Proteas press home advantage
16 July 2017 National Sport
South Africa remain on course to level the Test series after setting England 474 to win on another day of toil for the hosts at Trent Bridge.
Half-centuries for Dean Elgar (80), Hashim Amla (87) and Faf du Plessis (63) kept England, for whom Moeen Ali took 4-78, out in the field for the majority of the day before the declaration was made with the score 343-9.
That left England openers Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings with a little over 10 minutes to survive before the close and despite a number of close calls, they did so unscathed.
England’s use of DRS has been far from exemplary in this match and the theme continued on the third morning with a decision not to call for a review after Amla, when on just 25, feathered the ball behind off Stuart Broad.
With bowler and wicketkeeper unsure, Joe Root opted not to send it upstairs, only for UltraEdge to show a clear spike as the ball went past the bat.
That set the tone for a largely frustrating morning for England as Amla and Elgar moved serenely on for the first hour and a half of the session.
Elgar had been given a reprieve on 55 when a thick edge flew towards gully where James Anderson threw himself to his left and got his hand to it but was unable to cling on but, with the lunch interval approaching, the opener was dismissed.
It was Ben Stokes who made the breakthrough, ending a stand of 135 between Elgar and Amla. A sharp and well-directed bouncer cramping the left-hander for room, resulting in the ball looping up off the splice to Anderson at leg gully.
Stokes almost repeated the trick to Quinton de Kock but while on that occasion the ball evaded the fielder, the Proteas wicketkeeper lasted only another three balls before nicking through to Bairstow off Anderson.
The afternoon session followed a similar pattern with Amla easing his way to his 34th Test fifty and Du Plessis providing more than able support.
Root persevered with his seamers for much of the afternoon but it was the introduction of spin that brought the much-needed wicket, Amla advancing down the track to Liam Dawson and getting struck on the pad.
This time England did go for the review and they were rewarded, the ball shown to be hitting halfway up middle.
The prospect of the second new ball gave England some encouragement after tea and the wicket of Temba Bavuma, chipping Moeen Ali to Root at mid off, in the final over with the old ball was something of a bonus.
With the pitch beginning to show signs of deterioration, Stokes trapped Du Plessis lbw with a delivery that stayed very low and Ali returned to account for Chris Morris and Keshav Maharaj.
Philander was playing another very useful knock for South Africa and it was his dismissal, caught and bowled by Ali, that prompted the declaration.
After a quick turnaround, England’s second innings looked to have got off to the worse possible start when Morkel rapped Cook on the pads and the umpire raised his finger.
Cook reviewed and to the relief of the vast majority inside Trent Bridge, DRS showed the ball was going over the top.
There were further tight lbw shouts against both Cook and Jennings but the pair stood firm and will resume on day four with England 1-0 and needing another 473 for a highly improbable win.
Live coverage of the second Test between England and South Africa continues from 10.30am, Sunday on Sky Sports 2 and in Ultra HD on Sky Q.