Anderson leaves England eyeing South Africa series win

Batting conditions proved the easiest of the match and Elgar looked untroubled in reaching his eighth Test century and second against England.

Root made a fearless decision at the start of the day, choosing to bat after winning the toss with the knowledge that there's been rain in Manchester this week and the pitch was likely to give early help to the bowlers.

He scored all but four of the runs added with Anderson, and did so at better than a run a ball, as South Africa lost their heads in the field.

Losing Chris Morris and more importantly Vernon Philander was undoubtedly an unwelcome blow to South Africa, but they can be pleased with how they responded with the ball today. Quinton De Kock, who's been superb with the gloves throughout this series, missed a regulation nick to dismiss Root before snaffling a complete stunner later in the day.

That responsibility will pass to Jonny Bairstow, who is 33 not out, when England resume on Saturday.

"Test cricket is a harsh world to come into". However, that is exactly what Stokes did during his brilliant knock of 112 in the first innings. Now they face a real test of their character. Olivier draws first blood for the visitors.


Keaton's best effort this summer is still only 48, tied to two ducks, and he could have gone in the second over of the day here only for a leading edge to fall just short of a diving Kagiso Rabada.

"If you're in the England team there is alway someone knocking on the door for your place, whether they're here breathing down your neck or doing it in the championship". And yet, on 52, and with a lazy afternoon of accumulation yawning in front of him, he galloped down the pitch to Olivier and fell lbw to a one-day waft through midwicket.

But while he dug in for tea, Malan self-combusted, waving loosely at Morkel and feeding Faf du Plessis at slip.

England fought well both times, first with a 52-run stand between Dawid Malan and Root, and then with late-afternoon resistance from Stokes and Bairstow in a 65-run partnership that almost took the home team to stumps. He might have departed first ball, as he whooshed into a nervy and hard-handed drive to an exocet from Rabada outside off.

The evening session, therefore, was reserved for England's middle-order pairing of Stokes and Bairstow - the most prolific partnership of the Trevor Bayliss era, and architects of that 399-run stand in Cape Town 18 months ago. This modest statistic is a sound indicator of Root's quality as a Test batsman since the other four (with the fastest to 5,000 first) are as follows: Jack Hobbs, Wally Hammond, Ken Barrington and Len Hutton.

Bairstow had a let-off when he was given out for four, caught at slip by Dean Elgar off Maharaj though replays indicated the ball had bounced before Elgar claimed the catch and Bairstow was duly reprieved.


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