England enjoyed the better of the first day of the third Test against the Proteas in Johannesburg on Thursday in what was one of the most chaotic and eventful days in South African cricket.
The home team, who won the toss under new captain AB de Villiers and elected to bat first, were 267 for seven at stumps at The Wanderers.
The day started with the news that Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock was ruled out of the Test after waking up with a swollen knee and his replacement, Dane Vilas, having to fly up from a domestic match to the ground.
Cricket South Africa also confirmed during the course of the day that former international Gulam Bodi has been charged with trying to fix matches in the T20 domestic competition.
On the field, openers Stiaan van Zyl and Dean Elgar were solid as they put on 44 for the first wicket before Van Zyl top-edged a pull shot off Ben Stokes to be caught by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow for 21.
Elgar and Hashim Amla, who took the hosts to lunch on 73 for one, combined to put on 73 when the spin of Moeen Ali accounted for Elgar for 46, 117 for two.
Ten runs later Amla got arguably the ball of the day from seamer Steven Finn that got one to pitch on middle stump and move away slightly to take the edge of Amla’s bat and be caught by Bairstow for 40.
What would be disappointing from a South Africa’s perspective would that all the batsmen got starts but they could not convert any into big scores.
De Villiers (36), Du Plessis (16) and Temba Bavuma (23) and Vilas (26) played well to certain point but did not kick on as they were expected to do.
Chris Morris (26*) and Kagiso Rabada (20*) at least showed some fight with an unbroken stand of 42 but will need a bigger effort on the second day.
The best England bowler on the day was Finn, who claimed two for 50 in 18 overs, while Stokes took two for 53 also in 18 overs.