|Second Test, Newlands, Cape Town (day two of five):|
|England 269: Pope 61*; Rabada 3-68|
|South Africa 215-8: Elgar 88, Van der Dussen 68; Anderson 3-34|
|South Africa trail by 54 runs|
England fought back with the ball against South Africa to end day two on top in the second Test in Cape Town.
The Proteas slipped to 40-3 in reply to England’s 269 all out in the morning.
Dean Elgar (88) and Rassie van der Dussen (68) put on a fine stand of 117 as the tourists failed to take a wicket in a frustrating afternoon session.
But England took five wickets after tea to leave South Africa 215-8, trailing by 54 runs and needing to bat last on a pitch already showing signs of wear.
Stuart Broad (2-36) and James Anderson (3-34) starred once again, while Sam Curran (2-39) also picked up two vital wickets and Ben Stokes took four superb slip catches.
The Proteas are 1-0 up in the four-Test series.
England’s patience rewarded
With Elgar and Van der Dussen carefully compiling throughout the afternoon, England looked in danger of drifting through another punishing day in the field in an overseas Test without much to show for their efforts.
Yet instead of overusing peculiar fields and trying to bounce batsmen out, the tourists stuck to a mainly orthodox approach, testing the batsmen’s technique around off stump, and got their rewards.
Granted, they were assisted by errors from Elgar and Quinton de Kock, both caught attempting needless lofted shots, but England were ruthless once they had exposed the lower order.
Curran got Van der Dussen to chase one that just left him and nick it to Stokes, who dropped an easier chance to remove Dwaine Pretorius but made amends two balls later with another excellent low catch off Anderson.
Anderson then dismissed Keshav Maharaj, inside edging into his pads to loop to third slip, with what turned out to be the final ball of the day. It leaves England in sight of a potentially decisive first-innings lead.
The day had begun in similarly fine fashion for England’s bowlers, with the superb Broad and Anderson once again restoring their side’s advantage after a disappointing batting performance.
Broad bowled quickly and moved the ball away off the seam to dismiss opener Pieter Malan and Zubayr Hamza, while Anderson returned after an innocuous first spell to remove South Africa captain Faf du Plessis.
Discipline deserts South Africa
Just as England did on day one, South Africa wasted a strong position by losing their discipline.
At 157-3, and having forced England’s bowlers into their third or fourth spells, the hosts looked on course for a first-innings lead, only for Elgar, who had batted resolutely with minimal risk, to miscue off-spinner Dom Bess to a retreating Joe Root at mid-off.
Wicketkeeper De Kock, who scored a vital 95 in the first-Test victory, then chipped a Curran slower ball to Anderson to fall for 20.
Van der Dussen had battled through a charmed innings – he successfully overturned when given out lbw on six because of an inside edge, was caught behind off a Broad no-ball on 16 and was dropped on 43 by Stokes from a tough one-handed chance.
Yet having brought up his second half-century in his second Test, he could not resist fending at Curran.
Even if the hosts are able to achieve parity with their final two wickets on day three, a pitch starting to show variable bounce and some sideways movement off widening cracks should make batting last here a tough task.
‘A remarkable day’ – what they said
England’s Sam Curran on the Test Match Special podcast: “It was an amazing end to the day. Having them eight down with a nice lead is good.
“We bowled really well as a group. Hopefully we can get those two wickets quickly in the morning, then bat big.”
Cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “A remarkable day. It is a question of two very fragile batting line-ups. England have to wrap this up tomorrow, and then they have to bat, under pressure. We’ve seen many teams falter in that situation.
“The bowling quality is good and there is something in the pitch. I wouldn’t put money on either side batting a day.”
Former England bowler Graham Onions on The Cricket Social: “England are well on top. Stokes changes games. If he’s not getting runs or taking wickets, he can affect things in the field.”