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.
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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