Having taken a lead of 97 runs in the first innings, England stretched that lead to 216 by the close of the third day of the first Test match against the Proteas at Lord’s in London on Saturday.
With 9 wickets still in hand, including Alastair Cook currently unbeaten on 59, they hold a very strong hand with the spinners becoming increasingly dominant in the game and the pitch getting lower and slower.
Considering the position they were in at one stage the Proteas did well to add 257 runs to their total for the last six wickets with Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander all get half-centuries but none going on to the big hundred that the Proteas needed to match England first innings total.
Philander suffered a badly bruised finger while batting and was not able to bowl during the England second innings. He did take the field for the last 40 minutes and hopefully he will bowl tomorrow.
The Proteas continued their batting recovery on the first half of the third day with Bavuma and Rabada adding 41 for the sixth wicket and De Kock and Philander 66 for the eighth wicket. The last two wickets even added a further 47 runs.
Bavuma (59 off 130 balls, 9 fours), De Kock (a typically flamboyant 51 off 37 balls, 10 fours) and Philander (52 off 86 balls, 7 fours) all made half-centuries with the Proteas having added a respectable 257 for their last 6 wickets.
Although both sides had four batsmen going past the 50 mark, none of the South African batsmen managed to go on to a big hundred and that was the essential difference that gave England their lead of 97 runs.
Philander suffered a blow to his bowling hand while batting which was a further setback for South Africa.
Moeen Ali was the outstanding England bowler, taking 4/59 from 20 overs. Broad was not as successful as he had been on the first day, taking punishment from De Kock when he took the second new ball, conceding 36 runs in 4 overs.
The South Africans did succeed in taking some time out of the game, batting until almost the halfway mark of the day’s play.
Philander left the ground for X-rays which fortunately revealed no breaks but severe bruising and he only rejoined the game after 38 overs of the England second innings but did not bowl in the last 40 minutes.
Morkel and Rabada shared the new ball and after the tea interval the Proteas employed a dual spin attack with Duminy having his first bowl of the game as the conditions became more and more favourable for that type of bowling.
The Proteas did succeed in keeping the scoring rate in check but struggled to take wickets as Cook and Jennings added 80 runs before Morkel dismissed the latter.