Welcome to our coverage for day three of the fourth Test between South Africa and England at The Wanderers. If the first day’s play was marginally in England’s favour, then day two was comprehensively the host’s. Yes, there were some dodgy moments like losing three middle-order wickets in the space of five overs to fall to seven down for not much more than 270, but South Africa were left so utterly out of the game on Saturday that it is difficult to see them getting anything from this game. 3-1 to England is now by far the most likely result in the series.
With England nine down for little more than 300, 350 looked a distant target but a hard-hitting quickfire partnership of 82 between Mark Wood (35*) and Stuart Broad (43) at nearly 9.5 runs an over took England to 400 and left South Africa chasing their tails for much of the final 40 minutes. The home side’s bowling was too predictable, too short and too hittable in that period. And England took great advantage of this.
When SA’s openers came out they fought hard to get to tea without loss. Dean Elgar and Pieter Malan stuck in there but didn’t really advance the scoring. First came one, then two and three. Then four, five and six. Wood was the destroyer on this occasion, with three wickets (including one at 94.5mph) but Curran, Stokes and Woakes all chipped in to leave SA 88-6 at the close of play, some 312 runs behind England’s first innings total.
The chances of them not reaching the follow-on target on for the second time in two Test matches is pretty high. South Africa are already down but there may be more pain inflicted on them today from the England bowlers. Or, perhaps, they could show the fight that they have had at various points in the series. Either way, it looks to be a difficult day for them.