Duanne Olivier saw off Keaton Jennings for 17, before Alastair Cook and Tom Westley got England to 67-1 by lunch on day one at Old Trafford.
It’s been a tough session in the middle for the England batsmen, but they’ve managed to get to lunch relatively unscathed in the fourth Test in Manchester. The Proteas attack, lacking the services of Vernon Philander and Chris Morris, probed well throughout the session, with Morne Morkel (0-18) finding some unpredictable movement off the surface in particular, but the wicket-taking deliveries were lacking.
Kagiso Rabada (0-18) was the closest to finding an early breakthrough, as Jennings got an inside edge which looped up, only for the ball to drop short after a despairing Rabada dive. Both Cook and Jennings survived lbw shouts, especially from Morkel, but he couldn’t quite bowl it full enough to cause them too much concern.
With lower-back injuries ruling Philander and Morris out on the eve of the match – one which the Proteas have to win in order to avoid losing in England for the first time since 1998 – Olivier came back into the side after he had replaced the suspended Rabada in the second Test. The selectors also opted for an extra batsman in Theunis de Bruyn instead of an all-rounder in Andile Phehlukwayo. It would be Olivier (1-17) to bag the first wicket.
With Cook and Jennings starting to look set after navigating their way through that tough early patch, their 35-run stand came to an end as Jennings stuck his bat out on a good length, giving Quinton de Kock catching practice behind the stumps.
It was slow going from there as Tom Westley took 22 balls to score his first two runs, but Cook kept things ticking along as they built up a watchful 32-run stand. England will consider it their session, and so far, the Proteas have missed Philander’s threat. Westley is on 19, Cook 31, as they go into lunch on 67-1.
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images