The Proteas were 25-3 in pursuit of a winning score of 331 at tea on day four at Lord’s. JON CARDINELLI reports.
It’s been an absorbing day of Test cricket. The Proteas fought back brilliantly this morning to claim seven wickets and destroy England’s chances of setting South Africa a target of 450-plus. After lunch, however, Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood counterattacked to ensure that England finished their second innings with a significant 330-run lead.
The advantage is with England, even more so now that openers Dean Elgar and Heino Kuhn, as well as the hopelessly out of sorts JP Duminy, are back in the hut. The Proteas will be hard-pressed to chase down 331 over the next four sessions.
England battled to cope with the variable bounce as well as the turn earlier in the day. The hosts lost sevens wickets for 63 runs in the first session. Bairstow and Wood then clubbed together for a 45-run partnership to wrest back the initiative for England.
Batting conditions are unlikely to improve over the next day or so. History is not on South Africa’s side in the sense that no Test team – bar the West Indies in 1984 – has managed to chase down a total of 300-plus at Lord’s.
Dean Elgar, then on 1, was given out lbw when Stuart Broad hit him on the pads in the fourth over. The Proteas captain called for a review, and the replay showed that the ball was missing the stumps.
Heino Kuhn then gave his wicket away when he flashed at a leg side delivery by James Anderson. Bairstow dived to his left to complete a terrific catch.
Elgar took the fight to off-spinner Moeen Ali shortly before tea, and paid the ultimate price. The left-handed batsman mistimed his stroke and hit the ball straight back to the bowler.
JP Duminy then conspired to hand England another wicket in the over before the break. Mark Wood pitched the ball short, and Duminy hit the ball straight to mid-wicket.
England 458 (1st innings) – Joe Root 190, Moeen Ali 87, Morné Morkel 4-115, Vernon Philander 3-67
SA 361 (1st innings) – Temba Bavuma 59, Dean Elgar 54, Moeen Ali 4-59, James Anderson 2-44
England 233 (2nd innings) – Alastair Cook 69, Jonny Bairstow 51, Keshav Maharaj 4-85, Kagiso Rabada 3-50
SA 25-3 (2nd innings) – Hashim Amla 11 not out, Moeen Ali 1-0
South Africa need 306 runs to win
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