Rain could help SA as England build lead

England's Joe Root hits a four. REUTERS
England's Joe Root hits a four. REUTERS

Manchester — Even though they are fighting back in the fourth test‚ South Africa could do with the heavy clouds that hung over Old Trafford on Sunday raining on England’s parade.

The home side were 138/6 in their second innings at tea on the third day after losing four wickets for 85 runs in the second session.

But they are 274 runs ahead‚ which already seems to be too many for South Africa to chase on current batting form.

The visitors resumed their first innings on 220/9 and were dismissed for 226 with the 23rd delivery of the day‚ which Duanne Olivier skied to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow to earn Stuart Broad’s third wicket.

That left James Anderson high and dry on 4/38 — one scalp shy of what would have been his first five-wicket haul in tests at his home ground‚ where an end was named after him before the match.

Keaton Jennings should have been caught at third slip for nought off Kagiso Rabada in the sixth over of England’s second innings with 14 runs on the board.

But a diving Dean Elgar could not hold on.

Morne Morkel struck five balls later when Alastair Cook drove and was caught in the gully for 10.

Four overs after that Tom Westley‚ who scored nine‚ also steered Morkel to gully — where Aiden Markram took the catch.

Markram was on the field as a substitute for Heino Kuhn‚ who has an injured hamstring but returned to the field in time for him to be able to open the batting in South Africa’s second innings.

Eight balls after lunch Jennings played a ragged stroke to Rabada and was caught at first slip for 18.

Five overs later Dawid Malan was gone for six‚ his prod to Keshav Maharaj caught at short leg‚ as England slipped to 72/4.

Joe Root and Ben Stokes steadied the home side with a stand of 57‚ which was ended in the eighth over before tea when Root dragged Olivier onto his stumps and was bowled for 49.

Four balls before the interval Olivier claimed his third when Stokes edged to first slip for 23.

At tea‚ Jonny Bairstow‚ who was dismissed for 99 in the first innings‚ had faced 23 balls without scoring and Moeen Ali was four not out.

Morkel took 2/39 and Olivier‚ whose spell of four overs before tea featured three maidens‚ eight runs and two wickets‚ had figures of 2/13. - SowetanLIVE