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Proteas take charge as they set England mammoth target

By Reuters | 2017-07-17 08:05:51.0

England must chase down a world-record 474 to win the second Test while SA have two full days to bowl them out after the tourists' batsmen provided the strongest possible platform for victory on the third day yesterday.

It could have been even better for SA, who after declaring on 343-9 just before the close, thought they had Alastair Cook lbw first ball, although the decision was reversed on review.

England survived two other frenetic lbw appeals before reaching 1-0 on a wearing pitch as the Proteas push for the victory at Trent Bridge that would level the four-match series 1-1.

No Test team have scored more than 418 to win, while the record at Trent Bridge is a more modest 284-7.

When SA resumed on 75-1, England knew they had to take early wickets and will rue the basic error that allowed Hashim Amla to escape at 91-1 when they failed to review a half-hearted appeal by Stuart Broad. TV replays later showed an edge to the keeper.

Inevitably, Amla made England pay, seldom looking troubled by still difficult conditions to make 87 - his second half-century of the match - before falling lbw to Liam Dawson on review.

The bearded right-hander shared strong partnerships with Dean Elgar, who made a steadfast 80 after surviving a sharp early chance to Jimmy Anderson and Faf du Plessis.

Ben Stokes claimed the wickets of both partners: Elgar fell fending away to a ball which rose spitefully while SA's captain was trapped lbw by one that kept low after a watchful 63.

The day proved a first real captaincy Test for England's Joe Root, seeking to avoid his first defeat as captain in his second Test.