Temba Bavuma scored 52, as the Proteas were bowled out for 175 on day three, trailing England by 178 runs.
Considering the Proteas were on 61-7 and without the batting services of Vernon Philander in the evening session on day two, the visitors will be pretty happy with the way they’ve recovered.
The Proteas went into day three on 126-8 with the news that Philander had been discharged from the hospital in time to come in at No 11 and give his side one final push to get back into this match.
The first order of the day was to avoid the follow on, and Bavuma and Morne Morkel did a good job of getting over that line. Bavuma survived a scare when he was on 40 as Ben Stokes dropped a difficult one-handed chance at gully, but with six runs still required to avoid the follow-on, South Africa will see that as a lifeline.
Joe Root arguably kept Toby Roland-Jones and Stuart Broad on for too long in the morning, as it was James Anderson to eventually end the 47-run stand, as Morkel edged one to Alastair Cook in the slips for 17.
Philander strode out and got off the mark with a decent off-drive before Bavuma brought up his eighth Test half-century, which given the circumstances, was an excellent effort. He also managed to bring up 1 000 Test runs in his knock, achieving it quicker than Jacques Kallis did.
Root brought back Roland-Jones in an attempt to give him a chance to get a five-wicket haul on debut, and he duly obliged, finding an edge off Bavuma (52), for Roland-Jones to finish the innings as he started it, with figures of 5-57.
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