• Rain halts England’s march

    The Proteas received a brief respite from the England charge as rain interrupted the first session of play on Sunday at St George’s Park, writes WADE PRETORIUS.

    The South Africans were left reeling after losing four wickets in just 28 balls. They added just one run to their overnight total as Stuart Broad and to a lesser extent nagging left armer Sam Curran rolled through the fragile batting lineup.

    Broad got an early delivery to nip back off the seam and watched in glee as Vernon Philander’s rather wild push away from his body saw him depart for 27.

    Fellow overnight batsman Quinton de Kock was next to go as Curran rattled the stumps with another aggressive shot being undone by a bit of movement off the pitch.

    The groans around St George’s Park were hustled into silence as the crowd watched Keshav Maharaj drag a wide Broad delivery onto his stumps.

    The morning card read 0-3 at this point.

    Broad grabbed his third by ending Kagiso Rabada’s short stay.

    None in this fragile lineup managed to spend more time in the middle than nightwatchman Anrich Nortje. None, and not for the first time, were able to outscore De Kock, who continues to receive little help from those batting above him.

    With poor weather continuing to blow into the bay, Joe Root had little doubt about enforcing the follow on with the Proteas bowled out for just 209 on the very same pitch Kevin Pietersen declared to be a shocker, the same track that saw Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope move past three figures and England accrue 499 runs.

    Before rain once again interrupted play, Dean Elgar (13) and Pieter Malan (1) managed to see off 6.5 overs.

    The home side, rocked first by offspinner Dom Bess (5-51) and then rattled by Broad (3-30) early on Sunday, still trail by 275 runs.

    The drought stricken Eastern Cape is in desperate need of long, slow periods of rain. The Proteas’ situation is not nearly as dire but they too could use a little help from above.

    Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

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    Wade Pretorius