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Nortje says SA will fight with all they have to save third Test against England

Anrich Nortje speaks to the media after day's play.
Anrich Nortje speaks to the media after day's play.
Image: Richard Huggard

Anrich Nortje says under the cosh South Africa will fight with all they have to save the third Test against England at St George’s Park over the next two days.

South Africa clawed their way to 208 for six by the close of day three leaving them 291 behind England’s effort of 499 for nine declared.

Quinton de Kock (63) and Vernon Philander (27) will resume their 54 partnership on Sunday’s penultimate day and their immediate target will reaching the follow-on target of 300.

Fast bowler Nortje‚ who took his role of nightwatchman pretty seriously‚ batted through the majority of the rain-interrupted day three on Saturday for his 18.

It was a dogged innings during which he faced 136 balls over all of 191 minutes.

His was the slowest first innings knock‚ at a strike-rate of 13.2‚ in the history of the game by a batsman who had faced 110 balls or more.

But it was a brave and massive contribution and may prove invaluable if SA do manage to avoid having to follow on Sunday.

“We are positive we can save the game‚" said the Uitenhage speedster.

"If we have to fight and we have to do what we have to do then we do that. We are not going to be worried about if there is weather around.

“We are going to come out here and focus on the next two days‚ fighting.

“Whatever we have to do to draw this Test match we are going to be up for that. We believe that." Nortje‚ like he did at Centurion‚ remained calm and focused on defending his wicket and “keeping the ball on the ground”.

"It's trying to stay there for as long as possible. It's not really about scoring runs for me‚ it's about facing a few balls‚ as many as possible‚" Nortje said.

Top order batsmen fell around Nortje as England offspinner Dom Bess claimed a career-best five wickets but the SA quick joked that he was not quite ready to be classified as a top four batsman.

"I'm not too sure how they want to play it. I am not in the batting meeting‚ I can tell you that‚" he laughed.

"So I'm not too sure what they want to do but maybe one or two things could have gone differently‚ whether it's taking him out the attack or just playing him positively and better‚ I don't know."

"There's a little bit of a bigger battle between them and the bowler rather than me. Even if I get a half-volley sometimes‚ I still block it‚" Nortje added.

"For them‚ it's about playing naturally as well in stages. You can't really compare."

The teams are level at 1-1 in the series and with only the Johannesburg Test to follow later this coming week‚ South Africa will not want to hand England as easy victory in the Bay.