The Proteas slumped to 88-6 – amid a 312-run first-innings deficit – at the close of play on day two of the fourth and final Test against England at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Openers Pieter Malan and Dean Elgar successfully navigated a challenging period prior to tea, before a collapse had the Proteas lose six wickets for 59 runs through Saturday’s final session.
Malan and Elgar perished to Wood and fellow seamer Chris Woakes, respectively. Batsman Rassie van der Dussen’s promotion to third in the order in the absence of the overlooked Zubayr Hamza failed. Van der Dussen was dismissed for a duck, as slip fielder Ben Stokes too made a great catch off the bowling of left-arm seamer Sam Curran.
Captain Faf du Plessis and the recalled Temba Bavuma departed soon thereafter, as the capitulation continued. Du Plessis unsuccessfully reviewed an lbw decision, while Stokes was again at hand in the slip cordon to get rid of Bavuma.
Nightwatchman Anrich Nortje didn’t last long. Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, meanwhile, successfully weathered a particularly fiery spell from Wood. He will resume alongside all-rounder Vernon Philander on Sunday.
Earlier, England climbed to 400 all out on the back of a record partnership between tailenders Mark Wood and Stuart Broad.
Broad and Wood shared 82 runs, beating the previous best 10th-wicket partnership in Test cricket at this venue between Proteas tailenders Fanie de Villiers and Allan Donald against Pakistan in 1995.
Nortje cherished a maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket. His 5-110 surpassed a previous-best 3-56 against the same country in Centurion late last year.
A rain-affected Friday had the hosts conceding England’s first century partnership for the first wicket since 2016, when openers Keaton Jennings and Alastair Cook starred against India in Chennai. This time, openers Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley capitalised against the Proteas seamers.
South Africa are without fast bowler Kagiso Rabada for this fixture. He was banned by the International Cricket Council after an overzealous celebration of England captain Joe Root’s dismissal during last week’s third Test at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth. The home side also omitted spinner Keshav Maharaj from the XI.
This Test is Philander’s last. He will retire from international cricket next week in favour of a Kolpak contract with Somerset in English county cricket later this year.
England lead the series 2-1. They lost in Centurion before winning in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Pieter Malan, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma, Dwaine Pretorius, Vernon Philander, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson, Beuran Hendricks.
England: Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad.
Photo: Gallo Images