cricket Mag contributors Daniel Gallan and Philasande Sixaba discuss South Africa’s lower order runs, England’s top order improvement and the chance of a repeat of history.
England moved to 121-1 – and within 255 runs of victory – at the close of play on day three of the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
All out for 284 in the first innings and 272 in the second, the Proteas left England with a target of 376. The tourists’ first innings had amounted to 181 all out.
Opener Dom Sibley was the only batsman to fall during Saturday’s final session. He shared a 92-run alliance with half-centurion Rory Burns before being dismissed by spinner Keshav Maharaj. While the seamers toiled in challenging conditions, Maharaj found nominal turn to have Sibley caught and bowled.
Burns, meanwhile, moved to 77 not out and was well supported by first-innings half-centurion Joe Denly. The pair will resume on Sunday, in pursuit of an early lead in the four-Test series.
The highest successful run chase in Test cricket at this venue is the 251-8 England achieved against South Africa in 2000.
Both teams suffered personnel losses on Sunday – the Proteas relatively permanently and England temporarily. Opening batsman Aiden Markram has been ruled out of the rest of the series due to a finger injury. Visiting captain Joe Root and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler have fallen ill.