Joe Root struck a wonderful unbeaten century to drag England back into contention to secure a series win in Johannesburg after South Africa had applied the pressure early on the second day of the third Test at the Wanderers.
The Yorkshireman defied some high-quality fast bowling on a lively pitch to complete the first fifty of the match before advancing to his ninth Test ton, off 126 balls, in the evening session.
The tourists were in trouble at 22 for two and 91 for four in reply to the Proteas’ first-innings 313, but Root joined forces with Ben Stokes to counter-attack their way out of trouble.
Like they did in the first Test of last summer at Lord’s, when New Zealand were in control, the pair made a mockery of a tricky situation by taking the game to the opposition during 78 explosive minutes either side of tea.
Root and Stokes, fresh from his record-breaking Cape Town double-ton, smashed 111 in 97 balls to blunt the Proteas’ inexperienced bowling attack and leave England in a strong position to push for a first-innings lead.
Although Stokes departed for a 54-ball 58, Alastair Cook’s side were 75 runs behind on 238 for five when bad light brought a premature end to the day’s play, Root unbeaten on 106.
South Africa added 46 runs in 10.3 overs this morning, courtesy of a last-wicket partnership of 32, to ensure they posted a competitive total that was only five runs short of the average first-innings score at the Wanderers.
More to follow