The Proteas’ chances of saving the Test at Lord’s may hinge on their performance in the first session of day four.
England go into day four with nine second-innings wickets in hand and a commanding 216-run lead. The smart money is on the hosts batting for another two sessions and setting South Africa a target of 450-plus.
Not that the Proteas will be thinking about winning the Test at this stage. Indeed, they would do well to force a draw from here.
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The visitors need to make early inroads into that England batting order. Spinner Keshav Maharaj will have a key role to play as the ball gets older.
Vernon Philander troubled the England batsmen in the first innings, but hasn’t been able to bowl in the second due to a hand injury sustained while batting. The Proteas will need Philander fit and firing today, especially in the period after lunch when the second new ball becomes available.
It will be interesting to see how England go about things on day four, and when they eventually decide to declare.
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 119-1 (2nd innings) – Alastair Cook 59 not out, Keaton Jennings 33, Morné Morkel 1-25
England lead by 216 runs