England moved to 117-2 at tea on day one of the third Test against South Africa at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
The Proteas went without a breakthrough during Thursday’s opening session, but returned after lunch to remove openers Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley. Both were caught on the leg-side.
Sibley’s timing was off in offering square-leg fielder Dean Elgar a straightforward catch. The second Test centurion perished to fast bowler Kagiso Rabada.
Fellow fast bowler Anrich Nortje was later at hand to dismiss Crawley. The Englishman fought hard for 44. His role has become all the more important in the ongoing absence of the injured Rory Burns. This time leg gully Rassie van der Dussen took a sharp catch. Nortje bowled relatively straight to Crawley throughout and eventually reaped reward.
England captain Joe Root had won the toss and opted to bat first on a pitch that is proving relatively placid for the seamers. Spinner Keshav Maharaj, though, has found some early turn.
The Proteas have won 13 and lost 12 Tests at St George’s Park. They’ve also shared five draws. The last Test at the Port Elizabeth venue was in February 2019, when Sri Lanka beat South Africa inside three days.
This four-Test series is locked at 1-1. The Proteas won the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion inside four days. England triumphed late on the fifth day in the second Test at Newlands in Cape Town. The Wanderers in Johannesburg will host the fourth and final Test later this month.
South Africa: Dean Elgar, Pieter Malan, Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Dane Paterson.
England: Zak Crawley, Dominic Sibley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood.