It’s now South Africa’s Test to lose as they consolidate their position in the second Test at Trent Bridge with some serious batting and giving not even an inch to England on the third day of the match. They did not dominate play on the day but made sure they did put in a lot of effort to be in a strong position to level the series after two days.
England survived the four overs — two each from Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander — they were asked to play before stumps on day three. They scored only one run and opener Alastair Cook survived a leg-before wicket decision on the third ball after he reviewed the on-field decision. But, that was the only highlight for England on slow and steady day of Test cricket.
South Africa were completely in a mood to control the game with some serious batting and no risks. Hashim Amla, Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis made half-centuries in a relaxed manner and without talking any risks to stretch their team’s lead past 400 before the Proteas’ skipper declared the innings at 343 for, setting England a target of 474 runs.
The day began with South Africa already leading by 205 runs and but England had James Anderson and Stuart to fightback and try and bowl out the visitors early. But, that was not the case as overnight batsmen Elgar and Amla played some of the irresistible cricket in the first session and completed their half-centuries.
The hosts had the chances of getting both of them out early. England had been criticised for using desperate reviews but when it matter they did not. Cook appealed from slips for a catch that Broad took but no one else did. Replays showed there was a faint edge. Elgar was on 55 when a tough chance to Anderson at gully was put down.
Amla took 14 runs from one Liam Dawson over, same in which he complete his fifty with a six. But, Elgar was dismissed by Ben Stokes with a short, angled into him delivery for 80, ending the second-wicket partnership of 135 runs which was super slow.
England were successful in getting the wicket of Quinton de Kock as well before Lunch. But, Du Plessis joined Amla in the second session and they played on the same tone as South Africa added only 76 runs from the second session.
Amla was relaxed throughout the innings, not playing and missing while getting the boundary on the lose ball. Even a leave outside the off-stump was rare. He schooled Dawson in that over but the spinner did get the better of him when he danced down the ground and was struck plumb in front.
Because Amla was down the pitch, umpire did not give it out but England reviewed and got the decision over-turned. England picked up four wickets in the final session with Temba Buvma, Du Plessis, Chris Morris and Philander the players to get out.