England’s second innings reached 24-0 at tea on day three of the first Test against the Proteas at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday.
Earlier, South Africa’s second innings ended on 272 all out, leaving the opposition a victory target of 376 or seven sessions to force a draw.
A maiden Test half-century for debutant Rassie van der Dussen and career-best 40 from nightwatchman Anrich Nortje formed the backbone of the hosts’ second innings. Nortje was struck in the ribs during a particularly aggressive spell from fast bowler Jofra Archer.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, like in the first innings, then counter-attacked. He was especially aggressive against Archer, swatting consecutive sixes.
England, meanwhile, lost captain Joe Root and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler to illness. Root and Buttler are currently quarantined at the venue. Spinner Jack Leach, seamer Stuart Broad and batsman Ollie Pope suffered similar illnesses earlier this month.
The hosts will be without opening batsman Aiden Markram for the rest of the four-match series. He has been sidelined by a finger injury.
South Africa: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Zubayr Hamza, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Dwaine Pretorius, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.
England: Rory Burns, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.