Close of innings England 323 (Root 110, Stokes 58, Rabada 5-78, Morkel 3-76) trail South Africa 313 by 75 runs
Kagiso Rabada claimed his maiden five-wicket haul © Getty Images
Kagiso Rabada, a quality fast bowler in the making, took his first five-wicket haul in Tests for South Africa as England squeezed a 10-run advantage on first innings from a Johannesburg Test that continues to tantalise.
Rabada, blessed with a smooth action and a calm head, took three of England’s last five wickets on the third morning at The Wanderers as they added another 85 runs in a Test that has fluctuated from the outset.
For all the praise directed towards Joe Root on the second day for one of the finest hundreds of his career, the Test was still in the balance when play resumed. At 238 for 5, England trailed by 75 and the advantage that might have been gained from the fact there were still 27 overs until the second new ball was negated by the fact that this pitch has been responsive for bowlers with old ball and new.
Root did not stay long. He added only four to his overnight 106 when an airy drive against Rabada in the second full over of the day gave the wicketkeeper Dane Vilas a simple catch. Root’s review was cooked up with Jonny Bairstow alongside him: two Yorkshire batsmen hoping for a breakdown in technology.
Moeen Ali crashed a couple of short balls from Hardus Viljoen to the boundary but Viljoen, bulky and combative, has entered Test cricket with his He-Man reputation already established and when he smashed Moeen’s bat to smithereens it was a disappointment to the over-imaginative that he did not chomp down the pieces as a mid-morning snack. The realists just suspected the vulnerability of a lightly-pressed bat.
South Africa’s fielding was sharp and athletic, nothing better than Vilas’ fleet-footed change of direction to catch Moeen when Chris Morris found a big inside edge.
Viljoen also put Broad on his backside with one that reared back at him – Broad, swaying out of the way, played it well and looks to be slowly firming up his shaky technique against the quicks – but it was Rabada who dislodged Broad with an excellent yorker that struck off stump.
With eight down, Bairstow was in danger of being left stranded. A short ball from Morne Morkel did for Finn – the ultra-edge technology spotting the slightest brush of the glove as he tried to defend – and Bairstow’s attempts to force the pace gave Rabada a five-for when an attempted pull plopped gently to midwicket.
David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo