The Proteas’ second innings moved to 188-4 at tea on day four of the fourth and final Test against England at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Monday.
Openers Pieter Malan and Dean Elgar were the casualties of Monday’s opening session, before half-centurion Rassie van der Dussen and captain Faf du Plessis denied England further breakthrough for the bulk of the middle session.
Du Plessis and Van der Dussen, however, departed shortly before tea. The former was bowled by seamer Ben Stokes and the latter lapsed two runs shy of a maiden Test ton by affording short-cover fielder Mark Wood a relatively straightforward catch off the bowling of seamer Stuart Broad.
The decision to promote Van der Dussen to third in the batting order failed in the first innings, which yielded a duck. Monday’s innings, though, marked his Test career best. It surpassed the 68 collected against the same opposition at Newlands earlier this year.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and the returning Temba Bavuma will resume after the break. The Proteas are still 278 runs shy of squaring the series 2-2.
Earlier, Stokes was at hand for a good catch, as Malan failed to negotiate seamer Chris Woakes’ nagging line and length. Elgar perished soon thereafter, with Stokes again on cue for a good return catch.
The home side’s first innings had amounted to 183 all out, after the tourists had amassed 400 – and later 248 in the second innings.
This Test is all-rounder Vernon 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