Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

England opt to bat in 4th Sth African Test

Moeen Ali took away a stump from the ground after collecting a hat-trick in fantastic fashion Moeen Ali took away a stump from the ground after collecting a hat-trick in fantastic fashion
Damon Campbell | 06 August, 2017, 01:13

England captain Joe Root is eyeing victory in his first series since taking charge, and England have a chance at their first series win at home over South Africa since 1998.

The Manchester weather could still play a part over the final three days.

Scoring through the off side, he had added 20 to his overnight 33 but now had only last-man Anderson for company.

Root and Dawid Malan (18) appeared to have weathered a nasty Rabada spell shortly before tea, but the latter then inexplicably attempted a flashing drive off Morkel and instead offered up yet another edge, taken by Faf du Plessis at second slip. But all eyes will be on Anderson to see whether he can round off a deserved five-wicket haul. He will hope Root throws him the ball in the morning so he can finally have a crack at achieving that feat.

Jonny Bairstow came to the crease as a more than capable number seven but had a reprieve early on in his innings. Meanwhile, the skipper became the fifth fastest Englishman to reach 5,000 Test runs moments before he racked up a half-century for the tenth successive match.

Before play, a presentation was made to James Anderson after the Pavilion End at Old Trafford, his Lancashire home ground, was officially renamed the James Anderson End in honour of England´s all-time leading Test wicket-taker.

"What a way to celebrate 100 Tests", said captain Joe Root. "I approach every game in the same way", Roland-Jones said, on the eve of the final Test in which England need to avoid defeat to take the series. Not bad for England's No2 spinner.

De Bruyn, who had got off the mark with an unexpectedly emphatic reverse sweep off Moeen, eventually dented Anderson's figures a touch with a firm clip for four through midwicket.

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His was a pretty good day, even so, but nothing on Anderson's.

England resumed on 260/6, and slumped to 312/9 inside the first 10 overs before a last-wicket stand of 50 between Jonny Bairstow and James Anderson saw them regain the advantage. South Africa's pace attack was further weakened with the absence of Chris Morris, also injured.

Although South Africa, trailing 2-1 and seeking to save the series, edged the day by virtue of their six wickets, a score in excess of 300 by England could be competitive on a feisty pitch that gave the Proteas quick bowlers plenty to work with.

Moeen got involved, tempting Heino Kuhn forward and the opener edging to Ben Stokes.

However, it was Anderson's second spell that put England in control.

Bavuma, shouldering arms to a delivery that swung in and took out his off stump, and Du Plessis, bowled via a thick inside edge, fell inside three balls.

That would bring Duanne Olivier back into contention, after being dropped following South Africa's second-Test success at Trent Bridge in order to accommodate the return at The Oval of Kagiso Rabada from his one-match ban.

They lost their seventh wicket when Moeen trapped Maharaj leg before.

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