The Proteas went without a wicket before lunch on day one of the third Test against England at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
Openers Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley carried the tourists to 61 without loss at the break. Sibley collected 30 to Crawley’s 20 not out.
England captain Joe Root had won the toss and opted to bat first on a pitch that initially proved placid. Debutant Dane Paterson shared the new ball with seamer Vernon Philander ahead of fast bowler Kagiso Rabada.
Rabada eventually entered the attack with fellow fast bowler Anrich Nortje, as did spinner Keshav Maharaj. The seamers failed to extract seam movement on a sluggish pitch and copped criticism from former Proteas captain Shaun Pollock during a scathing stint of television commentary. Maharaj, though, found early turn.
Paterson was afforded a debut at the expense of all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius. The tourists replaced the injured James Anderson with fast bowler Mark Wood.
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 at 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.