March 22, 2018

England in box seat v Sth Africa 3rd Test

31 July 2017, 05:10 | Randolph Howard

Toby Roland Jones will make his Test debut for England against South Africa at The Oval

Toby Roland Jones will make his Test debut for England against South Africa at The Oval

With the four-match series level at 1-1, South Africa must try to bat through three sessions to secure a draw or an unlikely victory.

Dawid Malan, on debut at five, is no stodge: selections like this further underline that England are not about to block out the rest of the summer. On the other hand, Vernon Philander who was bothered by food poisoning throughout the match, bowled only 15 overs without taking a wicket on a flat deck. Westley was nowhere near as fluent as on Saturday night.

"That was as quick as I've seen him bowl", said Broad, who had earlier claimed the initial breakthrough by bowling the opener Heino Kuhn in the sixth over of South Africa's rearguard.

"We didn't bowl very well on the first day; we got behind the eight-ball".

South Africa-born and raised Jennings – England-qualified through his mother and residence – had launched his Test career with a century on debut against India in Mumbai in December.

Kagiso Rabada found alarming bounce and the left-hander offered up a simple catch to gully.

As the afternoon drifted into the evening and with Hashim Amla's arrival at the crease, England were aware that the next hour's play would be pivotal for their chances of a victory and with the weight of this pressure on their shoulders, they thrived.

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Stokes ensured his early hard work and former captain Alastair Cook's innings of 88 did not go to waste.

Philander managed only five overs and, when South Africa turned to their change bowling, Stokes tucked in with drives and pulls.

However, once Bairstow was removed by Maharaj for 63 off 58 balls, which included six boundaries and a six, England declared on 313/8, which set South Africa a target of 492 to win.

"He is that type of bowler - he bowls bad balls and in between that, he bowls fantastic balls, and the wickets that he's got have come with nearly unplayable deliveries", Birrell said of Morris. His dismissal left the visitors shaking, and Stokes took full advantage of their lack of composure to take De Kock's wicket with a wondrous yorker before trapping Faf Du Plessis lbw immediately after.

Looking like a batsman who has a first-class hundred to his name, his effort included a mishit pulled six and provided sterling service to Ben Stokes as he went on to a formidable century.

And, in a way, you could see their point of view. "He showed poise and determination on the first day, and he's got his side into a really good position today". It was a great spell for us to get those two key players'. After all, nobody has ever made more than 418 - West Indies versus Australia in 2003 - in the fourth innings of a Test to win the match.

England's Toby Roland-Jones told BBC Sport: "It was a pretty special day, we wanted to push ourselves as high as possible in some testing conditions".

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