England climbed to 335-4 at lunch on day two of the third Test against the Proteas at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
Rain ensured a late start to Friday’s proceedings, as the tourists resumed on 224-4 overnight.
All-rounder Ben Stokes’ aggressive shot selection continued – and eventually ensured a fine century. It marked the ninth of Stokes’ Test career – and third against South Africa. He also welcomed 4,000 runs in the longest format of the international game.
Sidekick Ollie Pope, meanwhile, won an lbw review to remain on course for a maiden Test ton. Seamer Dane Paterson’s appeal was initially obliged by umpire Bruce Oxenford. A prompt referral from Pope, after consultation with Stokes, saw the decision overturned.
Stokes and Pope’s unbroken 187-run alliance will resume for Friday’s second session.
Earlier, South Africa were jolted by fast bowler Kagiso Rabada’s suspension. He is still bowling in this match, but has been banned from the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg later this month. Rabada’s suspension came after Thursday’s overzealous celebration of England captain Joe Root’s dismissal.
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 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.