Dean Elgar departed for eight on the last over before tea, after Ben Stokes’ century got England to 353 on day two at The Oval.
Elgar and Heino Kuhn appeared to be getting their side to tea wicketless with a fair amount of comfort, but debutant Toby Roland-Jones, given a two-over burst just before tea, managed to find a faint outside edge to see Elgar off for eight.
England will be pretty happy with the way things have gone so far on day two. Not only did they avoid an early collapse after they were delicately placed on 171-4 going into Friday, but Ben Stokes managed to score a century, which lifted them past 350 in challenging conditions.
England went into the second session on 269-6, this after Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada (3-85) put in excellent shifts to see off Alastair Cook for 88 and Jonny Bairstow for 36 respectively. Vernon Philander could only bowl five overs today due to a stomach bug of which the symptoms have worsened. He’s gone to hospital for tests, and it remains to be seen whether he will be well enough to bat.
Moeen Ali was the first to depart after the break for 16 as he edged one behind to Quinton de Kock, despite the initial appeals being for lbw. It was Morkel’s third wicket, eventually taking figures of 3-70.
Roland-Jones hung around long enough to frustrate the visitors as he struck a run-a-ball 25, before Keshav Maharaj trapped him lbw for his only wicket of the innings.
Stokes was the constant, who played to the game situation expertly throughout. When Staurt Broad departed for three, Stokes unleashed with three sixes in a row off Maharaj, in what could prove to be a vital 22-run 10th-wicket stand with James Anderson. Faf du Plessis almost caught the first six before he carried himself over the boundary ropes. The following six allowed Stokes to bring up his fifth Test century. The next one disappeared into the crowds.
He eventually departed for 112, handing a tricky nine-over spell for the Proteas openers. With four balls remaining until tea, Elgar found a slight edge, and it was slight enough for Elgar to attempt to review it, only for the snicko to pick it up. Kuhn (10) and Hashim Amla will head into the final session on 18-1, with rain expected at some point.
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