Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope Regain Advantage for England in Third Test

Temba Bavuma

Temba Bavuma

In what has been a relatively more dramatic session of play, South Africa picked up two scalps in the post Lunch period, and also almost accounted for the wicket of Joe Denly, to leave England at 117/2 at Tea on the opening day of the third Test.

England advanced to 61-0 before lunch on day one of the third Test against South Africa as openers Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley England advanced to 61-0 at lunch on day one of the third Test against South Africa as openers Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley bedded in on a flat track.in on a flat track.

England were 148 for four when Stokes and Pope came together, in danger of failing to capitalise on batting first on a placid pitch on a hot, sunny day.

It was a massive statement from the 29-year-old, who was told in no uncertain terms by Proteas leadership that his way back into the national set-up would be through scoring runs at franchise level and in the 4-Day Franchise Series.

However, although all of England's top four got in, Joe Denly and Joe Root adding 25 and 27 respectively, South Africa made regular inroads to gain the upper hand shortly after tea, Keshav Maharaj (1-55 from 32 overs) making a valuable contribution after Du Plessis had questioned the need for a spinner before the game.

South Africa picked new cap Dane Paterson as a specialist fast bowler in place of all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius.

When Root was comprehensively bowled by a Rabada delivery that stayed low and crashed into off stump, South Africa looked to have seized the initiative.

With not much assistance on offer on a slow pitch at St George's Park, Faf du Plessis resorted to some creative field sets and bowling plans, luring the English batsmen into playing the flick shot in the air on the leg side. Paterson surprisingly shared the new ball with Philander, with the quicker Rabada and Anrich Nortje having to wait for their turn.

England brought back fast bowler Mark Wood in place of the injured James Anderson.

Wood has not played in a red-ball match since a Test series in the West Indies last February.

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